Education

Education

Education

LWVSC supports public state-supported education at all levels that is high quality, effective, equitable, fully funded and accountable.

GOVERNANCE

Early Childhood (EC) through grade 12

1.  A State Board of Education, with the majority of members elected by the legislature on the “one-person-one-vote” principle and the remainder appointed by the Governor.

2.  Gubernatorial appointment of the State Superintendent of Education. The appointee must have substantial administrative and/or teaching experience of K-12 public education.

3.  Non-partisan election of local board of education members for four-year terms with limited self-succession.

4.  Formulation and publication of educational policy and goals by state and local boards as a basis for selection and evaluation of content, methods and organizational patterns reflecting these goals and encouraging innovation and experimentation.

5.  Consolidation of services and programs of small schools and consolidation of small school districts when educationally feasible.

6.  Changes in the structures of the school board and/or consolidating, splitting, or redrawing school district lines should be subject to a referendum by the voters in the affected school district(s).

Post Secondary

7.  Legislative election and gubernatorial appointment of institutional governing boards broadly representative of the state population as to race and gender.

8.  Application of the rules of dual office holding to institutional governing boards.

9.  Involvement of the Commission on Higher Education and the institutions in statewide planning and assessment; periodic outside evaluation as a further measure of accountability.

Adult Education

10.   Governance and oversight of adult education programs by the State Department of Education, with programs administered by local school districts, regional adult education technical assistance centers, community organizations, and faith-based organizations.

11.  Adult education programs which are accessible to residents throughout each county in South Carolina.

FUNDING

All Levels (Early Childhood - 12, Post Secondary)

12.  Assumption by the state of the greatest share of financial responsibility for public education, allowing some local initiative and keeping local taxes (EC - 12) and tuition (post secondary) within equitable bounds.

13.  Faculty compensation competitive with neighboring states, and state appropriations sufficient to meet state mandated increases in salaries and fringe benefits.

14.  State aid to local districts for school construction and to post secondary institutions through financing instructional facilities with general obligation bonds.

Early Childhood - 12

15.  State grants at a level sufficient to maintain effective public education, supplemented by variable local grants, working toward equal educational opportunity for all. Support evidence-based early literacy programs to ensure that children reach school ready to read.

16.  Administration of funds decided on the local level with strong state guidelines, ensuring fiscal effectiveness.

17.  Protection of funds legally designated for specific programs.

18.  Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as mandatory for all schools using public funds.

19.  Amending the state constitution to prohibit the use of state funds for direct or indirect support of private education through tax credits, direct payments, school vouches, or any other means.

Post Secondary

20.  Indexing of in-state tuition based on the actual cost of education, the state bearing 80% of cost and the student 20% at all institutions, while allowing individual institutions to set out of-state tuition at 200% or more of in-state tuition and fees.

Adult Education

21.  Adequate State funding to increase the percentage of full-time teachers in high school diploma programs and career transition specialists for students in adult education programs

22.  Increasing the per student allocation for adult education students (ages 17-21 years) in diploma programs to an amount that is adequate to ensure quality and which compares favorably to the per student allocation for those enrolled in public high schools.

Effective Education

In addition to sound principles of governance and funding as conducive to effective education, LWVSC also supports:

Early Childhood – 12

23.  The provisions of the Education Finance Act (EFA) and the Education Improvement Act (EIA) which provide compulsory (K - 12), effective, equitable and accountable education to all students.

24.   Effective partnerships between schools and parents, the community, and business.

25.   Ample variation in curriculum to meet individual educational needs of all students.

26.   Continued offering of full day kindergarten, expansion of full day 4-K to all area of the state, and expansion of pre-school with small class size, low pupil-teacher ratio, aides and developmentally appropriate programs, and with parental choice of full day or half day.

27.   Offering to educators a wide variety of support before and during evaluation.

28.  Elimination of corporal punishment, with the promotion of more effective and positive methods of discipline.

29.   Early identification of students who are at risk for dropping out of school.

30.   Recognizing that the teacher is the most important school-based component of academic achievement, school districts should implement a comprehensive teacher evaluation. The fair and comprehensive evaluation system should:

            a.  Assure that all teachers are evaluated on a regular basis;

            b.  Include three or more qualitative rating categories to identify and retain effective teachers (for example, categories of:  Highly Effective, Effective, Needs Improvement, rather than letter grades);

            c.  Include student progress as one of the factors used for rating teacher effectiveness;

            d.  Use clearly defined, widely accepted standards, and consistent, well-trained evaluators;

            e.  Use teachers in developing and implementing the evaluation system;

            f.  Provide feedback to teachers to help them develop skills and support decisions for retention, dismissal and assignments;

            g.  Be equitably and fully funded across the state’s public school systems.

Post Secondary

31.   The establishment and expansion of research programs to include those having a direct, positive impact on economic development, education, health or welfare in this state.

Adult Education

32.   Availability of a variety of adult education programs and classes (such as literacy, English as a second language, pre-GED and GED preparation, high school diploma, computer literacy, career readiness), as well as on-line and virtual learning programs, to meet respective needs of South Carolina’s diverse population.

33.   Local adult education partnerships with higher education and technical education institutions, as well as businesses, community organizations, and other government entities to assist in carrying out the mission of adult education.

34.   Available child development facilities and care for children of adult education parents while they are attending adult education classes.

35.    Available, affordable transportation assistance to/from adult education sites for adult education students.

36.   Access to adult education classes in a wide variety of community locations, including State Department of Corrections facilities, city and county jails, vocational rehabilitation centers, and One Stop Centers.

All levels (EC - 12, Post Secondary, Adult Education)

37.  Effective administration, leadership and management, with strict quality controls.

Public Charter Schools

38.   Constitutionality: Charter Schools should be under the control of publicly elected or publicly appointed school officials. They may receive public funding only if they meet constitutional requirements to qualify as public schools. They must be non-religious and non-sectarian in programs, admissions policies and employment practices.

39.  Equal Access: Charter Schools must maintain racial and ethnic balance unless imbalances are justified by a special program. They must not practice discrimination based on disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, need for special education, or economic status. Free transportation must be provided within the territorial jurisdiction of the Charter School. There should be no requirements for parental participation or support which might limit access for minority or disadvantaged students.

40.   Accountability: Charter Schools must be accountable in terms of stated learning objectives, methods of assessment, and reporting of assessment results. They must regularly report to the public on the use of funds. The South Carolina Public Charter School District must be the approving body for charter school applications but there should be an appeals process for a denied or revoked Charter School application.

Related national positions: Social Policy, Meeting Basic Human Needs

Background/Action:   Adult Education positions were studied in 2005-2007 and adopted in 2007. Item #6 under GOVERNANCE is based on a state LWV study of school district structure and governance and was adopted at convention in 2011. Item #30 under Effective Education is the result of consensus based on a state wide LWV study of evaluation and retention of effective teachers in public schools in SC, and was adopted at the 2013 state convention. In 2015 number 2 was amended to provide for public election of the Secretary of Education. The title “Charter Schools” was amended to read “Public Charter Schools. In 2015,  number 40 was amended to refer to the South Carolina Public Charter School District. In 2017, number 2 was amended to provide for appointment of the Secretary of Education and to describe minimum qualifications for the position. In 2017 Number 19 was amended to specify forms of financial assistance for private schools not supported by the League.