Monday, September 26, 2011

The State of South Carolina's Disdain Of The Value of Education

The State, South Carolina Homepage article "Nine ways the Civil War changed and continues to affect S.C.,"Sep. 25, 2011: 6. Disdain of the value of education

Before the Civil War, education in South Carolina was seen primarily as a private or religious affair. What value was there in educating a white farmhand or a black slave, which was, in fact, forbidden by law? On the eve of the war, only half the state’s white children had gone to school.
The state Constitution of 1868, written by African-Americans and Republicans during Reconstruction, established the right to a free public education for all for the first time. But, in impoverished post-war South Carolina, schools were poorly funded.

The post-war shift in the state’s limited wealth – from agricultural rural areas to industrial cities – accentuated the disparity between poor, inferior rural schools and better urban ones. South Carolina’s embrace of education also was slow and grudging. The state did not establish high schools until 1907, compulsory education until 1919 and a 12th grade until World War II, a move made after the military complained it had to reject too many S.C. draftees as uneducated or sickly.
South Carolina education lottery

In 1948, the state had 1,680 school districts. Funding ranged wildly from rural to urban schools, and black to white schools.

Then, black Clarendon County parents went to court, launching what would become the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that ended segregation. While education bills in the 1970s and 1980s sought to address school funding inequities, those issues remain unresolved, the subject of a more-than-decade-old court case, stuck in judicial limbo.

South Carolina education lottery

The passage of a lottery in 2000 was intended to help parents pay higher education costs. However, state funding of public colleges and universities – already among the lowest in the South – has dwindled. (source: The State, South Carolina Homepage)

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