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Home arrow Media Center arrow No Room for 'Minimal' in Education
No Room for 'Minimal' in Education
Help me Succeed!
Help me Succeed!

South Carolina's educational reputation is low compared to neighboring states. Scores on student testing are often at or near the bottom of nationwide rankings. Public education is one thing that most politicians and citizens can agree on. But upon what are they agreeing?

According to the state constitution, South Carolina must provide its children with what has been determined as a minimally adequate public education. How is that for a vote of confidence for the future of our young people? South Carolina does not seek to give its children a great public education opportunity, or even a good one. We are telling them that not only will they get an adequate education, it will be a minimally adequate one.

Why would anyone want to bring their children into a state with such little support for the education needed to prepare them for the future? While many districts surpass the low achievement of our state average - Aiken County among them - more and more it is the state that is taking over our education system with its "minimally adequate" resolve. With local funding initiatives stymied by the Legislature's decision to remove school operations taxes from owner-occupied dwellings, local districts have the S.C. millstone of "minimally adequate" firmly attached to their necks.

There are some who want to change that, however. A group of senators have banded together to introduce legislation that would change the wording of the state constitution and require that South Carolina "will provide a high-quality education, allowing each student to reach his highest potential."

Changing the words to our state's constitution is just a start, but it is indeed a new beginning to how our people and our legislators should be dealing with public education. Rather than playing politics over school choice, vouchers or meeting the bare basics, our state leaders should be trying to find ways to meet that "high-quality education" as a baseline for our students.

In too many measures our state is bringing up the rear, and our citizens suffer. Rather than always repeating a mantra of lower taxes, legislators should be asking how they can be involved in improving the educational opportunities for children in Aiken, Gloverville, Wagener, North Augusta and every other community in South Carolina.

It will cost more money to offer a "high-quality education" to replace the "minimally adequate education" that has been an impediment to improvement for more than a century. It is time that South Carolina step forward and put the emphasis on public education for all of our children that they deserve.

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