Story last updated at 6:40 a.m.
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Report ranks S.C.
Post and Courier Staff
public schools perform better than expected, considering the disadvantages
students bring to the classroom, according to a new report by the Manhattan
Institute for Policy Research.
factoring in students' socioeconomic challenges, the conservative think tank
concluded that South Carolina
schools perform at the national average. The report ranks South Carolina 26th in
academic performance and 24th in spending money efficiently, among the 50 states
and Washington, D.C. The report was based on 2001 test scores on the National
Assessment of Educational Progress, graduation rates and state budgets.
Greene counted South Carolina
among "places getting a bad rap undeservedly."
Carolina still has mediocre results," he said. "They're just not abysmal
were part of a report released Tuesday that compares the disadvantages students
faced 30 years ago to those today.
looked at 16 factors, including income, percentage of single parents, crime
rates, English-speaking abilities, parents' education levels and access to
health care and pre-kindergarten programs.
It weighed all
factors equally. Conditions improved in 10 factors and worsened in six,
according to the 44-page report.
believes it debunks educators' excuses that schools perform poorly because
students today are harder to teach.
kids are coming to school with fewer challenges," he said. "In some ways, it's
gotten worse, but on the balance it's a little better."
Carolina, he said, "there's some truth to the common educator complaint."
ranks 36th on the report's teachability index. Washington, D.C., ranks last,
meaning its students must overcome the greatest challenges. The report puts
school performance in South Carolina
at 102 percent of expected academic levels and 106 percent efficiency.
states with similar disadvantages nevertheless produce better results," Greene
for example, ranked 43rd in teachability, yet fifth in performance.
concludes that students in states with strong accountability systems perform at
higher levels. South Carolina
ranks ninth in accountability and testing.
"This means we
should stop worrying about families and focus on school improvement," Greene
said. "We shouldn't blame the kids and families on lack of progress. We have to
focus on the schools to make a difference."