Strike memories

Adam Parker provided fine coverage of the new hospital workers’ strike marker.

History is often very complicated. The strike I personally participated in was the public school system strike in Montgomery County, Md., in 1967.

It was a local contract strike, which Huntley-Brinkley reported nationally.

They reported that Maryland teachers wanted beginning pay equal to New York City garbage collectors. (Back then they were not called sanitation workers.) It was also non-violent, but for a non-tenured beginning teacher it was horrible to experience. I wanted to become involved with my first classroom of students.

My principal counseled me that he was not going on strike but that his wife on another faculty was going to. My position was not in jeopardy. It still felt awful, every single day.

I can sympathize with the striking nurses in Charleston.

The resolution of civil rights among employees and also basic pay for public school teachers is an ongoing issue today. Our health care in 2013 is front and center. Local solutions seem more expedient if contracts are honored.

Mrs. Martin Luther King, marching as a widow with the nurses, impressed me. Her witness and courage was shown in Adam Parker’s fine article. Thank you, Post and Courier, for helping readers remember.

Martha F. Barkley

Shadowcreek Court

Charleston

Drop I-526 project

Charleston County Council is pushing very hard to complete the proposed I-526 extension through marshland and over the Stono River without concern for over 3,000 homeowners’ property or environmental impact. Only their ambitions and financial gain seems to be of interest.

The project cost is estimated at $500 million, keeping in mind the word “estimate.” As we citizens are aware, there are always overruns and it would be no surprise if the project approved would be in excess of $750 million to complete.

All of South Carolina would benefit by shutting down the I-526 extension project once and for all, reallocating these funds throughout South Carolina.

Repair existing deteriorating roadways and bridges.

In many areas in South Carolina there are immediate needs for infrastructure improvements. For example, Charleston has an immediate need for improvements to the I-26 and I-526 interchange and merge areas.

Bryan Smythe

Stone Creek

Charleston

Flexibility is key

During my tenure as State Superintendent of Education, I’ve visited more than 220 schools in every county of South Carolina.

During these visits, I’ve heard over and over again from principals and superintendents, “If we had the same flexibility as public charter schools, then we’d have better results.”

I agree and believe that all of our schools should have that level of flexibility.

As a result, I have advocated for flexibility in school districts and for local superintendents to advance autonomy and accountability.

The General Assembly has also recognized that one-size doesn’t fit all in education.

The regulation that mandates required staffing levels in our schools has been suspended by the General Assembly since 2009. That’s five budgets the General Assembly has passed, each of which suspended statewide, mandatory, staffing ratios.

During this time, there have been no complaints about misuse of this local authority. Some school districts have used this flexibility to manage staff ratios as they see fit; others have not.

The point is, we have given this freedom to local school districts and they have used it wisely.

Contrary to the Oct. 5 news article in The Post and Courier titled “S.C. Education Department proposes eliminating class size maximums for many grades, subjects,” the amended regulation does not eliminate staffing ratios. It simply gives districts the authority to set them. This increases local control, which I support.

It’s time to put aside politics and the hysterical claims, and focus on the best way to advance student learning: give the people of Charleston County the authority to operate their schools in the most effective manner, not the bureaucrats in Columbia.

Dr. Mick Zais

State Superintendent

of Education

Senate Street

Columbia

New pledge

I have been listening to the news in my mom’s car, and I have made up a new pledge of allegiance to the flag:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America. And to the republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, constantly squabbling, divisible, with liberty and justice for some.”

Sarah Grace Jennings

Age 9

Teal Marsh Road

James Island

Time to go

To all members of Congress:

I can’t wait for Election Day. It’s time to drain the swamp.

Chris Hunter

Coolidge Street

Mount Pleasant