The first thing I wanted to post on this morning was my thoughts on the new study assessing S.C. public schools’ progress. But as usual, I’ve been in one meeting after another up until now, and the conversation started before I could get to it, back on this post.
Here’s what I wanted to say about it: The most interesting thing is that Mack Whittle and the other business leaders involved in this used The Monitor Group quite deliberately — because it is an organization that the governor — our most prominent advocate of giving up on public schools — likes to cite himself. Business leaders said OK, let’s see what this group will say if it actually does a study of what’s really going on in South Carolina.
That’s what makes this a particularly devastating blow to the tax-credit-for-private-schools movement, which depends so heavily on the false catchphrase, "Out public schools are failing."
Obviously, they are not. The kids actually in the system — including those in the grades before one is old enough to drop out — are doing better and better. Now that that’s established, what we need to do is stop talking about abandoning the system and start actually talking about the areas where we still have problems — such as, the horrific dropout rate.
And no, PPIC does not address that. Kids who can’t cut it or don’t want to cut it in public schools are hardly likely to do better if they go to a private one — which they wouldn’t get to do with PPIC anyway, since it does nothing for the kids with the greatest problems.
The dropout rate is an enormous issue. We have to fix it. So let’s start actually talking about whether the new programs that have been instituted to address it are working, and do whatever else is needed to keep borderline kids in school and succeeding. That’s impossible to do when all the oxygen in the State House is being taken up with PPIC and other wastes of time.