Met yesterday with the folks at the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium, an MUSC based group that tries to promote improved healthcare in rural areas. They offer a limited number of $70,000 grants over three years to physicians who want to practice in rural or underserved areas.
Somehow $70,000 spread over three years does not seem like much in the world of physician income and expenses.
Also, despite the fact that rural South Carolinians face major healthcare problems, our state government has cut funding for this MUSC group by half since 2008. So much for the state’s focus on rural healthcare.
Here’s one of the ideas I’ve received for trying to help end some of SC’s disparities:
I’m beginning to get several suggestions from around the state on how to alleviate some of the disparities that keep South Carolina down in the areaas of education, health and economic opportunity.
Here’s one of the proposals:
The following are the steps that will produce the I-95 FUTURE FOUNDATION of SOUTH CAROLINA:
1. Bring together the twelve most powerful people who care about this area and its economic problems and set them up as “Founders.” This will bring instant credibility.
2. Have these Founders raise one million dollars in seed capital. Place these funds with an existing organization such as the Palmetto Development Group [PDG].
3. Retain the services of a trusted individual in the national foundation community, such as George Pinnick who founded the FMS, to guide the creation of the organization.
4. Develop initial programs in three areas critical to growth: health, education and economic development. Programs would focus on investments in these areas and not grant making. Let these programs be cutting edge ones that do not overlap existing ones offered by other governmental or private organizations. Once it gives birth to the new foundation, the PDG can then become the development bank for the new initiative.
5. Raise $100 million dollars over ten years from national foundations for investments in the I-95 Corridor. Only then will we achieve scale in our attempt to eradicate extreme poverty in the region.
6. Establish a goal of reducing poverty in the region (currently 22%) to 15% by the 2020 census. This would eliminate all the “red” counties in SC on the Federal government’s map of persistent poverty.
By following the above steps, South Carolina would then join the twenty-three other states in the country that are free of extreme poverty. When our state is free of extreme poverty, it is free indeed.
For further information contact: The Palmetto Development Group
James L. Solomon, Jr., Board Chairman
Recent Clemson study says 2006 property tax relief has hurt 16 poor school districts in SC. and left 24 others with less money per pupil.
The study is called “Act 388 Revisited” and the authors urge SC legislators to consider taking a comprehensive review of how the state funds schools.
The report also warns that the state’s lacking funds fro schools threatens to hurt the state’s ability to attract business and industry.”
“If South Carolina wishes to be competitive in attracting and retaining industry and to offer opportunities for all of its citizens, it is important that the state’s share of education funding be not only adequate but also distributed in an equitable manner among rich and poor districts, so that the quality of a child’s education is less dependent on the wealth of the school district in which he or she resides.”
Check out Brian Hicks column in The Post and Courier today, postandcourier.com, He places blame for the continued disparities in SC on a state government and legislature who do little about substantive issues facing teh state.
Interesting, the Governor’s office requested a bundle of Sunday’s Post and Courier newspapers containing the first day of my series “Forgotten South Carolina.” I’d like to know what she thinks of it and the deep disparities outlined in the series, including what it is about South Carolina today that perpetuates the disparities in education, health and economic opportunity.
We face similar issues in Appalachian Ohio. Regarding education, one thing that has helped our district is having an excellent, experienced grant writer who aggresively finds resources. Yes, this money has strings attached but it places funds in the district nonetheless. Recently a technology grant provided smart boards for the schools…an immediate and tangible difference. Our local community foundation has also made a small but postitive impact within the schools. Unfortunately, you can have beautiful new facilities (which we do) and programs in place but ultimately the change needs to occur at home. Parents talking with their children, reading to them and telling them that they are good enough. Last year I met a kindergartener who had already decided that he wouldn’t be going to college…heartbreaking.
Here’s a very interesting Kaiser Foundation study indicating that if SC and other states accept the extension of Medicaid to the uninsured, they will save money or spend relatively little:
On March 3, The Post and Courier will run the fourth part of my series “Forgotten South Carolina.” That day I will offer some of the possible solutions to Forgotten South Carolina’s many problems. I found them during my eight months of research by talking with more than 100 government officials, politicians, scientists, educators, historians, economists etc. and reading numerous studies and documents. The solutions I offer certainly are not the only ones. If you have a possible solution to offer to Forgotten South Carolina’s lacking education, poor health and missing economic opportunity please let me know and I will share them with our readers.
Sorry about that last blog. I forgot to save the top, so here’s a summary:
Next Sunday, I’m going to take a hard look at two high-poverty school districts. One, Clarendon District 1, that has found the magic and has its children performing at a high level — ahead of Charleston Count’s schools, and just below Greenville’s. The other district is Allendale County that ranks near the bottom in student performance in a state that ranks near the bottom nationally. We’ll take a look at what makes the difference and the lessons that can help other districts with high poverty schools, such as Charleston County where some of the best high schools in the state – even nation, exist along side three of the worst performing in SC. Sadly, Allendale had seemed to be on the path toward turning itself around with the visionary leadership over the last two and a half years of superintendent Dr. Harold McClain, however, he was suddenly fired late last month by the newly elected school board — once again denying the district consistency in leadership. He was the sixth superintendent or interim superintendent since 2006 when the state DOE returned control of the troubled schools to the county board of education.
My series on South Carolina’s disparities in education, health care and economic opportunity is to begin Sunday and run every Sunday after for four Sundays at which point I will begin covering the issue of disparity as a beat.
In the series we used census data and numerous other date on health, education and economic opportunity to show that 26 of the state’s 46 counties have generally been left behind in those three categories while the metropolitan and coastal counties have basically caught up with the nation as a whole.
We separated Forgotten and Modern South Carolina by using five different measures, such as poverty level and county health rankings.
The series essentially shows what it is about South Carolina today that perpetuates these deeply rooted disparities. On the last day of the series we offer some possible solutions gleaned from my eight months of research.
If you have any solutions to offer, please send them to me here or on my forgotten South Carolina facebook page – www:facebook.com/forgottensouthcarolina or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org