South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s appointment of Melanie Barton to lead state education reform efforts clearly indicates the governor’s idea of reform is simply more of the same.
Ms. Barton is a long-term bureaucrat, most recently executive director of the superfluous Education Oversight Committee.
Ms. Barton’s idea of reform is more standardized bubble tests and school shaming.
The EOC has turned our children into faceless data points, our schools into factories, our teachers into assembly line workers and our administrators into bean counters.
Further, she has shown no significant leadership in terms of advocating for teachers, even as the teacher shortage has worsened to a crisis level. Expecting any fresh or innovative ideas from Ms. Barton is probably wishful thinking.
I don’t understand why our state needs a superintendent of education, a state Board of Education, the EOC and now this additional layer of bureaucracy, I would think that Gov. McMaster could have at least found someone who has actually worked in a real school district.
What we got instead is another bureaucrat who has little or no credibility in the field. Ms. Barton is a disappointing choice at best.
Hunter Hill Road
I just received my SCANA settlement from the class-action lawsuit. Having been a customer for more than 64 years, I opened the letter with anticipation.
I was not looking for a large amount, but when I opened the envelope I was really surprised. Enclosed was a check for $44.73.
This is not a settlement. It is an insult.
John Rutledge Avenue
In business, the best and most experienced managers are sent to the worst-performing departments.
This is done to turn around poor performance. It works and the managers are rewarded.
Why is this not done in our schools? Why are many of the best, most experienced teachers kept in the best schools? Are they afraid of going into many of these poor performing schools, which typically have major discipline problems?
Why not get the best teachers and send them into the worst schools? And get serious by paying them, and not just a $500 bonus or use of a rental car for a year.
Call it what it is: hazardous duty pay. You simply cannot send a novice into a school and on her/his first day to be met by cursing and threats of violence.
This shouldn’t be tolerated. I have known many teachers who have been threatened or mugged. To what end do we send inexperienced teachers to the worst failing schools?
The money is there. It is, however, spent in the wrong places. What is the point of a new gym if the kids can’t read the signs that direct them there?
Money may not be the fix, but if wisely spent, it offers a start. This works in business so why not in schools?
Emerald Forest Parkway
In his Aug. 11 column, “Woodstock was about hope for a better world,” Leonard Pitts wrote that what it meant to be a teenager in the post-war and post-Depression late 1950s differed significantly from prior generations.
He opined that “teenage” came to be viewed as a separate phase of life and that “teenagers were more likely to be spared adult responsibilities.”
He continued: “They — the white ones growing up in the new suburbs, at least — were flush with cash, brimming with modern conceits and — initially — indulged by parents captivated by the very newness of them.”
As a 1950s Charleston-area teenager, I find Mr. Pitts’ generalization about being spared adult responsibilities and his comments “flush with cash,” indulged,” etc., to be ridiculous and offensive.
These comments definitely did not describe the 223 students in my high school graduation class, most of whom worked part-time jobs. And immediately upon graduation, we enrolled in college, joined the military or pursued careers based on our God-given interests, talents and abilities.
Regarding Woodstock, while some young people were in New York frolicking in the mud, many more of their contemporaries were proudly serving in our nation’s military, domestically and overseas.
L. McTIER ANDERSON
I was an elected Charleston County official for almost 28 years. Today, I’m honored to serve on the Board of Elections and Voter Registration.
This board must ensure Charleston County has the best staff, best volunteers, best equipment and that it runs the most fair and impartial elections possible.
The board has certain rules and policies that, if broken, can result in that member being removed. So I hope this next statement won’t get me in trouble.
I’ve been in and around politics most of my life, but for me, one person stands out. That’s former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy. He signed up to do a job, did it well and, unlike most, came back home.
Today he is one of the most respected individuals on and off Capitol Hill. When he speaks, people of both parties listen.
He’s still a young man and I sure hope that the presidency is in his thoughts and plans.
In 2024, I’ll be 78 and I hope I’ll be around to support and vote for him.
We can’t protect our children from every danger. We must equip them with intelligence, empathy and understanding so they will not just survive but thrive and make meaningful contributions to society.
Rather than spend millions on research and development to weave bulletproof backpacks, we need to spend family time and effort on weaving threads of respect for every human life into a protective armor for our children when they venture out.
In every family, children should be encouraged, listened to, loved for who they are and learn from a variety of individuals with life experiences they can share.
Parents and guardians should take back the honor they have been given to guide and lead.
Regardless of religious or spiritual paths, the young need a moral anchor that is more than one’s own perception of reality.
Everyone needs grounding in timeless truths of right and wrong, and the ability to discern if a choice leads to desolation or peaceful consolation.
In my view, the most important gift that parents can give their children is a time-tested faith that teaches respect for the dignity of every human life, gives their life meaning and sustains them even on the worst days.
Seeing one’s valued place in creation though a wholesome, other-directed belief system is much more life-affirming and hopeful than an online screed filled with hatred and twisted logic.
HAYDEN D. SHOOK