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cheech and chong


FITSNews – March 25, 2008 – We’ve got three updates today on the nation’s worst public education system, and amazingly, not one of them is good. Yeah, we couldn’t believe it either, people. You’d think that South Carolina’s cellar-dwelling public schools might make a mistake and actually do something right for a change one day, but lamentably, today isn’t that day … 

First we have this story on the $11,400 taxpayers are now spending per student in this state. Unfortunately, only $5,051 of that $11,400 actually makes it to the classroom, which last time we checked is where the students are. So what the hell are they spending the other $6,349 per student on?

Well, that question leads us to item #2, which is an idea put forward by the S.C. Policy Council that would place S.C. public school checkbooks online so that voters can see where their money is going. Interestingly enough, the U.S. government recently shelled out $1 million to build a nifty little website that does this for all federal contracts, which we think is a bargain considering the volume of financial information that’s now being made available to the taxpayers.

Of course here in South Carolina, the cost estimate for placing this one slice of our state funding online came in at a whopping $500,000, which is another way of saying the educrats really, really, really don’t want to do this. Well, either that or they’re too stupid to do it because they’re just now figuring out how to work Excel ’97 … eleven years later.

In fact, “Republican” State Sen. Larry Martin gets our “inbred irony” award for this week after saying at a recent hearing that he couldn’t support the proposal because he’s against “growing government” in South Carolina. Yeah, right. Needless to say, we’ll be looking forward to somebody telling us how much a cost-saving tool like this would really cost, because our guess is that $500,000 is not the actual retail price of this Showcase.

Our third update comes from the ongoing debate in the S.C. Senate over a bill that’s supposed to reform South Carolina’s expensive and ineffective Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT).

The S.C. House has already passed a bill to reform PACT, the only problem is that their definition of “reform” apparently means slapping a new name on the old test and dumbing down the grading scale so that South Carolina doesn’t have to be held accountable for adequate yearly progress under federal No Child Left Behind standards. What’s interesting is that the Senate will probably take a crappy bill and make it even crappier by reinserting language endorsed by Democratic Superintendent Jim Rex that would refer to failing schools in South Carolina as “Schools of Academic Priority.”

Apparently, rather than working to actually make our public schools better, making them sound better is what’s really important.