The chains may be gone, but generations of blacks in South Carolina remain enslaved … trapped by a government-run education system that’s condemning them (and growing numbers of their lower and middle class white peers) to second class status.
According to the latest “Diplomas Count” graduation rate report, only 54.3 percent of black students graduate from high school in the Palmetto State – which is below the state total (61.5 percent), the national total (74.7 percent) and the national black total (61.7 percent).
Meanwhile black South Carolina students scored a combined 1,221 on the latest SAT exam – again, well below the state total (1,436), the national total (1,498) and the national black total (1,278).
So … you’d think that black leaders in South Carolina would be open to the sort of parental choice programs implemented over a decade ago in Florida, where low-income, mostly minority children are now outperforming the average score of all South Carolina students.
“In 1998, Black students in South Carolina significantly outscored those in Florida in reading,” the report found. ”In 2011, Florida’s Black fourth graders were reading a full grade level ahead of their South Carolina peers.”
Those are real, positive results which are having a material impact in the lives of Florida children … yet unfortunately children in South Carolina fall further behind.
Because South Carolina’s “Republican-controlled” legislative and executive branches have refused to engage market-based academic reforms. In fact they have aggressively opposed such reforms – along with the monolithic opposition of the Palmetto State’s “black leaders.”
Just this week one of those “leaders” – the “Reverend” Joe Darby of the Charleston, S.C. NAACP – compared expanded parental choices to the “Jim Crow” segregation laws of the late nineteenth/ early twentieth centuries.
Really dude? Really?
If anything that’s been the result of the public system – particularly in the rural regions of the state.
Darby’s comments prompted this website’s founding editor Will Folks (a.k.a. Sic Willie) to challenge him to a debate – “anytime, any place” – and label him a “slave trader.”
We’ll see if Darby accepts … but we doubt it.
South Carolina’s government-run schools are spending nearly $12,000 per child on the worst public education system in America (one that’s sitting on $1 billion in cash reserves, by the way). That system is failing generations of blacks (and whites) – and it is past time state government did something about it.
That “something?” Getting the hell out of the way and letting citizens keep more of their own money to invest in private, parochial and community options …
Unfortunately Republicans, Democrats and the South Carolina mainstream media outlets who cover this debate are united in their opposition to choice.
Until that changes … nothing changes.
UPDATE: Joseph Darby passed on our founding editor’s offer to debate.