Letter demanding better education gathers more than 200 signatures

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.”

Letter to the Editor on CofC restoring race as admissions consideration

Thanks to The Post and Courier for publishing TCCC CEO John Read’s Letter to the Editor on the College of Charleston restoring race as a consideration in admissions.

Click here to read the letter.

Charleston Forum releases video of education panel

The Charleston Forum, held on June 21, included an education panel with: Cindy Ambrose, deputy superintendent of the Charleston County School District; John Read, CEO of Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative; Faith River James, assistant provost for leadership at The Citadel; Alana Simmons, creator of Hate Won’t Win and granddaughter of the late Rev. Daniel L. Simmons, Sr.; and Elliot Smalley, superintendent of the SC Public Charter School District. The panel discussion was moderated by Bakari Sellers, attorney and CNN commentator.

Click here to watch the Charleston Forum’s education panel.

Sales Tax Holiday planned for August 3-5

The S.C. Department of Revenue has scheduled the annual Sales Tax Holiday for August 3-5!

A variety of back-to-school essentials are exempt from the state’s 6% sales tax and any applicable local taxes starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 3, and ending at midnight on Sunday, August 5.

The following items will be tax-free during the holiday:

  • Clothing
  • Clothing accessories (e.g., hats, scarves, hosiery and handbags)
  • Footwear
  • School supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, bookbags, lunchboxes and calculators)
  • Computers, printers and printer supplies, and computer software
  • Bath wash cloths, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats
  • Blankets, bed spreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, pillows and pillow cases

The sales tax holiday does not apply to:

  • Jewelry
  • Cosmetics
  • Eyewear
  • Wallets
  • Watches
  • Furniture
  • Rental of clothing or footwear
  • Items for use in a business
  • Items placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plans

Click here to learn more about the Sales Tax Holiday.

2018 First Day Festival

The City of Charleston’s Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families is hosting the First Day Festival from 1 until 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 12, at Liberty Square at the SC Aquarium and the Charleston Maritime Center. Parking at the SC Aquarium and Gaillard garages will be $1 during the festival.

Exhibitors will provide information on education and community services, and FREE bags of school supplies will be handed out!

The city is holding a School Supply Drive to collect donations. The most requested supplies are:

  • Pencils and pens
  • Wide-ruled filler paper
  • Wide-ruled composition books
  • Two-pocket folders
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • 12-inch rulers
  • Colored pencils
  • Index cards
  • Tissues
  • Glue and glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Erasers

School supplies can be dropped off by Wednesday, August 8, at the following locations:

  • Arthur W. Christopher Community Center
  • Bees Landing Recreation Center
  • Charleston Tennis Center
  • James Island Recreation Center
  • Hazel Parker Playground
  • St. Julian Devine Community Center
  • Charleston Farmer’s Market
  • West Ashley Farmer’s Market

To learn more, visit www.charleston-sc.gov/mocyf or call 843.965.4190.


Apply now for Teacher Supply Boxes

Kids in Need Foundation provides FREE Teacher Supply Boxes for teachers in Title I schools, where the rate of free and reduced lunch is 70% or higher.

“Successful applicants will receive TWO large boxes containing a predetermined assortment of essential items, including pencils, scissors, paper, and notebooks,” the Foundation’s website says.

The 2018 application window is open now through August 19. Teachers can apply by clicking here.


IMPACT 360 Summer Success visit

LaTisha Vaughn-Brandon, TCCC’s Director of Networks and Community Engagement, visited IMPACT 360 Summer Success this week. She enjoyed reading with and getting to know so many students during the literacy hour!

“Every summer students from low socio-economic backgrounds fall two months behind peers from higher-income families in academic skills, a deficit that grows to a full academic year by fourth grade,” the Impact 360 Summer Success website says. “The consequences, both in performance and self-esteem, can be devastating for these students and our communities. In 2011, The Rand Corporation published a compelling report about this disturbing summer deficit. Impact 360 Summer Success wants to lead change for these students and the Charleston community.”

About 150 students participate in the six-week experience, which is produced collaboratively by more than 15 non-profits led by Kids on Point (formerly known as Charleston Urban Squash).


WCBD News 2: Teachers needed in all local school districts


Special thanks to Mayci McLeod, with WCBD News 2, for interviewing our CEO, John C. Read, today about the region’s teacher shortage.

Watch John’s interview at https://www.counton2.com/news/local-news/teachers-needed-in-all-local-school-districts/1306507555.

Live 5 News: Local organization challenges state education system

Special thanks to Kolbie Satterfield, with Live 5 News, for stopping by TCCC to interview our CEO, John C. Read, about our advocacy letter!

Watch her story, which aired at 11 p.m. on July 11, at http://www.live5news.com/story/38626245/local-organization-challenges-state-education-system, and sign the letter at http://tricountycradletocareer.org/sign-the-letter/.

Sign The Letter!

Together, we can do better. U.S. News and World Report ranks South Carolina 48th in the country for education, while our civic, business and faith leaders remain mostly silent. This is systems failure at its worst and at a very cost in human potential. It is no longer acceptable, if it ever was to begin with.

Members of the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC) Board of Directors have drafted a letter addressed to other leaders across the state. This letter, which demands better for all children and their families, is a first step in our advocacy efforts to provoke systemic improvement that results in significantly improved student outcomes.

Read the letter at tricountycradletocareer.org/sign-the-letter/.

Along with dozens of other concerned citizens, I’ve signed this letter, and I’m asking you to sign it as well. Please email Ashley@TriCountyCradleToCareer.org to have your name included.

Thank you for your support!


John C. Read