Obama visits school in SC "Corridor of Shame"

Published: Aug. 23, 2007 at 9:37 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2007 at 3:39 AM EDT
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DILLON, SC (WIS) - The school that might very well symbolize the inequalities between rural and suburban schools in our state was center stage Thursday.

One of the Democratic front-runners for president spent part of the day in what has been dubbed the "Corridor of Shame."

In the sweltering gym at J.V. Martin Middle School, Senator Barack Obama showed the onlookers an impressive jump shot. Obama also took aim at the ancient building around him. That 111-year old structure has now become the poster child for the state's poorest schools, those in the so-called "Corridor of Shame."

"I think this school exemplifies some of the enormous problems that we're having just in terms of getting enough resources to educate our kids," says Obama.

Administrators agree. Dillon Two Superintendent Ray Rogers says, "Like we say, we say no kid left behind. But all you got to do is tour and you see that kids are being left behind."

Principal Amanda Burnett says, "We're on top of each other now, especially with the closing of the auditorium portion of the school. So that's our biggest challenge, having enough space."

Obama says the federal government should help states with capital expenses to replace badly outdated schools. "The school itself has become a barrier to education."

After his quick tour of Martin Middle, WIS News 10's Jack Kuenzie asked the Illinois Senator whether students were getting the "minimally adequate" education required by South Carolina law. "Is that even possible given the physical condition of these buildings?" Jack asked.

"I do not think this is minimally adequate," said Obama.

Obama says improving schools is not always about money. He says parents can help by restricting TV and video game time, and working against what he called "anti-intellectualism" - especially in minority communities.

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Posted by Chantelle Janelle