We didn’t think it was possible but apparently there’s still room for South Carolina’s worst-in-the-nation public school system to show diminished returns on the massive investment it is receiving from Palmetto taxpayers …
Despite record funding increases in each of the last two years, South Carolina’s on-time graduation rate – at least the figure reported by the S.C. Department of Education – was down in 2010.
According to the SDE, the state’s graduation rate fell from 73.7 percent to 72 percent – a 2.3 percent drop.
Of course these “official” numbers don’t tell the whole story. In fact, the state data released this week only tracks students beginning in the spring semester of their sophomore year. The SDE’s own consultants and out-of-state experts have consistently pointed out that the biggest problem with respect to dropout rates in the Palmetto state are kids who don’t make it out of ninth grade on time.
A far better indicator is the cumulative promotion index (CPI), which is the metric used in the “Diplomas Count” report – the national standard for graduation rate data.
According to the latest “Diplomas Count” report – released last June by Education Week – just 55 percent of South Carolina high school students graduate on time. That’s the third-lowest rate in the nation – and well below the national average of 69 percent. Also, only 45 percent of African-American students and 39 percent of Hispanic students in South Carolina graduate on time, according to the report.
South Carolina’s abysmal graduation rate is consistent with our declining SAT and stagnating ACT scores. Also, a recent report found that more than one-third of the nation’s 100 worst public schools are located in South Carolina.
That’s not surprising when you consider that at this very moment there are more than 109,000 South Carolina school children trapped in persistently failing schools.
The sad truth is that our monopolistic system has continued to produce nothing but incremental gains among white students while relegating yet another generation of black students to second-class status – even as black “leaders” continue embracing the failed status quo.
In an effort to hide these miserable outcomes from parents, House Speaker Bobby Harrell has been working hard to dumb down the state’s costly and inefficient academic assessments.
We had hoped this would be the year that state leaders finally opened their eyes to these pernicious realities … but once again they are appear perfectly content to let our future generations slip a bit further under the waves.