Sunday, November 14, 2010

Despite "pro-biz" climate, DeMint's South Carolina remains poor because it lacks education.

According to the US Census Bureau, Jim DeMint's South Carolina ranks 41st out of the 50 states in household income.

Is it possible that some of the explanation for low wages in the State are accounted for by poor education? It sure looks that way. In this fiscal year, South Carolina will spend only $11,372 per student. By comparison Vermont, a small rural state spends $15,475 per student. The payoff in household income is clear: Vermont ranks 21st in the Nation.

The impact of poor funding for education also explains why only 61% of South Carolina freshman graduate from high school, compared to the national average of 73% and the regional average of 72% according to the Southern Regional Education Board. It also explains why South Carolina ranks 48th in the nation for SAT scores.

Without an educated work force, South Carolina loses any hope of attracting competitive businesses. Despite its right-to-work laws and its low corporate income tax, key ingredients, DeMint and the conservatives insist are needed to support a pro-business environment, the State remains one of the poorest in the Nation.

Perhaps Jim Demint should be fighting for funding levels for education that are more in line with more successful states. However his Senate website says: "Instead of funneling more money to states through federally run education programs, DeMint believes that it is time to empower students and parents with more flexibility in how they use education dollars.

Click here for a touching photo essay on how education makes a difference for poor kids in South Carolina.

South Carolina is not alone in proving the connection between poor education and poverty. Senator Mitch McConnell's Kentucky suffers from the same affliction. See for yourself:

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