Hodges Condones Underachievement
October 3, 2002
With the recent release of our children’s SAT scores, Gov. Jim Hodges was quick to take credit for the increase in the average score of our students over last year. Gov. Hodges boasted that “these improvements did not happen by accident.”
Regardless of whether these “improvements” happened by accident or not, South Carolina still has a lot of work to do to catch up with the rest of the nation in education!
While there are individual pockets of success in South Carolina, the truth is that most of our schools have not provided our children the quality education they deserve. The Hodges administration has shown a lack of direction and leadership when it comes to educating our children.
Let’s examine what has happened with education in South Carolina in the past four years under the direction of Gov. Hodges:
1. The latest PACT scores reveal that a total of 74 South Carolina schools received a grade of Unsatisfactory. In other words, every one of them received an F for failing! In addition, ACT scores in South Carolina have steadily declined under Gov. Hodges. Is this what Gov. Hodges calls progress in education?
2. While Gov. Hodges has chosen to applaud the slight increase in the average SAT scores from 974 (out of 1,600) in 2001 to 981 in 2002, these numbers are certainly nothing to celebrate. South Carolina students still lag way behind the national average of 1020 on the college admissions test. This makes our state 49th out of fifty states in average SAT scores (only Georgia kept us from coming in dead last again!). Should Gov. Hodges be happy about South Carolina coming in second to last in education? By heralding this, are we teaching our children to underachieve?
3. To make matters worse, under Gov. Hodges crime has run rampant in our public schools. It has gone up 36 percent since Gov. Hodges has been in office. Additionally, 33 percent of high school students have dropped out of school since Gov. Hodges has been at the helm in South Carolina. What is going to prevent those numbers from getting progressively worse if Gov. Hodges is elected to a second term?
4. While Gov. Hodges wasted taxpayer dollars on numerous parties and perks at the Department of Commerce, he drastically slashed education spending by $178 million! If these are the accomplishments of a man who calls himself the “education governor,” then it is time for the voters of South Carolina to teach Jim Hodges a real lesson on November 5th.
South Carolina students can do better, much better.
Our children have suffered long enough under the lack of leadership from Jim Hodges. We simply cannot afford another four years of him as our governor. He has shown that he cannot and will not take the initiative on doing whatever it takes to improve education in South Carolina. He may call himself the “education governor,” but that does not make him one.
Our state needs a leader who is ready to tackle the challenges we face in education. We need someone who will not only pay lip service to education, but will create sound policies that will strengthen it for many years to come. We need a governor who will not settle on being second to last in education.
South Carolina needs the clear vision and bold leadership of Mark Sanford. He is committed to the ideals that will move South Carolina in the right direction on education. Instead of teaching our children to underachieve, he will provide parents, teachers and students the tools they need to give our children the best possible education in South Carolina.