Study shows South Carolina has the 9th worst school system in U.S.

South Carolina News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A new study from WalletHub found South Carolina has the 9th worst school system in the United States.

The study comes as educators report what they call ‘significant learning losses’ due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To find its ranking, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 32 key measures of quality and safety. They said the data set ranked from pupil-teacher ratio and dropout rate to median standardized-test scores.

“Many variables contribute to school quality like school climate, school environment, parental and community wealth and engagement in the school, and per-pupil expenditure. Per pupil expenditure is a reflection of the quantity and quality of resources available for school districts and schools to utilize,” explained Comfort O. Okpala, Ed.D – Professor, North Carolina A & T State University.

South Carolina came in at #43 on the list, with a quality score of 43 and 48 in safety.

The study found the Palmetto State had one of the lowest median ACT scores and among the highest percentage of threatened/injured high school students.

Quality & Safety of Schools in South Carolina (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 41st – Math Test Scores
  • 39th – Reading Test Scores
  • 24th – Pupil-Teacher Ratio
  • 38th – Median SAT Score
  • 48th – Median ACT Score
  • 15th – % of Licensed/Certified Public K–12 Teachers
  • 42nd – Dropout Rate
  • 33rd – Bullying Incidence Rate
  • 43rd – % of Threatened/Injured High School Students
Source: WalletHub
Source: WalletHub

Note: Spending Ranking refers to “Total Current Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Day Schools per Student” (Highest Amount = Rank 1)


#1 Massachusetts ranked 1 in quality and 1 in safety

#2 Connecticut ranked 2 in quality and 9 in safety

#3 New Jersey ranked 3 in quality and 19 in safety

#4 Virginia ranked 5 in quality and 2 in safety

#5 New Hampshire ranked 4 in quality and 12 in safety


#47 Alabama ranked 48 in quality and 21 in safety

#48 Alaska ranked 47 in quality and 30 in safety

#49 Arizona ranked 49 in quality and 34 in safety

#50 Louisiana ranked 50 in quality and 45 in safety

#51 New Mexico ranked 51 in quality and 49 in safety

You can dig deeper into this study, its methodology, and point system by clicking here.

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