Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Senator Thomas's View on Education

(Today our guest writer is SC State Senator David Thomas. He has served in the Senate since 1985.)

I grew up in the South Carolina public school system, from grades two through nine. Prior to and after those years our family lived in North Carolina. I remember most the wonderful teachers during that time and believe I received a good education given the easily diverted student my teachers had to work with.

Those teachers did something correctly. I ended up getting a number of graduate degrees and still love to study most everything for its own sake.

About sixty percent of the budget of South Carolina goes into education. We spend around $8,000 per pupil every year for publicly educated children. And even though I don’t serve on the Senate Education Committee, I do have an opinion about education in our state. I think it’s working fairly well. Young people are getting a good education in South Carolina.

Just recently, I appeared before a State Senate Education Committee sub-committee and presented two bills I’d introduced. One was at the request of a parent of twins who had been told the elementary school her children attended did not allow siblings to be in the same classroom; even close twins. She protested to the principal, to no avail. My legislation would have allowed, under certain conditions, those twins to be in the same class. The second bill was brought to my attention by a senior at a high school in Anderson County, Libby Berger. Libby is a most wonderful young lady who observed that “recess” times seem to be “at risk” in elementary schools, in her opinion. So, after researching the matter I introduced a bill mandating recess for at least twenty minutes every day in elementary school. Libby spoke at the sub-committee hearing. She was articulate and self assured in her presentation to six senior state senators. I was proud to be associated with her. She made ME look good. (See article: Teen to senators: Children need play time at school)

The real point of mentioning Libby is to demonstrate the quality of students the South Carolina School System is producing.

Could we do things better? Of course. And even in the business world every business owner would admit that his or her enterprise could be better run. My thrust is this: Much is being done correctly. There is a lot to be proud of and happy with in the training of our students.

To be even better, we legislators need to be in better touch with teachers as well as administrators. I’d personally welcome any teacher’s observations as to what I could do to help improve our school situation. Please be in touch with me. Write me at dt@scsenate.org. I’d love to hear from you. Send me some good success stories like Libby too.


Benjamin Baxter said...

I'm not flaming or being a troll when I write this, but isn't South Carolina's public education system legendarily poor? Or is that a remant from old slander?

loonyhiker said...

Benjamin Baxter: Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. I moved here about 30 years ago from New York so I feel I can compare the system in both places so no, I don't think the SC system is that poor. I think if you go to any state, there will be prevailing problems that differ due to the different areas throughout the state, different cultures and different people involved. I feel we have a pretty good education system here and see many teachers and families from other states relocating here. As anywhere else in the world, there will always be good points and bad points but I believe that is "old slander."