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Blueprint for Education Fact Sheet

Over the past decade, I have written almost two dozen posts about reforming our k-12 public school system. During that time, the General Assembly made some half-hearted attempts at reform. Back in 2011, a viable school choice bill made it to the House floor for debate before being tabled by a Republican whose motion carried by one vote. That was two years work down the drain. The charter school bills that we passed have created excellent school options for parents. The Read to Succeed program missed the mark. Other efforts have danced around the edges of problems a 150 years in the making.

Finally, we have a real attempt at reform. The Blueprint For Success In Education bill introduced by House Speaker Jay Lucas targets a broad spectrum of problems and offers room for input and fine-tuning.

Within hours after the bill was filed, we heard whispers of criticism from the status quo special interest groups whose lobbyists have been hanging around the Statehouse for as long as I can remember. Perceived as “education experts”, their criticisms are amplified by their friends who sit on school boards across the state and who occupy the upper-echelon administration offices at your local school district. They sit in the audience at every Education Committee meeting that is held. They want desperately to continue the status quo system and they do not like Speaker Lucas’ Blueprint.

The Blueprint shreds their promises of future “education excellence” by identifying foundational problems that have persisted for decades and exposes these Lilliputian-minded experts and their supporters for what they are: advocates for a failed educational process that has damaged generations of South Carolina k-12 students.

Since the bill’s introduction, the whispers have grown into absolute falsehoods that are buzzing around the Statehouse lobby like flies in one our non-air-conditioned classrooms. In response the SC House GOP Caucus released the Blueprint for Success in Education Fact Sheet. Check it out to read the truth about the starting point for reform

Below are links to a few of my past education posts:


4 Comments

  1. Dale Iverson

    Please list the obstructionist

  2. Robert Davis

    I like the blue print. However, I am still not sure that some of the legislators (even conservative ones) understand that we are top heavy in administration. Although I hope so.
    One problem that I see gets attention. Before retiring, students would be taught something one time and then everyone seems to think they have it and there isn’t much review. When I taught 5TH Grade Science and Social Studies, I would begin the year and spend time on chapter 1 and test the students. Then we would do chapter 2. Then we would do a test over chapters 1 and 2. Then we did 3 and then 2-3 and so on. It was a lot of work and I prepared review sheets and we would play the review game. (No Standards Then) The final semester test had about 150 questions on it and I had very few failures. The students could do it because they had seen it about seven or eight times. Repetition aids learning. In my opinion this needs to be done with just about all subjects all the way to the 12TH grade. (This doesn’t work for all subjects.) I suspect we would have a lot less failures. And oh by the way, I had a Dad tell me that his son told him that he learned more in Mr. Davis’ class than he did from any other elementary teacher he had before me. My principal also told me that she had more parents request my fifth grade class than the rest of the teachers. I know this works.
    However, the most lacking thing in our SC Public School System is discipline. Administrators try to be buddies with the students and they want you to do the same. I know of an instance where a student was badly misbehaving and the teacher threatened to write a discipline referral and send him to the assistant principal. His reply was “Go ahead, I am not afraid of (assistant principal’s name). The administrator had lost all discipline and respect. However, this is what they are teaching in undergraduate and graduate schools at Clemson, USofC, etc. Until discipline is restored there will be no meaningful learning.

  3. Stephanie Bass

    Teachers shared hours of testimony outlining our collective issues with this bill. As a teacher and constituent, I would like to know why you are a cosponsor on this bill? I would also like to know what changes you are planning to make to the bill to make it one that actually uses the input from teachers? Have you read this bill in full? What do you like about it? This blueprint shows exactly why this bill needs to be erased and rebuilt based with teacher input!
    H.3759 will hurt the children of South Carolina’s public schools. Would you want 25% of surgeons in a good hospital to work without certification? Did you know what career path you wanted to travel in 6th grade? Do we really need an Education Czar when we have a Superintendent or another committee to oversee education that will just send more tax dollars to people who sit on the sidelines without experience telling teachers what to do? This bill is not what’s best for kids.

    I invite you into my classroom to see what teaching is like in a public school today and to discuss with you how to truly better public education in SC.

    We don’t support this bill as it is and we are depending on you as our elected official
    and representative to not vote how Tommy Stringer thinks is best but to actually listen to the ones who do this job every day.

    • Tommy Stringer

      Thanks for your comments.

      I have read the bill. There are parts of it that I disagree with. There are ideas that should be included but are not. I keep in mind that this bill is intended to be a starting point for discussion and reform.

      I have several family members who teach in South Carolina public schools in Greenville and Spartanburg. I have witnessed the amount of work that they do before and after the school day. I have listened to their frustrations and suggestions about how to improve the education process.

      Regarding an “education czar”, the bill creates the Zero to Twenty Committee within the Office of the Governor to:

      (1) monitor the state education and workforce pipeline to continually determine the education and training levels required by the State’s employers;

      (2) identify and recommend improvements regarding efficiency and cooperation of agencies and programs throughout the age zero to twenty education and workforce pipeline; and

      (3) report findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on a continuous basis.

      The committee has no oversight powers.

      It was created in response to the 68,000 jobs that are available in South Carolina but cannot be filled due to a lack of workforce training.

      Regarding the provision that waives certification for up to 25% of the teachers in a high performing school, I tend to agree with you. Certification is earned and must be maintained. The provisions should be flexible enough to allow a school to take advantage of a “recognized expert” who might teach a class in a specific discipline (like a CPA who might teach a finance class) but allowing up to 25% of the teachers to be non-certified is too broad.

      Again, thank you for your input.

      Tommy

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