2020 Education Goals

While South Carolina has many education and workforce development successes, there is still work to be done. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Education Council has developed 10 education goals to be met or exceeded by the year 2020.

In July 2009, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Education Council (EEC) released its 2020 education goals. A plan was born, marrying the business community’s needs with the education community’s achievable deliverables. The EEC is pleased to present a progress report, dated December 11, 2014. The following is a list of 10 benchmarks and statuses of each, showing significant strides in the education of all South Carolinians, from pre-K through adulthood. Still, there’s more work to do.

Goal #1:  Ninety-nine percent of all South Carolina high school students will have electronic Individual Graduation Plans (eIGP).  

Status:  2012-13 data indicates that 98 percent of high school students had eIGP’s.

Goal #2:  Eighty-five percent of all South Carolina high school students will graduate on time as measured by the US Department of Education’s Uniform Graduation Rate formula.  

Status:  2014 on-time graduation rate was 77.5 percent.

Goal #3:  Eighty percent of South Carolina 4 year old at-risk youth (free and reduced lunch) will complete 4K.   

Status:  In 2006, the South Carolina legislature created the Child Development Education program to provide full-day 4K for high poverty districts. In 2014, as part of the Read to Succeed Act, they expanded the program into 10 additional districts and changed the name to South Carolina Child Early Reading Development and Education Program. Currently, 75 percent of all school districts are eligible to serve at-risk children in full-day 4K programs.

Goal #4:  South Carolina will be in the top five states in average 4th and 8th grade student National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) score improvement.  

Status:  The National Assessment of Educational Progress evaluates states every two years based on student performance in math and reading. South Carolina saw no significant changes in these scores from 2011 to 2013 and ranked below the national average in every category. The state’s national ranking in 2013 versus 2011 is as follows: 4th grade reading remained unchanged at 39th; 4th grade math dropped to 39th from 37th; 8th grade reading rose to 36th from 38th; and 8th grade math rose to 31st from 34th.  

Goal #5:  Fifty percent reduction of the student achievement gap on PASS testing from 2009 results.

Status:  An analysis of 2009 versus 2014 PASS data for grades 3 through 8 revealed the following general results for the white/black achievement gap: the writing gap has widened; the ELA gap has narrowed; the math gap has remained unchanged; the science gap has narrowed; and the social studies gap has narrowed.

Goal #6:  All South Carolina high school seniors will have a WorkKeys® (including soft skills) certificate. 

Status:  Beginning with the 2014-15 school year already in progress, South Carolina students in grade 11 must take the WorkKeys career readiness assessment. 

Goal #7:  15,000 GED’s (including WorkKeys certification) will be awarded annually in South Carolina.  

Status:  In 2013-14, adult education credentialing continued its impressive growth rate with the granting of 8,713 GED diplomas, 862 high school diplomas and 10,240 WorkKeys certificates.

Goal #8:  South Carolina will have 10 times more businesses offering registered apprenticeships than the 2009 baseline.  

Status:  In 2009, the state had less than 190 registered apprenticeship programs and about 1,500 active apprentices. Now, it has 678 apprenticeship programs and 5,446 active apprentices, with the total apprentices served exceeding 10,400. 

Goal #9: South Carolina will exceed the national average for adults holding 2- or 4-year degrees

Status:  According to the US Census Bureau’s 2011 data, 34.2 percent of South Carolina’s adults, ages 25 and older, hold 2- or 4-year degrees, while the national average is 38.7 percent.  

Goal #10: South Carolina will have a clear, coherent standardized pathway for adults to further their education.  

Status:  Unfortunately, the funding for the SC Commission on Higher Education’s New Front Door initiative ran out in late 2013, and they stopped work on the project. The goal was to create a stackable certificate pathway that would make it easier for adult learners to prepare themselves for career-relevant post-secondary education and training. The pilot program, conducted in 2011-12 with Cherokee County Adult Education Program, Spartanburg Community College, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and local participating industries, had some positive outcomes.  Of the 73 participants, 47 earned a high school credential and 21 enrolled in Spartanburg Community College. The Council on Competiveness’ Connect Adults Committee has been enlisted to help identify a new approach to fulfilling this goal.