We all know the saying about the fox guarding the hen house, right? Well, in his column on the Education Oversight Committee and school accountability, Kershaw County Superintendent Frank Morgan sounds a lot like a fox asking for guard duty (“Why is this state agency pushing students into bubble-tests they can’t pass?”).
In 2015, a federal waiver allowed South Carolina to stop issuing comprehensive report cards for schools and districts. Last year, U.S. News & World Report ranked our state dead last in the United States when it comes to the quality of public education. With that lack of accountability and transparency, it’s not difficult to understand why.
Last year, the Legislature created a comprehensive report card aimed at education accountability so parents and taxpayers could see how our schools and districts measure up. In doing so, it actually decreased the number of required annual tests for our children.
These new report cards will be released in the fall, and for the first time since 2014 we’ll get a clear picture of what is going on in our schools and districts.
Real transparency and an honest assessment of South Carolina’s education might be difficult for some, but long-term it has the potential to lead to a real benchmark for identifying best practices and a roadmap toward progress.
The EOC, an appointed, non-partisan board, should be allowed to oversee this much-needed system of accountability in order to prevent politics from trumping our children and their education.
Superintendent Morgan’s sentiments come from a place of fear — the opposite of empowerment gained through data-based facts and transparency. These new report cards expose school and district performance levels, which will reward those who are delivering great results for our students and might show how utterly inexcusable the work of some schools and districts really is.
The real question is: How do we deliver on our promises to provide all children in our state with an education that prepares them to work and be productive citizens? How do we improve our ranking and transform our public education system? The answer is certainly not less accountability and less oversight from the Education Oversight Committee.
Executive Director, SouthCarolinaCAN
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.