Thursday, November 12, 2009

Education in South Carolina

We've had a display of student photography from the so-called "Corridor of Shame" schools here at the library. The "Corridor of Shame" refers to schools that run alongside Interstate 95 in coastal South Carolina. Predominantly populated with African-American students, these schools are some of the worst in the state and thus the country. Underfunded, ill-kept, located in high poverty and high unemployment areas, these schools are really despicable.

Students can't or won't learn in such an environment and tend to dislike formal education, often dropping out and joining the ranks of the unemployed in the area. A constant cycle of dysfunction and poverty, all because of insufficient funding and racism.

I've had a couple of research questions about integration in South Carolina lately, so I've been looking into that sad tale. Governors and legislators blocking racial integration at every turn, predominantly black schools having double the class size of its white crosstown neighbor, black teachers making half the salary of white teachers in white school districts, and so on and so forth.

Education, of all things, should not have barriers because of race. An educated populace, of any race, color or creed, can only improve our state.

What were officials like James Byrnes and Strom Thurmond afraid of?