TCCC Unveils Regional Education Report

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative released its Regional Education Report: Chapter 4 during the organization’s Community Leadership Council breakfast at Charleston Southern University.

This report, titled “Constructive Disruption,” is intended to provoke the disruption of the status quo in public education so that meaningful, systemic improvement resulting in significantly improved student outcomes takes place.

“It is clear that every child can learn, and, yet, too many of our students are leaving high school unprepared for either college or a career and less likely to realize their dreams. Without local, qualified candidates, our businesses will struggle to fill available, high-paying jobs, and the region’s economic success and quality of life will suffer,” Anita Zucker, chair of the TCCC Board of Directors and CEO of The InterTech Group, said. “There are too few civic and business leaders demanding something better, especially for students of color and of poverty who are the least well served. It is past time for us all to speak out, engage and insist every child receives an excellent education.”

Each year since 2015, TCCC has published the Regional Education Report to objectively report where this region stands, highlight bright spots and show where additional work is needed to achieve 2025 goals. While TCCC continues in Chapter 4 to faithfully report updated regional data across the continuum, this report acknowledges that little or no progress has been made.

“The data continue to say the same thing. Public education in our region is failing to educate a significant number of our children,” John C. Read, CEO of TCCC, said. “Low-income, mostly Black and Hispanic children are faring the worst, and, in many ways, those who work in public education, especially teachers, are the victims of this systems failure as well.”

Chapter 4 makes specific recommendations regarding equity and improvement across the continuum, while acknowledging that the politics of public education make positive action on these recommendations highly doubtful. Some examples include:

• Quality pre-school (3K and 4K) for all should be mandated and funded by the state.

• Where school choice is policy, transportation should be provided for those who need it.

• The Title 1 mandate, provided for students living in poverty, should be fully funded.

• The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act should be fully funded.

• Districts should require all high school seniors to complete a math course and the FAFSA.

• Act 388, limiting the ability of governments to raise money for schools, should be changed.

• Professional development programs for teachers and principals should be a top priority.

• Financial incentives should be given to the best teachers to serve in challenging schools.

• Alternative pathways to teacher certification should be developed and implemented.

“Our community needs to own the responsibility to educate its children. Early childhood supports do not now provide what all children and their families need to be ready for school. Public schools fail to educate many of our children, and when they leave high school, whether as a graduate or dropout, they are sent off largely unready and unsupported,” Read said. “This is systems failure at its worst, and if public education will not reform itself from the inside out, then the community, at the grassroots level, will need to demand alternatives.”