Breaking down Zero to Twenty Committee, consolidation and tech college proposals in education bill

Breaking down Zero to Twenty Committee, consolidation and tech college proposals in education bill

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Dr. Fay Sprouse said if here school district is consolidated it could be devastating for their community.

Sprouse is the superintendent for the Ware Shoals School District (Greenwood 51). According to the South Carolina Department of Education’s District Headcount from December 2018, 951 students attended that district.

A massive education reform bill filed in the House and Senate last week is proposing consolidating school districts with a student population less than a 1,000.

“Don’t single out districts because of a random number,” Dr. Sprouse told the House K-12 Education and Public Works subcommittee on Wednesday.

According to the Department of Education’s data, 8 school districts in South Carolina currently have less than 1,000 active students.

Dr. Sprouse said, “Hold us to the same standards. Fiscal accountability, academic standards. Let us all be treated fairly.”

This bill would require school district consolidation for struggling districts as well.

Another topic of debate is the Zero to Twenty Committee. This proposed group would focus on the pipeline from education to the workforce.

The group will be chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and will have appointed members with an education background.

The Zero to Twenty Committee will also have an “education tsar” position.

Those opposed say this is unnecessary since the state already has the Department of Education, Education Oversight Committee, and a First Steps Program.

Craig King with the Palmetto State Teachers Association said, “This appears to be a way to circumvent the will of the people in South Carolina by creating a position housed in the office of the Governor.”

The bill will create a Student Bill of Rights, raise teacher starting salary in South Carolina from 32,000 to 35,000, expand the Read to Succeed initiative and remove some standardized tests.

Proposals in this bill go beyond K-12. Like creating a statewide dual enrollment program and removing remedial classes from technical colleges.

Lawmakers say you can expect to see plenty of changes made to this bill throughout the committee process.

The subcommittee will be meeting Wednesday, February 5, one hour after the House adjourns at and again on Wednesday, February 12 at 5p so teachers can attend.

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