A year ago (while the rest of the South Carolina mainstream media snoozed), a little paper in the Upstate called the Greenville Journal decided to investigate S.C. Superintendent of Education Jim Rex’s claims that our state’s “best and brightest” schools were showing dramatic gains in academic achievement.
It turns out (surprise, surprise) they weren’t, but each year Rex still gives himself a hernia from his aggressive pimping of this fiction.
This year – with public school SAT scores in South Carolina down for the third consecutive year – Rex’s spin machine has once again kicked into high gear, attempting to gloss over our state’s systemic failure and widening achievement gap with more of this “best and brightest” nonsense.
Enter Randy Page of South Carolinians for Responsible Government (SCRG), who like the rapper Positive K is “not trying to hear that.”
From Page’s column in The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper:
Not only has South Carolina developed local and state educational policies that are characterized by massive inequalities in student achievement (despite the fact that schools in Allendale receive nearly twice the state funding per pupil enjoyed by Lexington 1 or District 5), but the unjust polarization in student accomplishment actually skews the public perception of success at the state’s “best” schools.
Taking a step back and comparing SAT scores of students in the best Midlands districts with those of public school students in North Carolina is enlightening. Students attending the four high schools of the Chapel Hill/Carrborro district earned average SAT scores of 1,751.
That’s a breathtaking 228 points above the scores of Lexington 1 students — roughly the same as the gap between Lexington 1 and Barnwell or Dillon.
At the Watauga School District, located in northwestern North Carolina, the average SAT score was 1,630, or 107 points ahead of the Lexington 1 and 111 points above District 5.
Public school students in Chapel Hill and Watauga are primarily white, mostly middle to upper income and mostly the children of parents with a high degree of educational attainment. They are, demographically speaking, the peers of students in Lexington 1 and District 5. They are the children with whom the students from these Midlands districts are directly competing for acceptance into (and scholarships at) top-rated colleges such as Duke, the University of Virginia, Emory, Vanderbilt and Clemson.
Ah, numbers … the mother’s milk of making your point.
Of course, it would be nice if The State (a.k.a. La Socialista) actually did its job and reported these revealing discrepancies on its own rather than relying on its guest columnists to do so, but that’s another story.
At least the paper is printing opposing (i.e. factual) views these days.