More than 200 individuals – including elected officials, business leaders, university presidents, school board members, faith leaders, educators, parents, students and community volunteers – have signed a letter that demands better for all children and their families.
“Together, we are taking ownership for public education and taking a stand to demand better from our school districts, school boards, legislators and decision makers,” the letter says.
Members of the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) Board of Directors drafted the letter in July and addressed it to leaders across the state.
“Public schools in South Carolina, by any objective measure, are failing to educate a significant number of our children,” said Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group and chair of the TCCC Board of Directors. “It’s not the fault of any one child, teacher, parent, principal or superintendent. Rather, it is every citizen’s responsibility. This powerful letter sends a signal to all leaders in this state that we stand ready to do whatever it takes to see positive change occur.”
The letter is a step in TCCC’s advocacy efforts to provoke systemic improvement that results in significantly improved student outcomes.
“To ensure our state’s quality of life and economic well-being, we will have to make equitable investments in public education and push new ideas and practices that work for students in poverty, even if it requires significant change to the system,” the letter says. “To us, real equity recognizes that not all children and districts start in the same place, so providing support for our most challenged students and schools will require unequal investments and higher levels of expectation and accountability.”
Laura Varn, founder of Laura Varn & Associates and member of the TCCC Board of Directors, chairs the advocacy subcommittee that drafted the letter. It will soon be mailed, she said, to state elected officials, the Lowcountry delegation, political candidates and others in leadership roles who have direct influence on education policies and decisions.
“We hope those who receive this letter will see how much support they will have if they make education the priority. We invite them to use this letter as proof of their constituents’ demand for higher teacher pay, more professional development, quality pre-school (3K and 4K) for all and equitable school funding, among other needs,” Varn said.
Supporters can read and sign the letter by visiting tricountycradletocareer.org/sign-the-letter.
“We must start treating education the way we treat infrastructure,” said John C. Read, CEO of TCCC. “The business community isn’t sending donations and volunteers with shovels to extend Interstate 526. They are, instead, using their voices to demand better highways and bridges. Until we all start using our voices to demand better schools, we will be stuck with the failing status quo.”