Editor’s Note: The “Report of Military-Connected Students in SC,” which includes an Executive Summary, can be found online at www.eoc.sc.gov.
Columbia – The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC) released a report today that examines the performance of military-connected children, children who have at least one parent or guardian who is connected to the United States military. The report was required by Act 289, a law passed during the 2014 legislative session. Although student absentee rates on average are higher, military-connected students achieve higher levels on state assessments than their non-military peers. State assessments examined included the SC Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SC-PASS), given in grades 3-8, and the end-of-course assessment, gateway exams given in four courses. On end-of-course exams, military-connected students typically scored six percentage points higher than the average score for all South Carolina students, regardless of subject area or grade level.
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According to the report, military-connected students are under-reported in South Carolina. Data reported by South Carolina districts in 2014 included 7,853 students enrolled in grades 1 through 12, while the Department of Defense reported three times the amount of military-connected students in the state. School districts are eligible for additional federal funding, known as federal impact aid, based on the number of federally-connected students. This federal-connected student group, which included military-connected students, is a broader category which includes children residing on Indian lands, military bases, low-income properties, and children whose parents are employed on eligible federal property. During fiscal year, twelve South Carolina school districts received more than $2.3 million in federal Impact Aid dollars.
“Some districts may be eligible to receive funds if data were collected and reported,” stated Melanie Barton, Executive Director of the S.C. Education Oversight Committee. “Collecting these data will not only bring additional funds into districts, it can allow districts to better meet the educational needs of these children and support them more effectively.”
Three specific recommendations are included in the report:
The SC Education Oversight Committee is an independent, non-partisan group made up of 18 educators, business persons, and elected leaders. Created in 1998, the committee is dedicated to reporting facts, measuring change, and promoting progress within South Carolina’s education system.