Letters to the Editor

Senate bill offers small changes, no real solution to South Carolina’s teacher crisis

S.C. teachers were asked to raise their hands Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, to show whether they have thought about leaving the profession. Teachers took a day off of work to talk to their S.C. lawmakers.
S.C. teachers were asked to raise their hands Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, to show whether they have thought about leaving the profession. Teachers took a day off of work to talk to their S.C. lawmakers. The State file photo

Having read through Senate bill S419 (companion bill is H3759), the bill written to “fix” South Carolina’s educational woes, I was shocked at its contents. This bill is only a hodgepodge of insignificant changes.

Teachers are clamoring for large ones like smaller class sizes, less constraints and less testing. In answer, only social studies testing for fifth- and seventh-graders is eliminated. There is nothing about increasing teacher salaries, except for new teachers. To attack the lack of reading readiness, the bill discourages the use of trained reading teachers, who are being used now to great effect. No mention is made of universal preschools, a policy so effective elsewhere in increasing student achievement. To counter teacher shortages, the bill’s solution is to hire uncertified teachers.

This is a bill that had no teacher input despite teachers being the ones on the front lines. No parent input seems evident either. The bill should be scrapped and completely rewritten to contain good, effective educational solutions to South Carolina’s many known problems.

Anne Mellen

Lexington

SC education won’t improve until teachers can control classrooms

All teachers, school administrators and legislators should read John Rosemond’s column in The State on Sunday, Feb. 10.

He lists three myths about education. 1. Smaller classrooms promote achievement. 2. More money assures achievement. 3. Parents helping with homework leads to achievement.

He says that each of these is belied by facts. Students in the ’50s and ’60s did better than today’s students even though there were much larger class sizes. Parochial school students did better even though the schools spent less money per student than public schools do today, and parents helping with homework is just another form of enabling the child.

He says the problems today are caused by a lack of discipline and the teachers’ not being allowed to control the students. Until the teachers are given back control of the students in classrooms, South Carolina will not be able to improve education. Students must learn to respect their teachers, and teachers must be allowed to discipline disruptive students.

Our state is dumping plenty of money into education if it is just used wisely. Building palatial new schools is not the answer. There should be only one plan with expandability for each elementary, middle and high school built.

Danny Mixon

Columbia

Legislators should invest in early education programs

Regarding “How will SC schools look years from now?” as a House panel starts education reform debate: As a public school teacher, mother and first-time grandmother living in South Carolina, I am pleased that our legislators are focusing on education, and raising teachers’ salaries always peaks my interest. To see legislators validating the importance of the teaching profession and considering a raise in pay is incredibly positive.

I would like our legislators to consider the importance of early childhood education in our state as well. Most of the brain is developed by the age of 5. My newborn grandson needs the opportunity to attend preschool so he can take full advantage of his developing brain with the opportunity to learn in a quality educational environment. Every child in S.C. deserves that chance, and when he or she walks through his or her kindergarten classroom, everyone will feel the difference that chance has made.

Creating universal preschools in our state would impact the K-12 system in only positive ways, and years from now, everyone would see its irrefutable impact. As a volunteer with Save the Children Action Network, I am asking our state legislators to invest in early childhood programs for everyone’s benefit.

Judy Ryan

Elgin

Trump incapable of understanding climate change

Amy Klobuchar announced she is running for president Monday. Trump tweeted mockingly, she “talked proudly of fighting climate change standing in a virtual blizzard of snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Bad timing.”

It has been pointed out repeatedly to Trump that as our planet warms, there will be cold days somewhere, sometimes. It’s a concept a sixth-grader can understand.

Please think about the future of the our planet. Trump is incapable of doing that.

Peter Swanson

Columbia

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

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