New PBS Doc Looks at “School Choice” in Rural South Carolina

By Carla Murphy Mar 17, 2015

Eleven-year-old Rashon Johnson and his single-parent family stars tonight in the PBS premiere of a new documentary, "180 Days: Hartsville," which asks whether the national preoccupation with "school choice" works in the rural and poor South. The town of Hartsville, where most students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, stands out. It boasts a 92-percent graduation rate; the state average for on-time graduation is about 80 percent. So what’s Hartsville getting right? Watch tonight to find out. (Check local listings for premiere times in your area.)

South Carolina ranks 45th in the nation for overall child well being and 43rd in education, according to KidsCount. And more than half of states with the highest concentration of low-income students are in the South, which is also seeing rapidly increasing Latino enrollment in its K-12 public schools.