The safety of South Carolina’s students and educators is my top priority. Our students and teachers must have a classroom environment that is safe and promotes learning. The increase in bullying and mental health-related issues requires us to take a new approach to keep our children safe. By utilizing our existing state and community resources, we are working to provide a trained school resource office and mental health counselor in every school.
Finding and retaining quality teachers is a key part of improving education in this state. We must provide all teachers with a competitive salary and support in the classroom through common sense policies, professional development, and growth opportunities. I will advocate on behalf of our students, parents, and teachers for less high stakes testing and a renewed focus on high-quality classroom instruction.
South Carolina has done a tremendous job of bringing jobs and industry into the state. These companies are now telling us that we need to better prepare our high school graduates for the high skilled, high paying careers that are now available. I will work collaboratively with our business community and technical college system to bring career training and opportunities to students across South Carolina.
Education begins at the roots, and I firmly believe standards should be reviewed and approved locally. I am proud that South Carolina’s College and Career Ready Standards are homegrown, written by experts from South Carolina schools and universities. We have a responsibility to ensure that students leave school having not only the content knowledge but also the skills and characteristics needed to be successful in careers and citizenship.
Parents know what is best for their child and no parent or student should be forced to attend a school that is not providing the educational opportunities they need to be successful. This means parents and students must be empowered with options. It is the right and responsibility of parents to make the best education decisions for their children, whether they home-school their children, send them to private or parochial school, or one of our public magnet, charter, and virtual schools. We should help empower parents so they are able to make those choices best for their children.
Changing the System
We are at a critical point for education in South Carolina. The current system was designed for an agrarian and textile society, and while our state is moving forward, our education system continues to lag behind. We must commit to making this system more personalized for students, efficient and accountable to taxpayers, supportive of our educators, and up-to-date with our changing economy and society. By listening to parents, students, the business community, and educators, we will be successful in bringing quality education to our students.