The great state of South Carolina is known for many wonderful things, from its white sand beaches to its festivals and golf courses. The state’s schools are also pretty good, but not all of them. While the state prides itself on education, some schools have room for improvement. Today, we’ll talk about the worst schools in South Carolina.
When we’re ranking these schools, it’s based on several metrics, including test scores, student progress, equity, student-to-teacher ratios, and more. When we get into high schools, we also score for college readiness and advanced courses. During the worst colleges section, we’ll look closely at graduation rates, since that’s the metric for success. Keep in mind that there are many great schools in the state. Parents can give their kids the best chance of success by researching schools in advance.
Worst Schools in South Carolina: Elementary Schools
There are 1,519 elementary schools in South Carolina, and a great deal of them are high-quality institutions. However, some of them have room for improvement especially when it comes to test scores, equity, and student progress. Below are some of the lower-rated elementary schools according to GreatSchools.org.
Hyatt Park Elementary School
The first entry on the list is Hyatt Park Elementary, which is within the Richland 01 School District. This elementary school gets low marks due to test scores, academic progress, and equity. According to GreatSchools, the students here are making far less academic progress as they go from grade to great, and they also perform poorly when compared to other students in the state. Students here are also falling below the state average in basic classes like English, math, and science.
On the teaching front, 100% of the teachers are certified, and there’s a 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio, which means that the students are receiving fairly personalized attention. However, only 71% of the teachers have three years of experience or more. There’s also only one counselor per 471 students.
Newberry Elementary School
Next is Newberry Elementary, which is in the Newberry 01 School district. The numbers here also show that students are making less progress when compared to other students in the state. There are also very low test scores at this school compared to other students, especially in the subjects of math, science, and English.
There are also some issues with equity at the school, especially when it comes to kids with disabilities. There’s a 12% suspension rate for students with disabilities compared to 8% for students without disabilities. Also, 26% of the students that are chronically absent are disabled compared to 19% of students that aren't disabled. Any absence or suspension is bad because it means that the kids aren’t in school learning the subjects they need to thrive.
This school has a 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio, which means that the kids aren’t getting as much individualized attention as they should. However, 97% of the teachers are certified, and 90% of them have three years of experience or more. There’s a student-to-counselor ratio of 479:1, which could be improved.
Brooklyn Springs Elementary School
Included within the Lancaster 01 School District is Brooklyn Springs Elementary, which has some areas for improvement for equity and academic progress. The students here are making very low progress on test scores, and that means that they’re falling behind other students in the state. Test scores need improvement across basic subjects like math, science, and English.
On the equity front, GreatSchools believes that underserved students may be falling behind other students across the state, which means that there are likely some achievement gaps. There’s also an issue here for students with disabilities. Their suspension rate is 30% versus 17% for students without disabilities. On the bright side, there’s a fairly strong mix of diversity, with black, white, and Hispanic students being represented.
For teaching, there’s a 14:1 student-to-teacher ratio, and 100% of the teachers are certified. However, of them, only 83% have three years of experience or more. There’s also a student-to-counselor ratio of 483:1.
Hardeeville Elementary School
Nestled in the Jasper 01 School District is Hardeeville Elementary, which has many of the same issues as the previous schools. Test scores are low in core subjects like math, science, and English. Overall, the students here are doing poorly academically when compared to other students in the state. It’s a bad sign because if kids fall behind in elementary school, then they could be behind as they progress forward through their educational lives.
From the equity standpoint, suspension rates are 4% for students with disabilities and 3% for students without disabilities. Also alarming is the fact that 20% of disabled students are chronically absent (absent more than 15 days per year) versus 17% of students who aren’t disabled.
Teachers here make $88,000 per year, which is twice as high as the teachers at the previous schools. The good news is that 100% of them are certified, and 92% of them have three years of experience or more.
Worst Schools in South Carolina: Middle Schools
Once children have the educational building blocks provided by their time in elementary school, they need to continue to evolve and learn in middle school. It’s at this point that they start to get into the meat of their education, so they must attend a solid institution. These middle schools need some improvement.
Holly Hill-Roberts Middle School
The first middle school is Holly Hill-Roberts, which is part of the Orangeburg 03 School District. It receives low marks for test scores, and academic progress, and has some issues with equity. The test scores have room for improvement because the low marks are in core classes like English, math, science, and social studies. This is also the point where students start to take advanced courses like Algebra 1. Unfortunately, while there is a 100% pass rate, there’s only a 15% participation rate, which doesn’t bode well for the future.
There are some red flags for equity, especially when it comes to low-income students. Their scores in English, math, and science are below the average when compared to other low-income kids in the state. This school also suffers due to the fact that students with disabilities are being suspended more than students without disabilities. It’s not good when any student is suspended because they can’t be in class learning. Disabled students are also getting lower test scores, which suggests that they may not be getting the support they need.
Teaching statistics are fairly decent here. There’s a 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio, which means that the kids are getting fairly personalized attention. Almost 98% of the teachers are certified, and 88% of the teachers have three years of experience or more. There’s also a 226:1 student-to-counselor ratio, which is actually better than most other schools on this list.
Carver Edisto Middle School
This is another school that can use some updates when it comes to test scores, student progress, and equity.
The school is in the Orangeburg district. Like the others, there are low marks for academic progress because the students are not progressing well as they go from grade to grade. There are also low test scores, which means that the students are falling behind their peers in the state. The test scores here are low for the math, science, and English classes, and many students are not performing at grade level. Many students are also not participating in advanced courses like Algebra 1. However, the students that do attend pass at 100%.
According to GreatSchools, the students here may be falling behind others in the state, especially those that are considered low-income and underserved. There are also high suspension numbers at this school, particularly for students with disabilities. Those with disabilities have a 52% suspension rate, which is higher than the suspension rate for non-disabled students. Students with disabilities are also doing poorly in subjects like math and English, especially when compared to students in the school without disabilities.
On the teaching front, there’s a fairly good student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1 in the school, which is good. Also, 100% of the teachers are certified. However, only 71% of the teachers have three years of experience or more.
Mccormick Middle School
The Mccormick Middle School is in the Mccormick 01 School District, and it’s another school that can use some help with testing and student progress. The students here are making less academic progress as they go from grade to grade. The low test scores they receive and the low retention rates mean that these students will have more trouble as they go through high school and beyond. The test scores here are low in subjects like English, science, and math. There’s also a shortage of kids taking advanced courses like Algebra 1. Only 4% of students are taking the class, but there’s an 82% pass rate among the students who do.
As far as equity, the number of suspended students with disabilities is lower than the suspension rate of students without disabilities. However, any suspension is bad because it means that the kids are at home instead of in the classroom learning.
On the teaching front, there’s a very good 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio, meaning that the kids get a lot of personalized attention. However, only 82% of the teachers are certified, which is the lowest number on this list. However, of those teachers, 93% of them have at least three years of experience.
Worst Schools in South Carolina: High Schools
Finding the right high school is essential because, for many students, this could be the last round of education that they may receive. Kids who plan to go out into the real world after high school will need a good educational background so they can thrive. Students who plan to attend college will need to attend a high school that prepares them for that next level. In this section, we talk about test scores and equity in addition to how well the high schools prepare students for college.
Lancaster High School
Our first high school is part of the Lancaster 01 School District, and there are some concerns with test scores, college readiness, equity, and academic progress. According to GreatSchools.org, students here are making far less academic progress when they go from one grade to the next and also when compared to other students in the state. There are also low test scores in subjects like biology, US history, and English. Progress is even lower in advanced classes like AP math and science. In fact, participation in these classes is often below 1%.
As for college preparedness, this is the time where students should have the tools they need to move onto the next step in their education. However, this school has a very low 4-year graduation rate of 63%, which is below even the 83% average in the state. Of those graduates, very few seem to want to attend college since many aren’t taking the SAT tests that colleges look at when accepting applicants. Currently, there’s only a 21% participation rate. The average score for those test takers is 947, which is below the 1023 average that many colleges look for when considering applications.
There are also concerns that underserved students may be falling behind other students in the state, which indicates achievement gaps. Test scores for low-income students are often below those that aren’t considered low-income. Also, students with disabilities have a higher suspension rate than students without disabilities.
Timmonsville High School
The Florence 04 School District includes Timmonsville High, which receives ‘below average’ scores for equity, college readiness, academic progress, and test scores. This is another case where the students are making far less progress compared to other students in the state. The average test scores here vary. While students are doing well in classes like English 2, many are falling behind in biology and US history. There’s also less than 1% participation in all AP courses.
On the college readiness front, many of the students are not enthusiastic about the idea of furthering their education. Currently, only 39% are interested in going to college. The other issue is that this school has a 4-year graduation rate of 49%, which means they may not be getting the support they need. Of the graduates, very few are taking either the SAT or ACT tests. The average ACT score is 13, which is below the average of 19 that many schools look for when accepting applicants.
As far as equity, the school could be more diverse. There’s also an issue with students with disabilities having a higher suspension rate than those without disabilities. Students with disabilities are also absent more often. It’s an area of concern if you have a child in this group.
Lower Richland High School
This school of 1,137 students has some issues with testing, college readiness, and academic progress. Nestled in the Richland 01 School District, Lower Richland has many students that are falling behind other students in the state. Test scores are low in classes like biology, algebra, English, and US government. There’s also a shortage of students taking advanced courses, like AP math and science. In fact, less than 6% of students are taking these classes.
As far as college readiness, the students are a bit more excited about continuing their education, as there is an 81% 4-year high school graduation rate. However, only 23% are taking the SAT test in hopes of attending college. Of those students, the average SAT score is 911, which is below the 1023 minimum expected of many universities.
There are also some issues with equity. There’s a higher suspension rate for students with disabilities than for students without. The school is also lacking some diversity. When it comes to teaching, 95% of the teachers are certified, and 83% have three or more years of experience.
Worst Colleges in South Carolina
The colleges that are considered amongst the worst schools in South Carolina are on this list due to several different factors. Among them are graduation rate and the average salary a student earns after graduation, amongst other considerations. It’s essential to research colleges before sending an application to ensure that they’ll provide the classes and services that students need to succeed. The colleges here miss the mark.
This university in Columbia, South Carolina get’s low marks for several reasons. One of them is that it has one of the worst graduation rates in the country. Currently, their graduation rate is 23.9%. This low number could be due to many different factors. It could be that the students may fail to pass their classes, that they may run out of money to afford the school, that they could feel an incompatibility with the campus values, etc. The other issue with Benedict College is that the average graduate earns less than $31,000 once they leave the school, and that low earning potential puts the school at the bottom.
South Carolina State University
This major university is on this list for many of the same reasons as Benedict College. South Carolina State University has lower economic value scores than the previous entry, which means that it costs a bit more than it should and that the graduates make even less after graduation. On the bright side, the school has a graduation rate of over 30%.
The University of South Carolina at Aiken
The University of South Carolina at Aiken is on this list because it costs a lot of money to attend, and many graduates don’t get what they paid for. Many students will pay over $18,000 per year. The problem is that the median income that graduates earn is $41,000. So, just paying off the student loans is a chore. On a good note, the campus is very small and quiet, so students can get a lot of studying done. However, students looking to be social may be disappointed.
Worst Colleges By Graduation Rate
While we’ve talked about a couple of schools with low graduation rates, there are worse institutions in South Carolina that you should be aware of.
- Florence Darlington Technical College – Graduation Rate of 7.8%
- Midlands Technical College – Graduation Rate of 8.3%
- Williamsburg Technical College – Graduation Rate of 8.8%
- Virginia College in Charleston – Graduation Rate of 8.2%
- Aiken Technical College – Graduation Rate of 9.9%
- Technical College of the Lowcountry – Graduation Rate of 9.7%
- Greenville Technical College – Graduation Rate of 9.2%
- Central Carolina Technical College – Graduation Rate of 10.5%
- University of South Carolina Sumter – Graduation Rate of 15.2%
- University of South Carolina Lancaster – Graduation Rate of 18.8%
This has been your list of the worst schools in South Carolina. There’s a lot to consider here, so read this list, but also conduct your own research so you can choose the best school for your kids. Find a quality school or university, and your children could come out on the other side with the tools they need to survive in the real world.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Vepar5/ via Getty Images.