In response to a legislative request for input on education reform measures, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative sent South Carolina legislators its views on what goals and guiding principles must be in place for overhauling the state’s education system.
Legislation S419, which is under consideration by the Senate Education Committee, proposes several measures to improve education statewide, and the committee has asked for input from key education stakeholders. The SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA) Office also has sought comments on its May, 2019 Report on education funding reform.
TCCC recommends that legislators first establish a clear “Goal” statement for public education that goes beyond the “Profile of the South Carolina Graduate” by adding clearly defined achievement goals for education attainment as well as progress measures to assure that students receive a college- or career-ready education.
TCCC also identifies what it believes are the critical elements necessary for the successful achievement of an education goal, including equitable funding, effective leadership, highly effective teaching and universal early childhood education.
“Setting a goal for K-12 public education and assuring the success of our students is public policy at the highest level and should be set by the General Assembly,” said Anita Zucker, TCCC board chairman and CEO of The InterTech Group.
In this submission, TCCC also proposes a set of principles to bound and guide the work of redesigning education funding. Responding to the RFA Report, TCCC states that reform measures must consider funding equity down to the student level so that resources “flow through districts, schools and classrooms to students with the greatest needs.” Currently,
models under consideration go only to the district level and rely on “averages” that can mask wide disparities in student needs. TCCC’s recommended principles also call for stabilized funding that is less susceptible to economic fluctuations and affords greater flexibility for local school administrators.
“Revenues that support schools are far too complex, siloed and cyclical to be reliable, let alone sufficient to support the student-centered equity public education needs,” said John Read, TCCC’s CEO.
TCCC believes statutory goals and principles should first be established in order to provide a framework for the education and education funding reform efforts which it hopes will be taken up by the General Assembly in the coming months. Read informed Senate Education Committee Chairman Greg Hembree that TCCC would be submitting its comments on S.419 to the committee in the coming weeks, based on these goals and principles.