March 7, 2007
Despite the sagging test scores in South Carolina and disappointing graduation results, The Wall Street Journal tells an inspiring story about one school that is raising the grades--and hopes--of low-income kids. In Charleston, Capers Preparatory Christian Academy has gotten by on a measly $160,000 budget, holding school in rented office space with a total of 42 students. As the WSJ tells it, teachers are either volunteers or work for a humble $8 an hour. "Only five students come from two-parent homes, and most of the students are African-American. Each year, [the principal] is forced to dip into her retirement account to keep the school running."
As the state debates whether or not to spend a small amount of government money on school choice, the Capers school makes a good case for why it should. Despite Capers' modest budget, the students' SAT scores are 164 points above the state average. Each graduate is expected to go on to college.
As the South Carolina lawmakers debate whether to create a tax credit for middle-class parents and a "scholarship" for poor students in failing schools, we urge them to look no further than Capers, where a small investment is paying dividends in the future of our next generation.