;South Carolina public school educational outcomes have always lingered consistently low, relative to ranking, among other states.
There is much written about the history of public education in South Carolina, going back more than 200 years.
South Carolina’s public funding of education has had a history of lagging behind other states and being stubbornly resistant to educating black children until the 1950s when the state implemented its equalization schools program initiative.
This initiative entailed the construction of schools for black children, providing transportation, supplies, certified teachers, and so on.
The forerunner to the equalization schools program initiative was; the Rosenwald initiative, which provided seed money for the construction of schools to educate black children, including Horry County, and spanned from 1917 to about 1932.
Prior to 1925, schools for black children were virtually nonexistent in Georgetown County.
However, the county and state paid teachers to teach black children in each community church.
South Carolina has a large percentage; of African-Americans students (about 34 percent), and Georgetown County has an African-American student population of about 44 percent.
These percentages equate to a significant number of black children who; were not adequately educated or fully integrated; into the Georgetown County public schools with equality in education to white students until 1970.
The combining of the two unequal systems in 1970, one black and one white, has had; an impact on educating all children.
Even today, much of the academic outcomes in Georgetown County public schools mirror the period of unequal funding; in the county’s segregated public schools before 1970.
For example, the 2018 test results (Grades 3–8), the percentage of white and black students who; met or exceeded expectations in English language arts and mathematics were 52 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
This equates to five out of ten (white students) and two out of ten (black students) who met or exceeded expectations, respectively.
This also means; that South Carolina white students outperformed their black counterpart by 91 percent in English language arts and mathematics.
Hispanic students; who met or exceeded expectations were 38 percent (about four out of ten) and this group outperformed African-American students by 58 percent.
White students in the county outperformed Hispanic students by 38 percent and outperformed all county students by 34 percent. Hispanic and African-American students underperformed all county students by 4 percent and 62 percent, respectively.
Although white students outperformed African-American and Hispanic students by wide margins, Georgetown public school students ranked; in the bottom half of the state’s performance in English language arts and mathematics.
The outcomes of education vary from school to school and district to district.
For example, a sixth grader at Georgetown Middle and a sixth grader at Carvers Bay Middle met or exceeded expectations in mathematics by 37 percent and 18 percent,
respectively, whereas a sixth grader who met or exceeded expectations in English language arts at; the two schools were 34 percent and 27 percent, respectively.
When comparing district to district, a sixth grader in Horry County Schools and Georgetown County School District who met or exceeded expectations in mathematics were 59 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Additionally, Horry and Georgetown counties’ public-school districts met or exceeded expectations in English language arts by 47 percent and 39 percent, respectively.
Although Georgetown County public schools; underperformed South Carolina’s overall percentages that met or exceeded expectations in every testing category, the schools in the Waccamaw attendance area significantly outperformed the state in every testing category.
For example, Waccamaw Intermediate School students’ performance in English language arts and mathematics was; 59 percent (six out of ten), which equates to outperforming state in these subjects and grade levels by 31 percent.
The African-American students’ academic and sports outcomes; in Georgetown County model the national phenomena of being at the bottom in academics and top in sports.
One has to wonder that if the same vigor was; brought to bear on academics as in sports, African-American students’ academic outcomes would most likely be on par with Asian students.
Correlation should never be confused with causation; however, the history of underfunding education for African-American students in South Carolina and Georgetown County,
plus the economic conditions of families, among other societal issues, most likely still have a lingering effect on today’s academic outcomes.
African-American student academic outcomes as a group —national, state, and in Georgetown County public schools — are dangerously low.
As a sidebar, often a government will try to correct an undesirable, challenging past by giving everyone an equal chance; the expectation is that the problem should be fixed and will go away.
Apparently, it is not that simple when one is talking about a group of people who were; enslaved for two hundred years, plus another one hundred years of being treated as second-class citizens, along with enduring substantial degradation.
Perhaps, in the future, quantum mechanics will shed some light on an answer to the lingering problem that might only be understood at a subatomic level.
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