SC lawmakers work to fix state’s education; proposals face opposition along the way

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Here in South Carolina, lawmakers have spent the last two years trying to address issues with the education system.

A large education bill passed in the House last year touches on many areas that lawmakers hope will reform education, including several areas that have been filed in separate legislation.

Education is one of the biggest issues in the state right now and South Carolina senators are currently debating a massive education overhaul bill in the chambers. But other proposals are also on the table. One bill (S.556) gives parents a voucher to send their child to private school.

“I’m not anti-private school at all. I think parents reserve the right to send their kids wherever they think they will get the best public education,” said Senator Kevin Johnson.

But Senator Johnson is one of several lawmakers not completely satisfied with the idea.

The concern with the voucher program is money. Some lawmakers and educators opposed to the idea fear this proposal would take more money away from public education.

Johnson added, “I don’t know where the money comes from to send our tax dollars to parents to send their child to private school when we’re not fully funding public education.”

Steve Nuzum, an SC high school teacher, echoed Johnson’s sentiments. Nuzum cited inadequate funding as a concern.

“The goal should always be prioritized if there are problems in the public schools, which is the rhetoric let’s fix those problems since we haven’t funded schools properly in over a decade that looks to be a source of the problems we’re seeing. “

Another proposal takes power away from school boards in districts the state deems as failing.

And while intervention may seem like a good thing for some, others fear the leadership change could cause more harm than good.

Nuzum continued, “There could be problems, but the idea that the solution will remove the board members you elected and bring in appointees for 3 years without you having a say so and electing your own school board… that bothers me a lot.”

Both of those proposals are currently in the Senate Education Committee for discussion.

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