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Publication Title:

Investing in Early Childhood: The Path to a More Prosperous South Carolina


Charlotte Coggins
Susan Thomson Shi, PHD.
Jamie Moon
Joes Waters

Publication Type: Issue Briefs & Policy Reports

Policy Area: Building Stronger Early Childhood Systems

Page Count: 12

Publication Excerpt:

Children in the United States are struggling. In 2011, roughly two-thirds of fourth and eighth grade public school children lacked proficiency in math and reading, and only one-third of students had at least proficient science knowledge. When comparing the United States’ scholastic achievement with the other 33 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), American 15-year-olds had average scores in the science and reading rankings and ranked below average in math. Regrettably, the welfare of children in South Carolina is even more precarious. On a recent national survey of child well-being, The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count, South Carolina ranked 43rd among the states in child well-being, and more specifically, it failed to achieve consistent improvements in economic, family and community well-being. Furthermore, children in South Carolina have even lower levels of reading and math proficiency than the average fourth and eighth graders in the United States. When looking at standardized test achievement for at-risk fourth and eighth graders, South Carolina ranked 50th in the nation. The implications of this low level of academic achievement are reflected in the state’s graduation rate. In 2009, 75.5% of public high school students in the United States received regular diplomas, compared to a graduation rate of 66% in South Carolina.

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