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In a revelation that’s sadly much less shocking than it should be, a member of the South Carolina Advisory Board to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says his group is investigating a “massive failure in South Carolina to to provide supplemental tutoring services and public school choice as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).”

Advisory Board member Daniel J. Cassidy broke the news of the investigation on the conservative blog Sunlit Uplands, which he writes.

Cassidy says that under NCLB regulations, 64,219 South Carolina students (mostly low-income, minority students) are eligible for federally-funded, individualized tutoring this year, yet only 8,835 are receiving the service, according to state data.

Additionally, Cassidy writes that under NCLB, 103,053 South Carolina students (again, most of them low-income, minority students) are eligible for school transfers this year yet only 2,487 students – or roughly 2% – have actually been able to seek out a better school.

From Cassidy’s blog post:

Under the federal law, 15% of funds provided may be set aside for administrative expenses, while unclaimed funds for choice and tutoring may be used by the districts as they see fit.

With South Carolina achievement levels, graduation rates, and SAT scores among the lowest in the nation, one wonders why school district superintendents, principals and teachers would not do more to ensure that students who need help with basic math and reading skills get the help they need.

As usual, most explanations provided by education bureaucrats as to why only 13% of the state’s students are getting the help provided for them tend to center around indifferent parents. However, a federal law that provides districts a slush fund of millions of taxpayer dollars without requiring that they be used for the intended purpose, is like so much else in our state’s educational system, likely to benefit those who work for the system, and not those who depend on it for an education. No child left behind? In South Carolina that remains an empty slogan for a majority of our students.

Assuming federal funds designated for these purposes have indeed been misappropriated, black lawmakers in South Carolina should be up in arms.

South Carolina’s achievement gap between white and black students continues to grow, which is only exacerbated by the fact that our top white students are falling further behind their peers in other states.

And Palmetto State educrats certainly can’t blame a lack of state funding in the event they used “unclaimed” tutoring and public school choice funds provided by the feds for “other purposes” … not after the state has upped public school funding by $900 million over the previous four years.

In spite of these massive taxpayer investments, it’s been another year of big scandals, zero progress and fresh excuses from South Carolina’s worst-in-the-nation public education system, and the only plan offered by Superintendent Jim Rex is that we fork over “Mo’ Money” to the same people responsible for the disaster.

Hopefully, this will be the year that the scales fall from lawmakers’ eyes as it relates to this failed approach – particularly among African-American lawmakers, whose districts are bearing the brunt of this ongoing scam.