Inside Palmetto State SAT Scores

GOVERNMENT-RUN “FAILURE FACTORIES” STILL HOLDING STUDENTS BACK …  By FITSNEWS || South Carolina’s scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) have been falling or stagnant for years.  And in those rare cases in which improvement is seen, it’s usually got nothing to do with the performance of students in government-run schools. In 2008,…


By FITSNEWS || South Carolina’s scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) have been falling or stagnant for years.  And in those rare cases in which improvement is seen, it’s usually got nothing to do with the performance of students in government-run schools.

In 2008, for example, the Palmetto State’s worst-in-the-nation government-run system took credit for a minimal gain in SAT scores – only to later discover that this modest uptick was due entirely to private schools improving their performance.  Government-run schools actually dropped five points that year – despite having received more than $1 billion in new money over the previous four years.

Anyway …

In 2014, SAT scores in South Carolina rose modestly from 1423 to 1429 – due to gains in reading (479 to 483) and math (484 to 487).  Writing actually slipped from 460 to 459.  Still, South Carolina trailed the national average by 42 points – and only one in three seniors from government-run schools hit the College Board’s 1,550-point benchmark for college readiness.

Ready for the worst news?

The performance of students in government schools lagged far behind that of students in independent or religiously affiliated schools.

According to data obtained from the College Board, students at religiously affiliated schools in the Palmetto State scored a 529 on reading, 525 on mathematics and 514 on writing – for a total score of 1,568.  That’s a whopping 139 points higher than the government-run school average – and well above the college readiness benchmark.

Meanwhile students at independent schools scored a 512 on reading, 520 on mathematics and 497 on writing for a total score of 1,529.  That’s 100 points better than the government-run average and just shy of the college readiness benchmark.

And now for the thickest of ironies …

Despite vastly outperforming their government-run peers, these religiously affiliated and independent schools are mercilessly ripped by government educrats as being “unaccountable” to their constituencies – all while the “public” schools continue to dumb down their standards.

Yup … religious and independent institutions which are providing a far superior product are being slammed by the government-run failure factories for not being “accountable” enough.

Talk about “minimally adequate.”

Also worth noting?  Government-run schools in South Carolina receive more than $12,000 per year, per student from taxpayers – roughly three times the average private school tuition.

Last year South Carolina finally took its first tentative step toward parental choice – a special needs program that is currently exceeding all expectations and making a real difference in students’ lives.

It’s time to expand that success story … 


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nitrat November 14, 2014 at 9:05 am

Independent schools score better? Which link refers to source material?
But, maybe, could it be that small class sizes really do make a difference?
Or, keeping out the riff raff?

oldcola November 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Excluding the riffraff families who don’t keep their kids engaged and well behaved is important. Not to say that plenty of fine young people haven’t had great experiences in public schools. It’s always more about the family than the school. POS families tend to produce POS kids. No amount of taxpayer money or cradle to college programs can do much to change that.

keith poe November 14, 2014 at 9:06 am

Went to a religious school for 12 years…the SAT is driven into your brain for 3 months prior to the test by the English and Mathematics department so that you are ready to ace it when you take it…high scores equals publicity which equals more donations and higher tuition….also, last time I checked the private schools in this state can pick and choose which students they want to accept and can make sure only the brightest and best are in their classrooms….

Smirks November 14, 2014 at 9:39 am

also, last time I checked the private schools in this state can pick and
choose which students they want to accept and can make sure only the
brightest and best are in their classrooms….

Not to mention the financial barrier means that most students that would be trying to attend a private school are more likely to have preferable living situations (not in poverty, two-parent home, more likely to have smarter, more involved parents, more likely to have access to tutors or other tools, etc.).

In other words, they don’t even have to be “selective” in who they take, the pool is by its very nature selective. The chances of pulling an at-risk kid out of that pool is extremely low.

Public schools don’t have a choice, they must accept everyone, and they push everyone to take the SAT in 10th grade, sometimes earlier.

HazyArc November 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

Independent/Religiously affiliated schools (read: majority affluent white population) score higher than public schools (read: much higher minority/poverty-stricken population)?

What a groundbreaking observation! I can’t wait for the next revolutionary story from our resident soothsayer.

Will Folks aka Sic November 14, 2014 at 9:16 am

The public school system in SC habitually attacks private/ religious schools for lacking “accountability.” This is simply addressing that …

well? November 14, 2014 at 10:02 am

Here is a question, did these private schools make ALL their kids take the test like the public schools do or was it voluntary?

euwe max November 14, 2014 at 11:23 am

Are you saying that public school is what happened to you?

What would the alternative have meant to you?

FITS Methodology November 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Actually, no, it does not address that. Like most of your economic analysis, you take raw un-adjusted data and regurgitate it to your advantage and purpose.

Data isn’t worth a damn if the methods and variables are not exposed for proper evaluation. Without method and explanation it’s nothing but a pile of numbers.

If I opened a publicly funded school for Mensan’s I’m quite sure the SAT scores would be stunning compared to both traditional public schools and private academies. And if some fool used it to make his ideological points about public vs. private, he would have some splainin’ to do when his numbers were analysed.

RogueElephant November 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

I guess any excuse is better than no excuse. How long do we continue the “soft bigotry of low expectations”?

euwe max November 14, 2014 at 11:23 am

Until the Republicans are exposed, once and for all, as a smokescreen for the Ultra Rich.

oldcola November 14, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Being rich is all it’s cracked up to be. Make good decisions and it can happen to your family in one generation. But, no Best Buy, and no Red Lobster or new Camry.

Go Cocks November 14, 2014 at 9:49 am

I send my kids to a private school with a religious affiliation. I am white, well-off and pretty highly educated. My kids, in my humble estimation, are pretty smart and always score well on standardized tests. However, they would still score quite well if I sent them to the public school for which we are zoned. My point, my family is definitely part of the selection bias that you note.

You Dont Know Anything November 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

Highly educated does not equate to common sense and know how. Hence, education does not teach ‘life’ neither ‘experience.’

Go Cocks November 14, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I know when to use an apostrophe.

Christian LeBlanc November 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm


Tunes'n'News November 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

Please. This is a joke. Parental involvement, education and income are so much higher in private schools. SC also has one of the higher percentages of students who take the SAT nationwide (meaning more lower performing high school students take it here, bringing down the average). Direct comparison is really misleading. Not by any means to say there aren’t major issues with public schools, the learning environment and expectations in the state, but this doesn’t prove anything.

Tunes'n'News November 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

And you’ve got to pass test to get in to many private schools. Seriously. They self select the better students.

CNSYD November 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

Stay away from facts. They screw up Sic Willie’s agenda.

Smirks November 14, 2014 at 10:20 am

Direct comparison is really misleading.

The entire “School Choice” movement is misleading.

Bill November 14, 2014 at 11:31 am

Its not a School Choice movement, its a get the Taxpayer to pay for private schools movement. To which I say, come up with a way to have admission that does not take into account your race, your wealth, who your family is, what religion you are, and does not give admission preference to people who are already in private school, and I will listen.
Until then, its just a scam.

Timmy Tebow November 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

Sorry to be so dumb, but what is an independent school?

Keltictim November 14, 2014 at 10:17 am

I think your question led me to answer my question. I think independent schools are charter schools.

Countzer0 November 14, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I think an Independent school is a private school with no religious affiliation. e.g. Hammond School in Columbia.

jimlewisowb November 14, 2014 at 9:21 am

I didn’t have good SAT scores

Elementary level was a breeze but I kinda got side tracked at Junior High Level

In fact I know the exact date, time and location of my slide

It was first period English the day before Thanksgiving 1958

My English teacher, Ms. Igotta Fetersnacth, looked straight at me and said: Jimmy, an abstract noun is something you can think of but not touch, can you give me two examples

Without thinking of the consequences I yelled out: your tits

+10 for you November 14, 2014 at 10:01 am


Jackie Chiles November 14, 2014 at 9:23 am

This has more to do with the racial breakdown of private vs. public schools. White SAT takers score higher than black SAT takers. Private schools are 90% white, while public schools tend to have a larger percentage of Black SAT takers.

Smirks November 14, 2014 at 10:16 am

Even if you single out the white students in both private and public, you’re still talking about a huge discrepancy between the two when it comes to disadvantaged white students.

Private schools tend to get the cream of the crop. One can only feign surprise when the cream of the crop overall outperforms the rest of the crop.

Jackie Chiles November 14, 2014 at 11:50 am

That data is from 2000, but there’s pretty much a black-white discrepancy across the board in every state. White students from states that rank in the bottom percentage of the SAT scores have scores comparable to those living in the states with “good” educational systems.

Example, the average white dood in SC scored a 1022 combined on the SAT in 2000. Meanwhile a white dood in Massachusetts, supposedly the 2nd best school system in the US, scored a 1043 in 2000. A black dood in SC scored an 833 on the SAT in 2000 while a black dood in MA scored an 858 in 2000.

It’s unlikely that the difference between the 2nd best school system in the US and the worst in the US is a total of 21 SAT points for white people and 25 points for black people. The difference between the two states? In South Carolina, 24% of the SAT test takers were black while in Massachusetts, just 4% of the SAT test takers were black. Thus, states (or schools in this case) with a higher percentage of blacks taking the SAT look worse on average because they have a higher percentage of people scoring lower on the SAT.

I’m not pointing this out to say “oh, blacks are so stupid lol” but to point out that looking at SAT averages does not really tell you how good your education system really is, but only tells you which states or schools have a higher minority population taking the SAT.

E Norma Scok November 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

So you are saying whites are smarter than blacks?

Been reading “The Bell Curve”, huh?

Tom November 14, 2014 at 11:19 am

Children from a financially stable background with educated parents do better on standardized test. In SC there is no doubt that if you are white you are far more likely to come from that background. If you attend private school, the odds of coming from that background go up to almost 100%.

Jackie Chiles November 14, 2014 at 11:55 am

Pointing out facts doesn’t mean I’m saying anything like that. That’s like saying that pointing out that blacks have a higher percentage unemployment means you’re claiming blacks don’t work as hard as whites.

Bible Thumper November 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm

It is not race. It is family background. Black immigrants out perform blacks who have been in the US for multiple generations and whites.

Any education reform the isn’t based on empowering parents is doomed to failure. The most significant factor in a students success is family background not teacher training, teacher pay, merit pay, per student expenditures, quality of infrastructure or technology.
Many believe that accepting this premise is to give up, because the government can’t change family background. That is not true. Real school choice empowers parents. It forces their involvement. It gives them hope that they can make a difference in their children’s lives.
The modern government education establishment discourages parent involvement. Common core and the general professionalization of education makes it more difficult for parents to help their children with homework. It alienates parents from being involved. Teachers may say they want parents involved, but involvement without power is not tenable.

Jackie Chiles November 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

That article specifically says immigrant blacks aren’t outperforming native blacks academically. This means that they’re not scoring higher SAT scores than native blacks, but that they have the family support to drive them to better themselves by attending college.

Bible Thumper November 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Family support is exactly what our modern public educational establishment discourages. It denies them power and choices. It makes them feel that professionals can make better decisions for their children than they can. It alienates them to a point that they are discouraged from being involved.

Keltictim November 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Ok one lil problem, beyond your made up 90% statistic, the black children at private schools do just as well as the white children. There are so many factors at work it is impossible to cover them all in a comment, let alone a blog. Teacher accountability, funds, parental involvement, and that doesn’t scratch the surface. Race however has nothing to do with it.

Jackie Chiles November 17, 2014 at 9:42 am

Do you have any statistics that blacks attending private schools score just as high as whites attending private schools on the SAT?

Keltictim December 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Yes the stats I have are my own expierance. I went to a private catholic school in MA, and the few black students we had did just as well as the white students. Maybe the difference was being in MA, but I doubt it.

Jackie Chiles December 4, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Your anecdotal experiences are not statistics. I am curious if anyone has done a private v. public SAT score breakdown by race. It would be beneficial to see whether there is actually any difference.

FastEddy23 November 14, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Road Apples! There are Hundreds and Hundreds of Thousands of USDollar scholarships available to Any South Carolina Student able to score high on Khan Academy tests … Skin color matters not. … National origin matters not. … Religious preference matters not. … Public or private college or university matters not. … Contact Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for details.

Grow Up November 14, 2014 at 9:53 am

Over half of South Carolina’s population is from other states. Why can’t Will understand that? Because he is still young and inexperienced. Hence, not enough wisdom.

9" November 14, 2014 at 10:09 am

gubmint,gubmint,gubmint. Embarrassingly tautological.F

Keltictim November 14, 2014 at 10:13 am

So where are charter schools with this breakdown? Incorrectly lumped in with public schools to raise their numbers?

Tom November 14, 2014 at 11:22 am

Charter Schools are public schools.

Dan Ruck November 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

The photo tells the story. You see any black or Hispanic kids in that private school photo? Any who look like they might have missed a meal?

easterndumbfuckistan November 14, 2014 at 10:43 am

It’s a stock photo. It’s doubtful it was even taken in the South East much less South Carolina.

idcydm November 14, 2014 at 11:10 am

But it’s part of the article and should be taken a factual, everything on the internet is true.

Dan Ruck November 14, 2014 at 7:51 pm


idcydm November 14, 2014 at 10:38 am

I’m thankful my grand-children live in other states and don’t have to rely on public or private education offered in this state.

TontoBubbaGoldstein November 14, 2014 at 10:50 am


Bible Thumper November 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Our public education system is based on the premise that blacks are incapable of making wise decisions for their own children.
See my reply to Jackie Childs below

Bible Thumper November 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm

When schools take over family responsibilities, families atrophy.

Jackie Chiles November 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm

“Also worth noting? Government-run schools in South Carolina receive more than $12,000 per year, per student from taxpayers – roughly three times the average private school tuition.”

Wait, what? There’s a private school in South Carolina that costs $4k a year?

Bible Thumper November 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm


Jackie Chiles November 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Show me one private high school that’s $4k a year.

Bible Thumper November 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm Reply
BIN News November 14, 2014 at 8:44 pm

It’s as clear as can be that FITS’ readers recognize sic(k) willie as a voucher slut and the entire voucher scam is nothing but, well, a scam.

It’s a scam because vouchers would do nothing for those who need help the most. All it does is rob from the poor to help the rich. You know.

…like, Howie “The Voucher Clown” Rich.

S.C. has had successful school choice for years. Send your kids to any school you want, but do not expect we the tax payers to fund your kid at a private school.

So,sic(k) willie, what skool do your kids attend?

FastEddy23 November 14, 2014 at 10:53 pm

It is so easy to get good scores on these tests now: surf the Internet…

Jazz22 November 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

Be very careful interpreting the private school results. There is a little known secret that private schools “import” students from China and other asian countries, many living in dorm-like houses. These students perform better on SAT than other students at school thus skewing the results. Schools may get higher tuition from these students making them more attractive. Helps the school’s academic profile look better.

BIN News November 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm

sic(ko) willie is a paid voucher slut who will write whatever Howie the Voucher Clown wants published. Truth, justice and the American way mean nothing to sic(ko) willie.

sic(ko) and Howie the Voucher Clown care nothing about the best interests of kids who need help the most. They are reverse Rob’in Hoods.

Their plan is rob’in from the poorest and those who need help the most to promote their voucher scam. Vouchers would do nothing to help those who need help the most.


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