Once again, South Carolina's budget woes are threatening our schools. Teacher cutbacks, furloughs, fewer standardized tests, and a shorter school calendar may be among the next cost-saving measures. Further cuts would be painful, and some have sparked strong opposition.
The Richland One School Board opposes shortening the school year. State law requires public school students to attend a minimum of 180 days, and the Richland One board weighed in unanimously against cutting the calendar. The board says that would hurt efforts to keep students competitive in our global society.
Additional school funding cuts could dampen the impact of recent good news about student performance on college entrance exams. 79 high schools in our state were recognized for their efforts. Scores on the ACT exam are up over the past five years, even though many more students took the test. And a 22-point gain in SAT scores puts our students among the nation's most improved.
I urge state officials and local educators to work together to ease the pain of any cost-saving measures. We cannot afford to step backwards in fulfilling our obligation to educate the next generation. That's my perspective. What's yours?