‘We have a long way to go’: New SC school report cards show progress, challenges

South Carolina’s top educator praised progress Palmetto State schools have made but said there was still much room for improvement.
Published: Oct. 10, 2023 at 7:24 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 10, 2023 at 11:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s top educator praised progress Palmetto State schools have made but said there was still much room for improvement.

State Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver presented her first statewide annual school report cards at Kelly Edwards Elementary School in the Barnwell County community of Williston. Weaver touted that school’s progress over the past few years in improvement.

She also said schools across the state have shown improvement based on the latest numbers.

“I’m happy to report that 22% of schools in South Carolina now receive an overall rating of excellence and that half of the students in South Carolina public schools are enrolled in a school with a rating of excellent or good, and that is a two and a half percent increase of schools that are rated excellent or good,” Weaver said. “We have seen a 7.8% increase in schools that are rated average and the best news is that we have seen an 8.5% decrease in schools that are rated below average or unsatisfactory. So as a great philosopher once said, we have a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

Weaver said the latest scores show that only just over 50% of South Carolina students are reading at grade level. For math, the number drops to around 40%.

“We can’t sugarcoat the truth,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do, but I know that we are pursuing strategies both at Columbia and here at the local level that are going to address those gaps and those challenges.”

Weaver said Edwards Elementary earned a rating of 28 in 2018, placing it in the lowest possible category, unsatisfactory. The following year, Weaver said the school had improved its score to 39, which placed it in the “below average” category.

No statewide report cards were issued in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Weaver said that by 2022, the school had jumped to a 63 score, with placed it in the “excellent” category on their scale. This year, the school pushed to a 71 score.

“This is a story of continued growth, hard work and progress, really of hope,” Weaver said. “Hope is what education represents.”

Report Cards provide information about each school and district, including test performance, teacher qualifications, student safety, awards, parent involvement and more.

Tuesday’s report is Weaver’s first report card release. The data reflects the results of the 2022-2023 school year.

Report cards for individual schools and districts can be found here.