Tag Archives: South Carolina Department of Education

Department of Education Increases Spending on Consultants (again)

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Parents and teachers will be gratified to know that consultants and contractors are still getting their fair share of the SC Department of Education’s spending.

In fact, the $397,876 spent on”Non-State Education and Training Services” in April was a significant increase from previous months!

Even economic stress and uncertainty did not keep the SC Department of Education from spending $30,000 more on consultants  in April  than was spent in March, and $39,000 more than was spent in February! Continue reading

Chastised Rex Waffles on Staff Cuts

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According to this article from the WIS News 10 website, Jim Rex came under pressure from leadership in his own party after State Department of Education plans to lay off mechanics, and cut pay for bus drivers, came to light.

Democrat Harry Ott wanted Rex to answer the same question that school district mechanics and bus drivers across the state no doubt have in their minds: Why should low-pay district employees take pay cuts, or lose their jobs, while scores of education bureaucrats continue to rake in huge, taxpayer-funded salaries?

In the face of these queries from members of his own party, Rex waffled and decided not to cut mechanics and bus drivers because it would cause “too many problems.” Continue reading

Rex should take his own advice

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The Anderson Independent-Mail posted an article detailing a speech by Jim Rex to the Oconee Alliance. In his speech, Rex bemoaned the possibility of more state budget cuts, and urged public schools to adopt a “culture of innovation” to help deal with decreasing resources.

“We’re all going to have to be more innovative; a lot of the solutions of the past just won’t work anymore,” Rex said. “We need a culture of innovation.”

In addition to calling for fiscal responsibility, Rex called the current zip code based system for school attendance an “antiquated notion,” a statement with which most families would eagerly agree. Continue reading

Inez Tenenbaum: High Standards, Low Expectations

President-elect Obama has still not named his appointee to be the next US Secretary of Education.

This upcoming decision is of particular interest to South Carolinians, as former State Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum is considered to be in the running for the nation’s top education post.

In addition to the notoriety of overseeing the nation’s worst performing public education system for eight years, Tenenbaum is well-remembered for her constant pleading to “stay the course” no matter how bad things got in local public schools. Based on South Carolina’s massive $11,480.00 per student spending, it seemed to work.

What didn’t work were the schools themselves. Continue reading

Ten Years Later: EOC Still Rubber-Stamping SDE Failures

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Failure? Nothing! I see NOTHING!!!

Today the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee is scheduled to discuss where South Carolina public schools stand ten years after the institution of the Education Accountability Act.

Unfortunately many South Carolina families already have to see first hand how poorly their local public schools perform when it comes to meeting educational goals. This year, four out of five public schools failed to meet the mark for Adequate Yearly Progress. Equally disheartening were South Carolina SAT results, which showed only 7 of 85 districts with average scores above the national average. Even the SAT scores of the state’s highest performing school district were hundreds of points behind similar districts in North Carolina.

Inadequate achievement test scores are just one aspect of the failed education establishment in the Palmetto State. The number of children dropping out of public school every year is in the tens of thousands, and the problem is not diminishing. Continue reading

56,000 drop outs later, Jim Rex holds “prevention summit”

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Failure Express: every school day 158 students drop-out of South Carolina’s public schools. That’s enough kids to fill a 737 airline each day.

It is not news to anybody that South Carolina public schools have a huge problem with students dropping out.

Earlier this year Education Week‘s “Diplomas Count” survey estimated that South Carolina public high schools graduate only about 55% of all students.

This number works out to an astounding 158 drop outs a day from public high schools. That means every day enough children drop out of school to fill up a Boeing 737 jet!

Despite the magnitude of the drop-out problem, South Carolina education bureaucrats have been reluctant to embrace any truly innovative policies to help reverse the situation. After two years of being in office, Jim Rex finally made a feeble attempt to address the drop out problem by announcing an “Attendance Awareness Month” back in October.

At the rate of 158 drop outs per school day, that translates into over 56,000 drop outs over the course of the two school years that Jim Rex has served as superintendent of education. Continue reading

Teacher Renewal Center: Taxpayers may pay for “private donation”

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Iron Law of Unintended Consequences rears its ugly head.

Plans for “Camp Rex” are moving forward, and funding for the project is about to become another expensive burden for South Carolina taxpayers.

The new Teacher Renewal Center was originally touted as being “privately financed,”  but now the Upstate’s News Channel 4 reports that that the center “will be paid for through grants, a modest registration fee and possibly state dollars.”

It’s good to see that the “law of unintended consequences” is a good enough reason for education bureaucrats to charge South Carolina taxpayers even more money.

While training and merit-based awards for teachers sound like a great idea, in practice the State Education Department has a sordid history of failing to effectively deliver on it’s hype. Continue reading

Schools: money for consultants but not bus fuel?!

Despite an enormous $11,480 in average per student funding parents and teachers are worried.

Everyone is talking about budget cuts, and education bureaucrats with their hands buried in the state coffers are no exception. In fact, much noise has been made over schools without money to fuel school buses. Hints have even been made that some personnel could be let go if cuts are severe enough.

There are even threats of a four-day school weeks, leaving two-income families worried about which parent will have to skip out from work to watch the kids.

Education Department spin-master Jim Foster says of the cuts:

“When you have budget cuts this severe, it’s hard to avoid reducing the part of your budget where most of your money is spent, and 85% of a typical district’s budget is personnel.”

Jim Rex expressed his concerns as well:

“Right now I think we can protect students and their learning and the teacher’s positions,” State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex says. “If we talk about cuts in the future, I won’t be able to say that.”

The situation sounds desperate, and indeed it would be…if that were the whole truth. Continue reading

Worst Public Schools in South Carolina (list)

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Have a child or grandchild in grades Kindergarten through eighth grade? You need to check this list!

Yesterday’s revelation that a mere 1-in-5 public school has met federal AYP performance standards was a huge blow to Jim Rex and his monolithic big government education machine.

Now we have more details about the 715 of 875 elementary and middle schools that failed, and about those schools for which failure is a long term trend.

Below is a detailed list of the K-8 public schools which not only failed to meet their standards this year, but which have a history of sustained annual failure.

While all public schools in South Carolina are under-performing by national and international standards, these 256 schools are the absolute bottom of the barrel:

ABBEVILLE WESTWOOD ELEMENTARY

AIKEN JEFFERSON ELEMENTARY Continue reading

EOC: South Carolina’s $1.8 Billion Barney Fife

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South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC) full-time staff are the keystone cops that let State Superintendent Jim Rex get away with all his crazy high-dollar antics!

South Carolina’s monolithic public schools are home to some of the lowest test scores and highest drop out rates in the entire country.

Even the “best” public schools in the state are totally uncompetitive with similar schools in other states.

This despite years of chaotic but massive funding growth, with total per-student spending now over $11,400.

But the the famed “Educational Accountability Act” (EAA) of 1998 was supposed to change all that. When the EAA was passed it was portrayed as a model of high standards and transparency, and was considered by some as influential in the passing of the subsequent federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The basic function of the EAA was to create the Education Oversight Committee (EOC), a new government bureaucracy to serve as the “watchdog” of student achievement standards. Continue reading