April 4, 2018
Issues Forum Summary – April 2018
April 2018: The State of Public Education
Guest Speaker: Molly Spearman, South Carolina Superintendent of Education
South Carolina’s Superintendent of Education highlighted the need and opportunity for educators and the business community to work together on matters impacting education, students, and workforce development. Healthy discussions need to be held on ways to improve and transform education in such a manner that graduating students are better prepared for citizenship. A great example of this is TransformSC, a coalition of business leaders, educators, parents, students, and community leaders actively engaged in transforming public education. Last year in South Carolina, only 35% of 5-year-old children tested ready for kindergarten. This demonstrates a critical need for teachers; however, recruiting them is difficult in part due to low starting salaries. The General Assembly has moved teacher pay from a number one priority to one of lesser importance. Additional highlights include the need to ensure that school districts and school boards are managed efficiently and effectively to deliver the greatest benefits to the children and community which in some cases, may mean the Superintendent’s Office has to step in. Spearman concluded by stating that considering consolidation of school districts to achieve the greatest results may make sense in some cases. She issued a call to action for individuals to volunteer their time and talents to help make a positive impact in the education of South Carolina’s students.
Throughout the year, you can expect the Columbia Chamber to:
- Encourage the SC General Assembly to fully fund the Education Finance Act.
- Support and generate opportunities for the business community to work with educators to drive preparedness for the workforce.