This November, the SC Education Oversight Committee (EOC) unveiled a new public engagement campaign designed to provide information about the status of public schools in South Carolina and empower families, business and community leaders, and other stakeholders to take action on behalf of students and schools.
The website, www.expectmoresc.com, is described by EOC Chairman Neil Robinson as “a movement for kids and for the future of the state’s economy.”
“It is time to start setting a higher standard for what a globally prepared, 21st century student looks like, stated Robinson. “The first step is expecting more out of the education system, our communities, and ourselves to support students.”
Robinson points to South Carolina’s current national rankings on several indicators. Just last month, the ACT college readiness results were released, revealing that just over 20 percent of SC’s 2018 graduating class was “college-ready.” In 2018, South Carolina students did outperform the nation on SAT, scoring 15 points above the national average. That is good news; however, when we compare ourselves to our neighbor North Carolina, which has the same SAT participation rates, North Carolina students outperformed the nation by 41 points.
“It is distressing to see SC students have fallen behind their peers nationally; we cannot accept that a state like Mississippi with higher poverty has out-performed our state. We have to raise our expectations,” stated Robinson.
Robinson stressed that while it is upsetting to see these statistics at the state level, the personal toll it is taking on students and families is far-reaching when the majority of South Carolina’s students are not adequately prepared for college and careers.
Furthermore, the pipeline of students with the skills necessary for the available jobs is shrinking. Nearly 60% of all jobs in South Carolina require a post-secondary degree or certificate. And job opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are growing almost twice as fast as in other fields. Those STEM jobs require skills and training that our state’s robust technical college system can often provide, but students need the basics before they even get there. Robinson emphasized that we can’t continue to ignore these statistics.
“We recognize that schools and educators cannot move the system alone; it takes each of us doing our part to move the system in the right direction,” Robinson stated. “That is the goal of this website, to inform people about the status of public schools and motivate them to act – it is time to support our students and educators.”
Users of the website will find “playbooks” designed to give specific direction to families, community leaders, and businesses to help students and schools. EOC staff will work to match up needs with motivated individuals. There is also a section of the site that explains the School and District Report Cards, which are available to view now after an announced delay. Robinson stated the original intent was to release the website in conjunction with the Report Cards.