(Columbia) Nov. 18, 2005 - This week WIS was asked to testify before the State Education Oversight Committee. They want to hear more about what we found during the "School Swap" series taping.
The group of 18 is made up of lawmakers, educators, and business people. They make recommendations to the General Assembly.
Friday afternoon WIS' Craig Melvin sat down with the executive director of the committee, Doctor Jo Ann Anderson, and asked why us?
Dr. Anderson says, "A lot of times when you look at the date, the natural reaction is for us to come up with clinical research reasons, statistics and stuff, but what's happening in our school, is really a human story."
Doctor Anderson believes that story is about the level of expectations for students in South Carolina, "What your story did was bring that difference in expectations to light, very dramatically."
Anderson thinks there's something else even more dramatic that affects student achievement most, "The increasing poverty among South Carolina's young people. Seventy-five percent of our schools had increases in the percentage of students living in poverty. Now, poverty doesn't mean you can't learn. We will argue that all day long, but it does mean you are less likely to have good vision care, good healthcare; you are more likely to be absent from school. You are less likely to have a lot of books and printed material that you can read at home."
"The research tells us that children, by the age of five, from poverty, have been exposed to 30 million fewer words than children from advantage. They've had very little of their parents reading to them at night. Now that doesn't mean parents don't care. Many are just working two or three jobs to put food on the table and pay the rent."
WIS will testify before the Education Oversight Committee December 12th.