I grew up in Greenwood County and am a proud product of public schools. I currently attend Lander University and care deeply about public education. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, I know that the decisions our state government will make about education will affect my children’s future, our state’s economy and how our state is viewed around the country.
I believe a high quality education is essential because it opens doors to opportunity. Most jobs these days require at least a high school diploma, not to mention at least some college courses. Education is also important to the younger generation because it keeps them off the street and keeps them focused on the future. I’m passionate about education because I care about the well being of our youth, and I believe through education, we have the power to change things.
We need a big change to make the difference that is needed in South Carolina. I recently heard about an idea that is working wonders in other states called an Achievement School District. This idea takes the schools with the most challenges, usually the bottom 5%, and brings them into a statewide district with the goal of bringing a quick turnaround. This has worked in Tennessee and Louisiana and it has great potential here in South Carolina.
An Achievement School District, paired with incentives to recruit great teachers, would make a world of difference. I know for me, being a minority, I think the school system needs the presence of more black men as educators so that younger black students have a role model they can relate to. The absence of black men in the school system today is at an unacceptable level, but with teacher incentives targeted at Achievement School District schools, we could change that.
Bottom line: we need something to shake up what’s been happening for decades in South Carolina. I would urge everyone to get involved and make your voice heard about solutions like the Achievement School District. It’s a proven solution that is working – and we can’t wait for years and years for action to be taken. It needs to happen now.