SC students not ready for global success

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A new report by the S.C. Education Oversight Committee says students are not ready for success in a global economy.

One of the more startling things in the report is that 41 percent of students who attend a two-year technical college need remediation in English and math.

Jarvis Page attends HGTC and will graduate next month with an associate degree in art but says it's been a struggle getting to this point.

"There were plenty of times I thought that I wasn't going to make it," says Page who is among the large percentage of students who need extra help when they get to college. Page attended Mullins High School and says his counselors never encouraged him to take advanced courses and even advised him to go to a community college rather than a university.

"I didn't have the algebra that I needed, and coming here taking the placement test I was a little discouraged," he says.

State leaders are seeing a trend in similar stories.

In 2009, the education oversight committee established it's 2020 vision -- a goal that all students graduated by then would have the knowledge and skills necessary to compete successfully in the global economy.

At the current rate, the goal won't be met.

The committee wants 95 percent of students in fourth through eighth grades to read at a basic level, but only 60 percent were doing so in 2013. The committee also wants 88 percent of students to graduate from high school; only 77 percent did last year.

HGTC Senior Vice President Marilyn Murph Fore says the report is a wake-up call.

"We need to train students to think critically, be analytical, to understand how to work with people of all different cultures, and to be aggressive," she says.

Fore says school districts moving toward more technology-based learning in the classroom are key to turning things around. She also says parents play a critical role.

"Parents set the tone for the students for the children. If you study hard now, pay the price, then it's going to be rewarding in the end," she says.

With smaller classes and specialized programs, the technical college says it's a great stepping stone for students.

Page says he buckled down in his studies and took advantage of tutors. "I have a no failure attitude."

For a look at the full report, click here.

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