With students back in class, they'll be the first to tell you summer vacations aren't long enough. But, by some measures, clearly it's the learning that's not long enough, as the pluses and minuses of K-12 education become a focus, again, both nationwide, and here in Georgia and South Carolina.
SAT rankings, by state, for 2012, place South Carolina 48th and Georgia 49th, sadly-familiar territory. Now before you educator-types self-combust, those rankings are clearly-skewed by the percentage of students taking the test. In 2012, 73% of eligible students took it in South Carolina, while 81% did so in Georgia. Disparity further reinforced by Delaware, the lowest SAT-state, where 100% of eligible students took the test. Compare that to 2012's #1 ranked state, Illinois, with only a 5% participation rate. In fact the average 2012 SAT participation rate in the Top-Ten states was just 4.5 percent, politics, clearly, on the agenda.
That doesn't, however, excuse our two-state, sub-par, achievement levels. Especially with Georgia ranking 24th and South Carolina 18th in educational spending. Pennsylvania's 38th SAT rank, much the same since 1972, despite education dollars there doubling since 1997. Obvious conclusion: Throwing more dollars at public education doesn't guarantee better achievement. Clearly, what does, is consistent-effort and total-commitment. Hard-work, instructional-proficiency, and strict accountability, on the part of students, teachers, and parents. More rigorous instruction, and real-world-grading, paired with heightened, competitive expectations, including active- reinforcement from home, sets the stage for greater achievement in post-secondary schooling, generating more intelligent, productive, and aware, tax-paying citizens for America.