TCCC applauds changes to state’s “Disturbing Schools” law

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) is pleased that South Carolina lawmakers have amended the “Disturbing Schools” law, which criminalized students for actions that often could have been handled by school administrators.

Gov. Henry McMaster signed legislation on May 17 that restructures the law to apply only to non-students. The law now reads, “It is unlawful for a person who is not a student to willfully interfere with, disrupt or disturb the normal operations of a school or college in this state.”

Previously, students who were deemed too loud or disruptive could be arrested and charged with disturbing school. Through the abuse and misuse of this law, a disproportionate number of students of color and with disabilities were affected. Research from the U.S. Department of Education (.pdf) found that “Black students are 2.2 times as likely to receive a referral to law enforcement or be subject to a school-related arrest as white students.”

“Compounded with insufficient resources for mental health, this law made it too easy for teachers and administrators to call in law enforcement officers instead of finding alternate methods for addressing unacceptable behavior,” TCCC CEO John C. Read said. “Amending this law is an important step in the right direction toward equitable treatment of all students. It is important for school districts to train teachers and administrators to manage student behavior in a way that doesn’t involve the judicial system.”

With a criminal record, instead of detention, suspension or some other form of discipline, students are put at a disadvantage before graduating from high school and are limited in their future education and career opportunities.

“Our vision is for every child in the tri-county region to graduate from high school prepared for either further education or a career in the modern workforce,” said Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group and chair of the TCCC Board of Directors. “Urging educators to exhaust all avenues of behavioral discipline before involving law enforcement will keep more of our students in the classroom and committed to success.”

About the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

The Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) is a community-wide movement in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, South Carolina, focused on improving the quality of life of its citizens and its workforce through education. Using data and focused community collaboration across a continuum from “cradle-to-career,” TCCC serves as a catalyst for widespread, systemic change, with the ultimate goal of increased success and economic prosperity for all.

To view a PDF version of this press release, click here.

Kindergarten Readiness Network Convening

TCCC’s Kindergarten Readiness Network voted in favor of moving forward with the implementation of Family Connects in the tri-county region.

Family Connects is an evidence-based model created in Durham, N.C., that provides nurse home visiting services to the parents of every newborn, regardless of income or socioeconomic status. Watch this video to learn more.

CEOs and representatives of the region’s four hospital systems are supportive of the model and have agreed to the requested in-kind contributions, but are limited in the cash finding they can provide.

As a result, there is agreement to contract dedicated resources for the next three months to revise the current funding model to include other sources and to look at other home visiting programs already in operation that might serve as an alternative.

Photos: YWCA Greater Charleston’s #WhatWomenBring luncheon

TCCC’s LaTisha Vaughn-Brandon was honored today during the YWCA Greater Charleston’s What Women Bring luncheon!

LaTisha, who serves as TCCC’s Director of Networks and Community Engagement, was a panelist during the event’s discussion on empowering women.

Rotary Club of Daniel Island invites TCCC to speak

Special thanks to the Rotary Club of Daniel Island for inviting TCCC CEO John Read to speak to members this morning!

Photos: CRBJ Power Breakfast on education

Special thanks to the panelists and all those who attended today’s Charleston Regional Business Journal Power Breakfast! The event focused on tri-county education and TCCC’s recently released Regional Education Report: Chapter 4.

TCCC CEO John C. Read did a short presentation on the report, and then panelists from the region fielded questions about what needs to happen to improve educational outcomes.

Get to know the speakers:

Cathy Almquist, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Trident Technical College

Cathy Almquist has been with Trident Technical College since 1990 when she joined the faculty as a chemistry instructor. She holds an associate in arts from Iowa Western Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the College of Charleston, a Master of Science in immunobiology from Iowa State University and a doctorate of management in community college policy and administration.

“We don’t want something that’s surface level. We need commitment, and we need that commitment from every sector of our society,” Almquist said. “It’s no longer OK to simply say, ‘We fund public education. It’s their job to crank out good, productive workers.’ The evidence shows us that’s not what’s happening. We’ve got to get a deeper commitment, and it’s got to come from everybody.”

Jessica Jackson, Senior Manager of Global Engagement, Boeing South Carolina

Jessica Jackson represents Boeing to ensure successful implementation of the company’s corporate citizenship mission by committing company resources for community investments in the areas of education, health and human services, arts and culture, civic and environment. She has a master’s degree from Georgetown University and previously served as a vice president at the S.C. Federal Credit Union.

“This is imperative for the business community. This is our future,” Jackson said. “Yes, generally speaking, we might not have trouble filling certain jobs right now, but that’s not going to be the case 10, 20, 50 years from now, so we’ve got to fix it now.”

Ted Legasey, Chair, Charleston Promise Neighborhood Board of Directors

Ted Legasey is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in math. He also holds a master’s in operations research from the University of Pennsylvania. He spent nine years on active duty as an Air Force officer. He founded and served as the operational leader of SRA International Inc. before taking the company public in 2002.

“There is one very big lever that, if pulled properly, could make a material difference in what’s happening in our schools. Every business leader who came here will get this right away. It’s called talent,” Legasey said. “If we could have, as John said in his remarks, a superbly qualified principal with highly qualified teachers who are on the same page about high expectations for the children and for each other, we would make a material difference in the way children are educated. How that happens is a tough issue, but that’s what needs to happen.”

John C. Read, CEO, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative

John C. Read returned to Charleston in 2014 to serve as CEO of TCCC after serving as CEO for SeriousFun Children’s Network, Paul Newman’s global network of camps and programs serving children with life threatening illnesses. Read previously served as CEO for Outward Bound USA from 2001 to 2010. Read holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Harvard University and honorary doctorate degrees from Centenary College and Shenandoah University.

“Systems failure is complex. This one counts among its victims not only the generations of children who are and have been poorly served, but talented educators and administrators exerting practically heroic efforts to make things better,” Read said. “It is no longer sufficient, if it ever was, to leave the job of changing the system only to those who are a part of it. Complex systems change rarely happens that way.”

Anita Zucker, CEO, The InterTech Group

Anita Zucker is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. She also received a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of North Florida. Zucker taught elementary school for more than 10 years, and today serves as CEO for The InterTech Group Inc. in North Charleston.

“We don’t have time to lose another generation of children. That’s the bottom line,” Zucker said. “We are losing our children. Do we not understand they’re our greatest asset? We need to save children. I think the only way we can do it is by standing up and taking a stand, using our voices. We’ve got to save our children’s lives.”


‘She is solid gold and a patriot of the highest order’

Dick Whitfield called our Board Chair Anita Zucker a hero in a recent Letter to the Editor in the Moultrie News. We couldn’t agree more!

Read his letter:

Power Breakfast planned for Thursday

The Charleston Regional Business Journal’s next Power Breakfast will focus on tri-county education and TCCC’s recently released Regional Education Report: Chapter 4.

The Power Breakfast will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 3, at the North Charleston Marriott at 4770 Goer Drive in North Charleston. Tickets are on sale now for $45 and can be purchased online.

John C. Read, CEO of Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative, will do a short presentation prior to a panel discussion with:

  • Cathy Almquist, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Trident Technical College
  • Ted Legasey, Chair, Charleston Promise Neighborhood Board of Directors
  • Jessica Jackson, Senior Manager of Global Engagement, Boeing South Carolina
  • Anita Zucker, CEO, The InterTech Group

We hope to see you there!