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Two years ago, while South Carolina’s taxpayer-funded educrats were blatantly misleading lawmakers and the public regarding changes to our state’s costly and ineffective academic assessments (and while the mainstream media was covering for them), this website was sounding the alarm.

Since our public school system was incapable of producing anything resembling academic progress (despite record funding increases) – a decision was made to rig the state -administered tests so that more students would pass them.

“By moving the goalposts just a little bit, failure magically becomes success … which is sadly the only way South Carolina’s worst-in-the-nation public school system ever shows improvement,” we wrote at the time.

Shortly after this report was published, our analysis was confirmed by the nation’s leading testing authority.

“Use of the lower standards would result in dramatic increases in the percentages of students meeting standards in South Carolina schools, even with no actual improvement in student performance,” an analysis by the Seattle, Washington-based Northwest Evaluation Association concluded.

Of course the state’s educrat establishment was hoping you had forgotten all about that. In fact, just last month these government-subsidized goons trotted out S.C. Sen. John Courson – a longtime apologist for our state’s failed status quo – to try and take credit for these illusory gains (an effort we roundly refuted).

Now, it appears as though other media outlets are wising up to the scam …

“South Carolina once had the highest expectations in the country for what its students were required to learn in reading and math,” The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier reported Sunday. “Now it’s attracting national attention for being the lone state to drop its standards in both subjects between 2007 and 2009.”

Um … yeah. Like we said … “fake it till you make it.”

According to state budget writers, South Carolina’s public schools will be funded at an average of $11,754 per child in the current fiscal year – a record-high amount. Obviously, that figure excludes revenues from bonds, investments, and transfers between funds and government agencies (which adds another $1,500 to the total).

In 2010, the state spent $11,140 per child – also a record-high amount – yet our graduation rate showed another decline. That mirrors retreating SAT scores and stagnating ACT scores, all of which hurts our state’s ability to compete for jobs and investment. Also, a recent report found that more than one-third of the nation’s 100 worst public schools are located in South Carolina.

And yet we’re supposed to believe things are getting better?

Please …

More money clearly hasn’t turned around our state’s “worst-in-the-nation” education system … nor has moving the goal posts to give the impression of success. That’s why it’s time to stop trusting government “solutions” and start trusting the accountability of the marketplace.

Of course for that to happen, lawmakers must first be willing to debate real reforms … something they have yet to show the willingness to do.

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