Education is the Key!
Most of us grew up hearing how important it is to get a good education. It was preached by my grandmother and mother that earning a college degree was the key to a better life. Today, that educational dream seems to be slipping away for many of our young people seeking the same opportunities we had just a generation ago. Many high school graduates who choose to earn that coveted college degree end up saddled with tens of thousands in college debt to attend public state colleges and universities. With South Carolina’s lack luster wages, college graduates struggle to pay their student loans and basic bills, making it impossible for them to afford to live on their own. So, they leave the state seeking better opportunities elsewhere. Yet, instead of fixing this very real problem, our lawmakers have set their sights on “reforming” the state’s public schools.
Their so called “reform” supports measures that will negatively impact many public schools in rural and minority communities, further eroding the educational opportunities for the children who live there. True reform should mean properly funding public schools no matter their zip code. True reform should not sanction discrimination against poor and rural communities. South Carolina has not adequately funded public schools, in accordance with state law, since 2008. And now the legislature has passed a law that sends public tax dollars to private schools, further draining even more resources away from already underfunded public schools. Private schools are allowed to pick and choose their students taking only those students they want, and they are under no obligation to accept students with disabilities or low test scores. South Carolina’s “reform” legislation has also opened school district lines across the state, allowing families with money to transport their children to send them to any public school in the state, taking the public state funding with them. This will have a devastating impact on rural and community schools.
Reform to some lawmakers means banning books especially those dealing with topics they say are too controversial. Books about racism in America and LGBTQ discrimination are being removed from library shelves.
A good education requires adequate funding to keep schools safe, a certified teacher in each classroom, and the ability to actually teach students and help them reach their highest educational ability. In this edition of IMARA Woman Magazine, we focus on folks on the frontline of education in South Carolina. I encourage you to continue being an advocate for all children. They deserve access to a quality public school education because education is still the key!