Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) today released its fifth annual Regional Education Report during the organization’s Community Leadership Council breakfast at Charleston Southern University.
This report, titled “Disruption,” identifies how inequity shows itself across the cradle-to-career continuum and provides actions and disruptions that are needed to cause public education to support the success of every child from birth.
“All children should have the opportunity to succeed. Although our region has seen some positive educational improvements, there are stark disparities in academic performance of children from different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds that have limited opportunities for success,” said Anita Zucker, chair of the TCCC Board of Directors and CEO of The InterTech Group. “Inequitable school funding mechanisms have had a disproportionately negative impact on students of color, especially Black students. Our region is home to some of the best educational opportunities in the country, yet an alarming number of our children cannot meet grade-level standards.”
Each year since 2015, TCCC has published the Regional Education Report to provide updated facts on the following core indicators: kindergarten readiness, 3rd grade reading and math proficiency, 8th grade reading and math proficiency, high school graduation rate, college-ready rate, work-ready rate, postsecondary enrollment and postsecondary completion. The reports also track progress toward 2025 goals for each core indicator.
The data continue to show little to no progress is being made in increasing readiness, proficiency and completion rates.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said TCCC CEO John C. Read. “We know every child can learn – we have evidence right here in the region. We must see that we, as a community, are responsible for ensuring our children receive more than just a ‘minimally adequate’ education.”
The Regional Education Report also identifies specific changes that TCCC is advocating for, including, among others, the increased use of the School of Choice Law to allow for additional innovative schools, redrawing attendance zones to greater diversify schools, reforming school funding policies, increasing teacher salaries and providing all families access to quality, affordable pre-school (3K and 4K).
This year’s report additionally names the fundamental issue that is perpetuating disparities in the education system: historic and continuing racism, which is implicitly and explicitly infused into education funding, policies, practices and treatments.
“Last year’s report was titled ‘Constructive Disruption,’ and it launched an effort on our part to advocate for systems change and transformation,” Read said. “This year’s report is titled ‘Disruption,’ not because we encourage a response that isn’t constructive, but because we see little value in sugar coating what should happen next. As long as we continue to operate within the status quo, Black and Hispanic children will bear the consequences more than others. Failing to correct the problem when we know what it takes is just racism by another name.”