Home > Uncategorized > South Carolina “Corridor of Shame” Grad Gets Attention of Washington Post. Are SC Legislators Listening?

South Carolina “Corridor of Shame” Grad Gets Attention of Washington Post. Are SC Legislators Listening?

A paper written by Duke rising sophomore, Ehime Ohue, for a “Introduction to Human Rights” class was published in the Washington Post. In the paper Ms. Ohue describes the impact of inequitable funding through the eyes of a recent graduate of an “elite” high school in South Carolina’s “corridor of shame”, described in her paper as “a string of rural school districts where students receive inferior educational opportunities.” That inferior education became evident to Ms. Ohue as soon as she set foot into classrooms at Duke when she learned of the opportunities her classmates had in high school compared to those she encountered. Her paper matter-of-factly describes the shortcomings of her high school:

We didn’t have enough math teachers and barely enough working calculators. When the school added the International Baccalaureate program, the first class of students completed the program, but none were awarded the diploma. I enrolled the second year the program was offered, and our math teacher was still undergoing training. When he announced he would not be returning, training had to start again for another teacher.

Two AP classes were announced my senior year, but were scheduled at the same time. We were considered a technology center, but our computers were always down. Many of my peers ended up dropping out or flunking out of college.

Ms. Ohue’s paper did offer a ray of hope, though. A lawsuit filed by districts in the “corridor of shame” ruled in the districts favor, which means relief should be forthcoming… but as Ms. Ohue seems to realize what should happen and what will happen are two different things. She offers two ideas for bringing about change:

Businesses also need to invest in schools, since these kids will be the future workers they need. Students who graduate also need support in college. In addition, South Carolina’s public universities should consider waiving tuition for students who succeed in graduating from these schools.

I admire Ms. Ohue’s naive optimism and while I hope it persists, I hope even more that it is rewarded. But in a state populated with businesses who chose their sites based on tax breaks and the availability of low wage non-union workers I doubt that voluntary investments in public schools will be forthcoming… and given the fiscal and philosophically conservative bent of the legislature in that state (and the experience of other states whose legislatures are under court mandated equalization) I doubt that either state funded colleges or underfunded schools will see any new money any time soon.

Welcome to the plutocracy, Ms. Ohue… but please keep fighting against it!

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