South Carolina Ranked Last in Education

South Carolina Ranked Last in Education

In a recent News and World Report Study, South Carolina was officially listed as the worst when it comes to education.  It’s no secret that South Carolina has always had some of the lower national average test scores, but this is the first time we can say we have the lowest.    In the past, South Carolina has maintained a spot in the bottom 10, always counting on Mississippi to take the bottom spot and coining the phrase, “thank God for Mississippi”.  But now it looks as though South Carolina’s education is the joke of the town–or rather, the nation.

It’s hard to imagine South Carolina’s education system could rank so low when we are lucky enough to attend the 8th best high school in the country, but our state’s overall education averages are as follows:

  • 73% of English Speaking Students Graduating High School in 4 Years
  • 30% College Readiness
  • 36% College Educated

Interestingly enough, South Carolina ranks #13 in the nation for Students graduating college in 4 years.

For comparison, Academic Magnet’s overall education averages are as follows:

  • 100% of English Speaking Students Graduating High School in 4 Years
  • 100% College Readiness

The final ranking was ultimately decided through observation of graduation rates, college readiness, pre-k quality, pre-k attendance, NAEP math and reading scores, and other standardized test scores.  However, some state officials claim that measurements are skewed due to South Carolina’s uniquely high graduation standards.  For example, in South Carolina, an individual must obtain 24 credits in order to graduate.  The same number of credits is required in states like Alabama (24 credits), Louisiana (23 credits), and New Mexico (23 credits); all states ranked last in overall education.  Meanwhile, in four of the top ranking states in education: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, as low as 19 credits are required.  In Massachusetts—the top state for overall education, districts set the standards for graduation requirements.  Only 3.1% of districts in Massachusetts require 21-22 credits, and the majority requiring 11-18 credits. For this reason, I think it’s safe to say that a ranking can’t define our state.  Not only does our state have one of the top 10 schools in our country, but also holds students to a much higher standard than our higher ranking counterparts.

On a somewhat positive note, at least South Carolina is only the fifth worst state overall; landing a spot above New Mexico, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.  This ranking was the cumulative result of our economic, health, education, crime, infrastructure, opportunity, and government performance.  Some of our best (and worst) rankings are listed below.

  • Health Care: #39
    • Health Care Affordability: #46
    • Health Insurance Enrollment: #40
    • Obesity Rate: #38
    • Suicide Rate: #28
    • Mortality Rate: #42
  • Education: #50
  • Crime and Corrections: #41
    • Low Prison Overpopulation: #1
    • Low Incarceration rate: #31
    • Juvenile Incarceration: #35
    • Low Property Crime Rate: #46
    • Low Violent Crime Rate: #44
  • Infrastructure: #43
    • Transportation: #29
    • Commute Time: #23
    • Public Transit Usage: #43
    • Road Quality: #15
    • Renewable Energy Usage: #25
  • Opportunity: #48
    • Economic Opportunity: #39
    • Household Income: #43
    • Low Poverty Rate: #40
    • Equality: #43
    • Education Equality by Race: #34
    • Employment Equality by Race: #27
    • Gender Equality: #42
    • Racial Gap in Income: #19
    • Cost of Living: #19
  • Economy: #16
    • Growth of Young Population: #8
    • GDP Growth: #19
    • Net Migration: #5
    • Employment: #29
    • Job Growth: #11
    • Low Unemployment Rate: #22
  • Government: #32
    • Fiscal Stability: #19
    • Government Budget Balancing: #11
    • Government Credit Rating: #1
    • State Integrity: #36


State graduation Requirements:

Massachusetts’s State Graduation Requirements:

Information for State Rankings: