|Education petition circulates|
Advocates want state to aim higher than ‘minimally adequate’
The Lee County Board of Education authorized District Superintendent Dr. Cleo Richardson to circulate a petition in Lee County schools.
“I didn’t ask the board to support the petition but to allow it to be circulated in our schools,” Richardson said. “I certainly support it, and a couple of board members approached me saying they wanted to endorse it as well. We need to do more than just provide the minimum. Do you want to go to a doctor who is minimally adequate?”
Richardson said the measure is supported by several public and private organizations, including the state Department of Education, the South Carolina School Boards Association and the South Carolina Administrators Association.
State Education Superintendent Dr. Jim Rex said he would like to see 1 million names on the Goodbye Minimally Adequate (www.goodbyeminimallyadequate .com) petition by the time the General Assembly convenes in January. Organizers are advocating changing the state Constitution to replace a minimally adequate education with “a high-quality education, allowing each student to reach his highest potential.”
Rex addressed the issue in a letter on the Education Department’s Web site, www.ed.sc.gov.
“In January, we will ask the General Assembly to address the most difficult but most urgent of our education needs: fixing South Carolina’s unfair, unbalanced, inadequate, and virtually incomprehensible system of funding public schools,” Rex wrote.
“As South Carolina’s students go back to school, I invite you to join me in demonstrating to the General Assembly that we have high aspirations for our children by asking them to insert the phrase ‘high quality education’ in our State’s Constitution. … My recommendations to the General Assembly in January will be based on a comprehensive study of education needs and resources by two task forces comprised of business and education leaders from around the state.”
Sumter School District 17 supports raising standards and replacing minimally adequate with high quality, said Public Information Specialist Shelly Galloway.
“I was one of the first in the state to sign the petition,” Galloway said.
While there has not been a formal campaign to encourage staff and parents to sign the petition, the campaign has widespread support in District 17, she said.
Clarendon School District 2 Superintendent John Tindal said the issue has not been formally considered by the district board.
“We have an advocacy committee that could bring this up to the board in the months ahead,” Tindal said.
Nevertheless, Tindal supports the campaign and would like to see the state move toward high quality rather than minimally adequate.
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