As South Carolina ranks 48 in quality of education and 38 in people with High School Diplomas according to a study done by WalletHub it’s clear that education is lacking in the State. State officials have for several years attempted to plug this deficiency with increased pay for teachers and attempts at keeping tuitions low. Both have done nothing to improve the education given to the youth of the state.
Teachers who rallied at the State House for a $15 an hour pay received this only a few months prior to Covid-19. Since then many schools went to virtual learning due to the many closings of schools during the Covid19 scare.
Now South Carolina is trying to figure out how to spend the $2.5 billion it received in Federal Aid.
Gov. Henry McMaster’s office proposed yesterday that $50 Million be spent setting up a grant program for tutoring and summer programs for students from kindergarten to 8th Grade, who need help. This would naturally be aimed at the lowest-performing and poorest students, according to a rough draft explanation distributed to AccelerateSC.
School Districts in the state already have nearly $3 billion in federal Covid relief aid for their use. The local school districts have nearly unsupervised autonomy in how to spend the money, excluding the supervision of the K-12 education agency which is tasked with ensuring the money is used according to federal law.
The Congress American Rescue Plan only requires that 20 percent of the $1.9 billion is spent on learning loss by the school districts.
Many school districts are applying the majority of funds to afterschool programs to aid students in aiding them to reach academic standards. But other school districts are applying these funds to questionable accounts. One such district is Kershaw County who recently held a meeting showing its proposed budget. This budget included giving outside businesses such as the Alpha Center ( a mental health counseling center) and Cleaning companies a good portion of the funds, but applying very little to actual educational benefits for students.
According to a statement given to the Post and Courier by Akil Ross, an interim superintendent at Lexington Richland 5, “But basic math shows students spend 79 percent of their time not in school. Jamming all the remediation into the other 21 percent is overworking teachers and schools and not getting students to where they need to be academically, particularly poor students who don’t have the resources at home,”.
But according to the National Center for Education Statistics students spend 181 days a year in South Carolina Schools. According to basic math, this is more than 21 percent of the time students spend in school stated by Ross. Mr. Ross seems more concerned with keeping teachers workload low instead of educating children properly.
It’s also important to mention that South Carolina is proposing to maintain the States Virtual Learning model as a choice for parents. This model would simply require students to spend 3 days with a Certified Teacher online.
The one major question that has arisen from this for many is: “Has South Carolina failed in educating our children?”