Majority of SC students going into kindergarten are not ready

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 5:38 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2021 at 8:23 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The latest South Carolina school report card shows a majority of students going into kindergarten aren’t actually ready for the grade.

Every year, a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment is given to all incoming students in the grade within the first 45 days of schools. It measures a child’s school readiness overall and provides a snapshot of students’ abilities at the beginning of the school year.

In the most recent state report card, this test showed one in four Kindergarten students were actually ready for the grade.

“I think we fail our kids on a consistent daily basis,” Susan Ash, a parent who’s child is in Kindergarten, says. “I think that we rank 48 or 49th in education on a consistent basis.”

Ash says while she loves her child’s school, she feels the education system in South Carolina needs an overhaul.

“I think that if we change policy and we get people up in office that truly care about a child, I think we will make changes,” Ash says. “I think if you’ve done the same thing for 20 years and it doesn’t work then think outside of the box.”

That’s what the state is trying to do from the top down. Right now, the state’s Department of Education is working to figure out how they’re using money they received during the pandemic.

“We’ve expanded our CERDEP classrooms this year into districts that had not previously been afforded the opportunity,” Quincie Moore, SCDE’s Director of Early Learning and Literacy, says. “So we’ve got somewhere around 144 new classrooms. They allocated about maybe $18 million toward CERDEP expansion so that many more four year olds are going to have some sort of formal schooling.”

CERDEP is the Child Early Reading and Development Education Program which is a full day, four year old kindergarten program for at risk children.

On top of that, they’re implementing a literacy program, that also includes some math and science, called Waterford Upstart in about 20 of the highest poverty districts.

“We asked the children to have the software that we provided for them at least 15 minutes a night,” Moore explains. “With this program, there are family engagement liaisons and they call and communicate with the parents every week – text, email, phone calls, whatever it takes.”

Moore adds the kids who are going through this program are more ready for Kindergarten. That program is also in CERDEP classrooms to help prepare the younger kids.

While education leaders say any success the child has is going to be amplified if their parents are involved, parents add leaders also need to listen to the teachers.

“They’re the ones in the frontline and in the classrooms on a day to day basis and none of us would be here if it wasn’t for a teacher,” Ash says.

Education leaders say, while we saw a dip because of COVID, they’re hoping those numbers improved this school year.

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