In the words of Michelle Mapp, Tricounty Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) treasurer and CEO of South Carolina Community Loan Fund, in response to grim test results of tri-county students: “We have to ask ourselves as a community, why is that? And why do we allow it to continue?”

Over 60 percent of third-graders are reading below grade level and not doing much better in math. According to a TCCC report, two in three high school graduates aren’t ready for college-level course work. One in three isn’t even prepared to enter the work force.

Why is the Charleston County School District considering increasing class size and eliminating parts of its literacy program? Our children are paying the price of gross mismanagement.

This is a crisis. Such a shortfall in educated youth does not bode well for the well-being of our society.

Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait’s comment that the high school graduation rate does not equate to college readiness (or workforce readiness, according to many) and that “the acquisition of Carnegie units by earning D’s is an antiquated measure” should be addressed.

We need to prepare students for a much different future, and we can begin by stressing the validity of assessments like the ACT and WorkKeys instruments used this year.

As a retired educator, I have seen that parents (and students) focus on teacher grades and promotion rather than standardized tests results. Parents might not be too concerned with a “below average” reading assessment at the end of third grade as long as their child is promoted.

Hence begins the downward spiral, as huge numbers of students deal with textbooks and concepts that are beyond their grasp. This leads to far too many dropping out at age 17, and for those who continue to be promoted, to a path going nowhere.

If third-graders were to have blood-sugar readings outside of the normal range, parents, physicians and the students themselves would address the issue immediately.

A salute to the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative. I hope that it will influence the educational community to make major changes in curriculum and assessment. Also, I hope that it will support Mark Epstein in his mission to raise the dropout age to 18.

Marsha Moreland

Island Walk East

Mount Pleasant