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Post and Courier launches Education Lab to focus on SC public school reform

Minimally Adequate forum at Trident Tech

Post and Courier reporters Jennifer Berry Hawes and Glenn Smith (at left) hosted a forum on education issues at Trident Technical College on Monday, April 1, 2019. They were joined by panelists (from left) Charleston County Schools Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Tina Wirth, Charleston Promise Neighborhood CEO Sherrie Snipes-Williams and Military Magnet Academy teacher Natasha Akery. File/Staff

In 2018, The Post and Courier undertook the daunting but important task of cataloging the many reasons why South Carolina’s public education system was failing to prepare students for college and beyond.

We didn’t mince our words. The first story in the multi-part series titled “Minimally Adequate” began like this:

“Divided by race, mired in inequities and hobbled by its history, South Carolina’s public school system is among the worst in the nation, saddled with a legacy of apathy and low expectations that threatens the state’s newfound prosperity. South Carolina’s schools trail other states in nearly every measure, leaving students unprepared for the world that awaits them as businesses struggle to find qualified workers to fill skilled jobs.”

Mitch Pugh executive editor tighter

Executive Editor Mitch Pugh

This series of stories and forums held throughout the state garnered significant attention and seemed to galvanize lawmakers, educators and the public to do something about it. After a promising start, the most aggressive reform efforts ultimately went nowhere. Today, South Carolina’s public education system is in much the same place it was when our series first published.

That’s why The Post and Courier is partnering with funders and other organizations in our state to launch our own Education Lab. Over the next three years, and hopefully longer, we are going to bring our focused efforts to bear on this important issue.

The Post and Courier Education Lab will support one editor and two full-time reporters focused on education with a clear focus on South Carolina education reform. It is being founded on the principle that all children in South Carolina deserve equal access to quality education.

We believe there is power in partnering with corporations, nonprofits and philanthropic foundations to engage our readers about critical issues affecting South Carolina. We are heartened to find many agree with us, and we have already secured enough funding to launch this project at the start of the new school year.

We believe our news organization is uniquely positioned to report on education reform in a comprehensive and compelling manner, serving readers throughout the state and focusing on concrete solutions. But we also understand our ultimate goals with this project will not come easily.

If you are interested in supporting this important work, we are still seeking funders and partners. To learn more, you can visit postandcourier.com/donate. All donations to the Education Lab will be funneled through the Coastal Community Foundation and are tax deductible.

You can also contact Robie Scott, Director of Development and Community Relations, at rscott@postandcourier.com or 843-937-5766 if you want additional information.

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