Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Edward Lee

Committee Member

Dr. Gregory Bell

Committee Member

Dr. Gregory Crider


Public Education, No Child Left Behind, South Carolina, Marlboro County


In the years following the passage of the historic No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, South Carolina has dropped to having one of the lowest ranked public education systems in the United States. As many schools in South Carolina are rural and in high poverty areas, this should have been a state where the federal legislation made great strides towards closing the education gap. One of the greatest struggling counties in the state, Marlboro, has seen its share of troubles since the passage of NCLB. This thesis will look at Marlboro County in the post-NCLB years and will examine (1) how the county fared with testing and other measurements of progress, (2) what kept teachers from doing their jobs well, and (3) some areas in which the district did thrive. While NCLB’s narrower focus on curriculum and state standards was intended to help specify the information students should know and help them succeed on state testing, the opposite largely occurred, and more students fell farther behind. In addition to this, the new guidelines created by NCLB created more oversight on teachers and their classrooms, which caused many to grow frustrated within the profession.