School Swap: Read viewer comments - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

School Swap: Read viewer comments

  • KJ, Sumter:
    I'm 16 and I go to Lakewood High in Sumter and at Lakewood we have alot of teachers from another country teaching math and english when they can barly speak english and they teach really fast and for people like me I'm not a fast learner and everytime we asked one of my teachers to repeat himself he wouldnt and when people act up they don't get in trouble and my last semester classes was so loud I couldn't learn and if you would of swap someone to go to that school from a better school they would see how bad it is and the principle won't do nothing about it. I wish something would change about Lakewood I would like to get a better education and learn more and not have a headache from all the noise. I'm glad ya'll did school swap and please help the rest of the schools that need your help.
  • JJ, Cayce:
    What happened to concern parent? There still are concern parent however some teacher feel they have to control everything why not give the student a chance to express how they feel sometime toward what is been taught within the classroom setting. Maybe it the way the materials are being taught them? Learning goes hand and hand we sometime need feedback from the student at that age. How can we get respect when it just a one-way lane here at high school setting. Think about that for food. The old say to get respect we all have to give respect back student at that age maybe feel no respect is given to them. I believe they have feel just like adults have them why can we see from their eyes sometimes.
  • NS, Lexington:
    I think the school swap was a good idea.  I don't feel it will resolve the education issues in this state.  My suggestion would be that our education people go to other states where the education is so good (#1, #2, etc in the country) and try to learn from them.  North and South Dakota pay the least per capita towards education and have one of the best in the country.  Obviously we are not doing something right here.  We pay for our educators to go to seminars to learn but we never move up the ladder.  We keep increasing our residents taxes and throwing money at education and it is not working.  That is why going to other states that are doing well in education makes total sense.  We cannot see the forest for the trees.
  • WM, Denmark
    After watching the school swap segmant,I am outrage that our country's education system is lagging behind other nations.In fact the US is reportedly at the point of falling out of the top ten nations with the smartest students.Yet the politicians are able to find the billions of dollars for their pet projects,they should be ashame of themselves for how they are treating our children in the educational system.
  • TS, Ridge Spring:
    Craig, I grew up in the Hampton County School District. In Estill as a matter of fact. I know just how these kids feel. The schools there are nothing compared to the schools in other areas of the state. There is no way I would return to that area and allow my children to attend. They are so far behind that the children are right there is nothing there. I Bless those that have reached out to the children in Estill to help them father their education. I wish both of these girls well. Thank you
  • JM, Columbia:
    I wish to thank the families, WIS and you for the enlightening report. I believe that the parents play a major part in this. Parents need to teach their children that one without an education or usable skill is not needed. Don't give the children a choice, but let them know that they have no choice but to get their education. I did this with my daughter and she has hers.
  • RL, Greenville
    Your series restores my faith in local television journalism. My hat is off to you for taking on a serious issue and telling the story in such a compelling way.
  • AP, Columbia:
    I teach in the public school system and have concluded that parenting affects student success most of all. I would love to one day run a program that educates new parents on reading to their children, spending quality time with them, listening to them, disciplining them, and expecting great things from them. I am shocked by the number of parents who tell me that they don't know what to do with their young children; they've done everything that they know to do and feel that they are out of options. If children are sent to school without being taught how to be respectful, responsible, and concerned with education, those children are at a huge disadvantage. There are no consequences for bad behavior or poor grades in my school, so I am not able to deal with children in the way that I feel best benefits them. I am also unable to give students the individual attention that some of them need because I teach fifty children. I feel like my hands are tied and I am unable to help children succeed the way I long to, the way that I always dreamed that I would as a teacher. As I deal with the same children who constantly disrupt the class and are totally uninterested in learning, there are many, many good children who are left to themselves; I feel that this is totally unfair to those children and causes them to suffer academically as well. This will be my last year in the public schools; I am looking for other areas in education where I can use my skills to effectively help people prepare to be successful in their futures.
  • SH, Columbia:
    I found the school swap segment very interesting.  Demographics definately affect the scores of most schools...look at the decline in school scores as the population changes.  I don't know what the answer.  I have watched the efforts of the district, teachers and parents make almost no difference...
  • JG, Bishopville:
    An elucidating program, much better than the ETV program, Corridor of Shame.  If I remember correctly, more state and federal money went to Estill than RNE.  How much local money goes to each school?  Why do some  counties have more than one school district when some of the larger counties have only one or two districts? Is there any correlation between the number of students and the number of districts?
  • DM, Columbia:
    I think the comments by the girl visiting Estill and the video shot of the classroom point out very clearly why there is a disparity of learning between Estill and RNE. Most of the students were either sleeping or carrying on their own conversations while the teacher was trying to conduct class. No matter how much money is spent, how much technology is placed in the school nor how small the classes are, if the teachers don't have control of the class and if the students don't pay attention, they will not learn. Classes can consist of 30 or 35 students and everyone will still learn if the teacher has control and the students pay attention. I also think that too much technology is a bad thing when it comes to learning the basics of math, science, history and english.  We are developing a whole generation of people who will know how to surf the web and use PCs but will not be able to make change, know where Europe is or why a plane can fly.
  • HP, Lexington:
    I hate to admit that I have not been able to watch this on a nightly basis, but I am thankful for the technology that allows me to catch up on this very insightful series. I wanted to comment on the part where Craig says, "I've never been one for making excuses, but children don't just come out of the womb acting a certain way. Behaviors are learned." I'm not a big fan of Hilary Clinton, but she did make one profound statement, "It takes a village to raise a child." As a teacher, I know that I have to make my lessons relevant so that the students are motivated to want to learn. However, if I don't have the support from home, it won't matter. I need parents to make sure that students have a good night's sleep and aren't staying up until midnight. I need parents to expect respect from their children. If the parents don't expect it, then the student certainly won't show manners in the classroom. Parenting comes first and foremost, and I'll take care of the curriculum. I don't need them to teach their children. I just need them to be parents. The other part of the village that needs to provide a supporting role is the administration. If I need help in my classroom, I need to know that they will do what needs to be done to help me acheive the most out of my time with the students. That means if I need help with discipline issues, I need to know that they will support me 100%. That also includes curriculum issues. If I need outside support for teaching a topic, they should be able to point me in the right direction to get that help. I'll never forget a parent conference I had many years ago where the student was not making progress in the classroom or on the PACT test, and so, by law, we met to discuss what changes we could make in this student's education to help him acheive. He was a very bright young man, and could have acheived very easily. But the mother's comment to us was, "Is he being a good boy? That's all I care about." (This was at the 7th grade level.) Yes, I think that his behavior is important, but it's sad to think what doors could have been opened for this student with a little support from home.
  • AD, St. Matthews:
    I have taught at two different schools in Calhoun County, both which were mentioned in an earlier report.  There are dramatic differences in the two schools and the students. Although there are obvious differences in the racial make-up of the two schools, I feel that each school is provided with equal opportunities, it is just what the students and parents choose to make of these opportunities.  In general, responisbility must be placed back on the parents for public education to be successful in South Carolina.
  • LH, Lexington:
    Your school swap segment has been particularly interesting since I teach courses that require the latest technology. When you asked Aimee from RNE to describe the differences between Estill and RNE, she responded, "I haven't been in a class yet where the students sit and pay attention.  They are having their own conversation while the teacher is teaching."  She continued to say she didn't know if they took their education seriously. I teach in a shcool that offers the latest technology. I agree that it is great to have the tools we have to enhance our teaching.  However, no amount of technology addresses the fact that the students she observed did ot understand the importance of receiving an education.  This stems from the home.  Technology does ot motivate students. I do not want to see these students deprived of anything students in other schools have access to, but technology is not going to change this problem.
  • RF, Columbia:
    I taught in the Hampton school district district one. I taught at North District Middle School and Wade Hampton High. My comment is that you did not have to send the Estill student a hundred miles away to experience the contract in education. She could have experience the same differences only 10 miles away in the little town of Hampton.
  • FS, Florence:
    Congratulations to Craig, WIS and particularly to Aimee and Jenae on a fantastic "reality-TV" experience!  This is an award winning piece of journalism.  There are a myriad of problems that face education. Being a teacher myself I see and experience these problems first hand. Reading the journals of both girls was like seeing my own classroom experiences through another pair of eyes.  Student apathy is a HUGE problem in a lot of schools and it seems to be a driving force behind many other problems.  I think it would be interesting to see this same type of story with middle school students or possible a TEACHER SWAP!
  • CS, Columbia:
    Dear Craig I'm a parent to a richland 2 child my daughter is been in school since she was 3 years old she is 6 now but shes been to 4 different school and the out of all 4 the thrid one was the best ever that she went too she went to killian elementary, annabord, lonnie b nelson, and keels and the best one she did good at was lonnie b nelson shes in first grade at keels this year and there not helping her one bit on her phonces i went to the school to talk to her teachers and everyone i could and they said they will  help her its been over 1month and i havent seen no improvement in her phonices so i dont think its the districts i think its the schools it self if they want to work with the kids or not thats why i said lonnie b nelson is the best cause they worked with my daughter and i seen improvement in her each day and now that shes at keels she went down hill since lonnie b nelson so i think ill let her finish keels and im gonna let her finish lonnie be nelson next year i will have to drive her every day but i rather her have a good education than just catching the bus everyday do go to a school thats not willing to help her with her education i just thought i write to you to let ya know i seen alot of what you see in this school swap thing and its a good thing that someone besides me cares about the childrens edcaution not that they are going to school everyday so the parents wont get in trouble for keeping there kids home.... thank you craig for standing up to our kids you are an angel to are kids a voice for the kids thank you
  • AM, Columbia
    It's about time that Columbia realized that we are living a world apart when it comes to educating our youth. I am a graduate from Benedict College with a Degree in Criminal Justice my G.P.A. at graduation was a 3.0 and it has been so hard for me to find employment, but it is a proven fact that if I had graduated from USC or any other mostly white school I would have a job now. As a youth I attended Eau Claire High school, where I was an honor student, but because my school was mostly know for athletics than academics many college turned their backs on me and others despite our good grades, reality is when it comes to academics, black students and school fall by the waste side leaving students with little or no hope of ever seeing a better tomorrow. Somwtimes i feel if my school would have had more technology, books and teachers then maybe our national test scores would not have been so low, but as i get older i still see urban schools struggling to graduate half of it's senior class. So this school swap was a good idea but it comes about 20 years too late the harm has already been done. Craig Melvin knows this subject hits home he attended Columbia High School.
  • LC, Camden
    I wanted you to know that I think this series was perhaps one of the most insightful I have ever seen. Thanks for giving those "outside of the system" a chance to see obstacles facing teachers and students in SC schools. Please don't stop with this one study!!
  • LB, Estill
    I am a teacher at Estill High School. I hope the viewers realize that disruptive behavior does not occur in all classrooms. We have many excellent teachers at the school. We have problems just like other schools. All of our students are not disrespectful. Aimee did not get an opportunity to visit all the classes. There is not a class at the school for pregnant moms. We teach careers oriented classes.
  • SD, Estill
    First of all I am a student at Estill High school. The things that the news reporter said aboout my town and my school is disturbing. They make Estill High School look worse then all the other schools in the nation, when we are just as good as any other school. We maybe a 98% African American School, but it's not the enviornment that make sour school what it is . We get the same amount of education that every other school gets. When I saw what was written in the newpaper I was very upset and disgusted. I befriended her and she turned around and did this to my school.Aimee said that our students don't want to learn. That just isn't the case. We care about our education. It's just that we are in a small town,and there really isn't anything to motivate us. I don't care what school you go to you will always find some student misbeahving. Ther is no way on earth that a school is just so well behaved, and they never act up. Can you believe aimee's judgment. I can't she told me and some of my friends that she was having fun here. But when she was interviewed by the news reporter she said that she was ready to go home by the 2nd night. She sat in my face and lied. I am also a member of the cheerleadr squad. We openly invited here into our practice and she called us a step team on television. We don't have the funds to go to camp to learn all of the things that cheerleadres in big cities learn. We do the best that we can do with the funds that we have. We have to go out in the community to get funds for the uniforms and everything else that we need. She made a comment about the child care class teaching us to be mothers. That is not true. Ms. Brown teaches us not to make that mistake of becoming pregant. Our school stress the importance of an education to us. Our school is helpful in every way that they can be. In other schools in the bigger towns they have big problems with gang violence. estill deals with the gang violence every now and then too, but it isn't as big as it is in other schools. We let this hypacrit and the WIS newstation into our school. We welcomed them and they dogged our school out like it was a piece of trash. Aimee seems to be the only one getting an publicity . What about Jane she exchanged schools to, and they didn't want to hear anything that she said. They didn't ask Janae anything about the school in Columbia that would make the school look bad. Aimee was asked everything that would make our school look bad, and it's just not fair. Estill High School has plenty of things to be proud of. I have a friend that graduated form Estill High School 6 years ago, and in 1 year she will be finished with medical school and will become a dentist.Estill is a good school. Stop trying to put us down.
  • TC, Columbia
    Congratulations to the WIS team for bring the inequities in our state school system before the public. Hopefully, our legislature will act to correct the situation. I recently spent some time in another school along the corridor and I left feeling very shocked and frustrated.
  • CS, Orangeburg
    This story shows how divided we still are today in 2005. It is unfair that students aren't given the same opportunities, but are expected to take a National test and achieve a high score to attend college. I feel that if we expected our student to take one National test then all schools should be required provide the same opportunities to all students no matter where they live. It is unfortunate that we live in a time where the education system is camouflage to ehance one race and demolish another. Craig, thank you for opening the eyes of people that think...today we are all qual. WIS thank you for all you do for communities all over. --Mother in Orangeburg
  • JW, Estill
    HI,my name is Nicole and I am from Estill I attend Estill High School. Aimee was right about the less chance we have at a better life at hand. We are not exposed to alot of things that we have around here.We desever a better life than what we have in this small town we call ESTILL. Teachers here are supportive and well intersted in our learning and education. We the students attend to take the teachers here for granted and not TRYING TO LEARN WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO TEACH, like we are supposed to. Well it Took AIMEE to come and get the truth and make everyone see at life here is to small. So thanks to Aimee I have a better look on life and in the furture at hand on my goals and study wise. THANKS ALOT AIMEE you bought the best at of me!!!!
  • SH, Columbia
    Now that the school swap is completed, what will be the outcome? I am aware that there are several school districts within the state of South Carolina that sued the state because of unfair funding. Was this story suppose to help that situation or just shine a light on what's going on in other schools? It's easy for people to sit back, watch something like this and judge. Based on what has been shown in this school swap series, many people are now judging an entire town. Yes, there were problems in the school, but show me a school that does not have any problems. What do we do now? Yes, I said WE. As far as I'm concerned, every child in this state should be of OUR concern. These children are OUR children because they will affect OUR future. Many people saw that Estill High was at a disadvantage in regards to technology but my question would be, is that the fault of the school or the state of South Carolina? Shame on the state that we should even have schools that lag so far behind other schools when it comes to school funding. How does one expect children to run the same race when they do not all start off on equal footing? Because RNE is much bigger than Estill High, you would expect it to have a greater number of problems. I guess the reality of the problems would depend on who you're asking. I wonder if you take a camera into RNE on any given day without anyone knowing in advance, what you would actually see? Do students put there heads on the desk at RNE? Are there any disrespectful students at RNE? I'm quite certain the answer to that is yes. I challenge people to find good things about Estill High and report those things. I think the students at Estill High have probably heard enough negative things and need to hear more of the positive.Just remember, there is life and death in the tongue. I am just curious as to where we go from here? What's going to change. Do we watch this story and shake our heads or do we take action and make a positive difference? While I'm waiting to see where this story takes us, I'll be making a difference. I am an educator in the public school system and I care about CHILDREN. If I see struggling, I try to do what I can to make the situation better; whether it be encouraging a child with kind words and ensuring him or her that he or she CAN and WILL succeed, or just being that listening ear for a child who so often has noone to listen without passing judgement. My challenge is for all of us to make a difference; whether it be in Estill or our very own communities. The challange has been issued. Will you accept?
  • RH, Columbia:
    GREAT JOB! Aimee's observation concerning the students lack of interest in obtaining an adequate education appears to be correct. BUT WHY???????????? They have the brain power!
  • MB, Estill:
    As a senior at Estill High School, there are too many negative issues to address when it comes to the educational problems within my school district. I can honestly say that I see the potential for the students because they are very smart and talented in ways one could not comprehend. Although that may be the case, some students have disciplinary problems that occur from personal situations outside of school and from some of the administrators within school. Some teachers honestly take their job seriously. Others are here for a paycheck (you know who you are). No matter what anyone says, it is ultimately up to every child, to a reasonable extent, whether they are going to learn what is being taught or if they are going to be the "child left behind". My mother works too hard, I am way too smart, and have too much potential to let great opportunities pass me by. Despite the bad reputation Estill High School has, it takes a village and a great government to raise a well-educated child.
  • PL, Estill:
    I am a 1986 graduate of Estill High School, United States Marine, and presently a teacher at Estill High School.  Yes, we do have our share of problems, but so does every school.  My first comment is a one of reality, if you take one of the richest schools in the state and put it up against one of the poorest schools, what did you really expect to see?  I think that to expect to see things in a similar light shows a lack of realism on the part of the viewer.  I am a teacher here and I do not tolerate disrespect.  What keeps me in Estill is the fact that there are students who want to learn, there are students who want to have it better, and despite what anyone says they will achieve.  Understand this, if all you have ever seen is the ground, that's all you know.  We live in a toen where the racial division is very visible.  The students live a life where many of them feel that they are born fighting, struggling, and ultimately they give up!  Sure, anybody can make it, if they have hope, but how do you show hope to children who feel there is no hope?  If you want the best, give the best.  i am not one for making excuses, but I graduated from Estill, went in the military, and graduated as the Secondary Education Student of the Year from USC Aiken, does that mean that I should now be ashamed of where I am, or where I came from? Absolutely not, but the one thing I do know is that I made it and I am determined to help the students of Estill make it.  Ask the students about the publicity they recieve.  In this county, state, it is always NEGATIVE. Out of all the positive achievements our children have made, we hardly ever get them published.  Yes, we call the radio stations, send articles to the newspaper, but the county paper seems to always leave our positive achievements out.  However, if we have a fight in school, or something else that would show us in a negative light we make the front of the people.  It's like abusing a child, keep on - eventually the label will stick.  Has anyone noticed that we have had graduates from Estill High school to go on and excel at some of the top colleges in the state.  My cousin graduated from Estill, went to Clemson University, and her entire college career recieved a A's and one B+, but people forget those achievements.  By the way, she is a prosperous OBGYN!  Look, take it for what it is worth, we may be down, but we are not out!  There are students here who want to learn and there are teachers who can and will help them to achieve success.  Remember:  Coming to visit will never be the same as staying!
  • JA, Columbia:
    To Craig Melvin: Excellent Report!  Excellent Report!  And you took your time telling it. It wasn't a two minute segment with not substance but a report where you could really get the gist of what is really going in a school in an affluent neighborhood versus a poor black neighborhood!  Everyone saw, if they didn't know it already, what a difference a "color" makes! Again, excellent report and I look forward to joining the live chat tonight at 7:30pm.
  • LN, Florence:
    I am a graduate of Estill High School and right now I am a senior in college. From my experience it is true that students at Estill do not receive a quality education. When I first came to college I was lost and teachers would always say the stuff they were talking about was things I should have learned in high school. I have had to work extra hard to catch up, because the education I received at Estill had me so far behind.  To me Estill focuses more on sports than they do on education and that is what affects us the most. Estill does not prepare you for the real world. There are few teachers there that really care about the outcome of the students and there are very few that are actually certified to teach. I personally would not recommend anyone to send there child there, but some people do not have any other choice.  They do not look outside of Estill, because that is all they know.  I could give you so many reasons why the education is poor, but it would take up too much time.
  • MB, Gaston:
    As a parent of two children who attend Airport High school I find it shocking to see the have and have nots of each school district. How can these children learn when they are being taught in an out of date enviorment. My heart goes and to the kids. Its not fair that those children are receiving a sub-standard education. How and when will the problem be fixed?  Thanks WIS!!!!!!!!!!
  • NL, Chapin:
    Have you thought of a TEACHER School Swap?
  • ST, Hampton:
    This does show the people in this area (and other areas that don't have advantages) the disparity in education in SC; but, it is the overall atmosphere of "can't do" and "don't try" that defeats any child who tries. (When the teacher is overridden in a classroom by a few, to the disadvantage of those children who want to learn - there is a big underlying aura of "don't bother to learn" in that room.) You must ask yourself what is missing in that room that all the kids aren't listening and doing things that make them want to learn more and more. (It is not all in the teaching subject becasue they were relatively comparable in both schools in the swap - even with more tech equipment, equipment is only a tool at the kid's disposal - there is some spark in the upstate school. I do think that you cannot cut programs that take a child out of his known world and introduces them to the greater world: art, music, theatre, etc) It is the history of free education for all in the USA that needs to be addressed. When education for all was addressed in the 1700s, a literate populace did not mean what we take it to mean in the 21st Century, but our teaching and class breakdown is still predicated on that model. I tried to find the online chat tonight, but can't seem to find how to access it thru this site. If anything comes from tonite's chat on how a community might start to pull things together, please contact me. I am trying to figure out a way for parents to become mainstream in their children's education in Hampton County.  This county has the highest tax rate in all SC and most of this is due to the ongoning hike in school moneies requested by the school board's budget, with no real show in higher grades or more kids graduating for the cost. The problem in education is not nesesarily a problem that can be full solved by throwing money at it.  I would like to start some type of group to find a way to stop this terrible waste of people in our county and across the USA. First, we have to really ferret out the real issues/ problems and not keep hammering the end result of the problems (results which are: undereducated people, low graduation numbers, low GED numbers, these results also have spurs into high unwed pregnancy nubmers, high petty crimes stats, high drug / alcolhol abuse numbers, and high battered/ abused women rates.) I know this sounds like such a ramble, but this is such an important thing, and there is so much to it, so many sides to address, I can't get my "mind" around it all in just this note. Yhank you for your time.
  • CT, Columbia:
    Craig: Thank you for a very thoughtful and inciteful program. The School Swap analogy clearly points out the need for "real educational reform in our state. As I watched the program, I wondered if the parents in Hampton County, had "choice options", would they have excercised them? Did the concept of Educational Choice Options, ever present itself during your discussions? Thank you.
  • SB, Camden:
    Craig, I am a veteran public school teacher of 30+ years. I think your project was a great idea. Thank you for your sensitivity in dealing with issues I have seen for many years. I taught my first year in the low country, so I know how Amy felt. It was indeed culture shock, but the kids were great people, just lacking. Money can't fix most of the problems these schools have. Only people can. And unfortunately most people don't want to sacrifice to do what is needed.  Again, thanks to you for your dedicated work. I just hope some of the things the viewers see won't cause them to use this as an opportunity to bash public schools even more than they do now. Wow. Some days it's hard to get out of bed and go to work the criticism is so rampant.
  • RL, Columbia:
    The school swap story has been fascinating to watch.  As a teacher of 24 years in both rural and urban environments, I can certainly confirm much of what both young ladies have experienced.  But the necessary brevity of television does not tell the whole story, and can actually mislead your viewers about the quality of both school districts in question:  Estill is not as bad as it is portrayed, nor is the Columbia school anywhere near perfect (even though it is a very good school with a fine staff, etc.).  The reality is that in both Richland Two and Hampton One there is a critical mass of students strongly influenced by an anti-academic street culture.  When you add that to poverty and rampant parental neglect (due to holding down two or more jobs, or whatever), a large number of students are simply not ready to take advantage of everything that school offers.  They come to class to meet with their friends and defy their teachers. I teach at a large Columbia high school and have a large number of fine students; I also have kids who require constant discipline and who are strongly against being made to do any work whatsoever. The young lady from RNE was probably taking classes such as my advanced-placement Spanish, where everyone behaves and does the work in a friendly, non-threatening atmosphere.  In the same school, however, a large number of us (myself included) teach cattle-car classes of 25-30+ filled with all ability levels and a determined minority of disruptive students who make it difficult for the majority to get on with the business of teaching and learning. The reality in public education is not money.  I think voters in District Five were right to reject the bond referendum.  The reality is discipline and the lack of engagement on the part of so many students no matter what teachers do. A school--or a class within a school--that is "struggling" is probably not suffering from a weak teacher or students dying to learn who just cannot; it is probably suffering from the disrespect that many of its students have for the learning process to begin with.  As the girl from RNE noted, the kids in Estill seem to come to class just to talk with their friends.
    I bet that many kids at her high school in Columbia also do the same;
    she's just not tracked with them. Thanks.
  • AC, Columbia:
    I am not only glad that WIS chose to run this story, but also that the truth of the matter was portrayed. It is obvious to me, after viewing the girls' diaries online, that there were no editing tricks that distorted what the girls had to say. Good job, WIS. Most importantly, though, is the truth that the girls asserted in these pieces. It is clear that flat screen televisions and computers would be of no service to the students in Estill or other poorly performing schools; they would sleep and talk through lessons regardless of the tools used to
    present them. If policiticians and citizens are so eager to throw money at this problem - let them aim those funds at the teachers who deserve them.  If South Carolina were able to afford the qualified teachers that we need, education would see a dramatic boost. Finally, I would like to know why the teachers in Estill were not in control of their classrooms. I certainly hope they and their principal do not exempt themselves from that responsibility.
  • AG, Estill:
    I am currently working with parents at the middle school level, emphasizing education starts within the home.  If we, as parents, do not value education then more than likely our children will not either. I am interested in getting a copy of the video to use in my workshops with parents.  Please tell me how I can obtain a copy.
  • LC, Irmo:
    Great story,  I am an educator in District 5 and we have students that act that way also.  Talking during class instruction, sleeping, and disrespect for any authority.  But,  we don't tolerate the behavior.   If you can't behave then you are disciplined accordingly. Some parnets are not doing their job, parenting.
  • EM, Chapin:
    I'm so glad you're doing a story like this. I grew up in Irmo, and feel like I received a good education in Lex./Rich. dist. 5. I went on to college, graduated and have a job that I love! I'm sure most people already knew, intuitively, that the more rural schools weren't "up to par" with the relatively "metropolitan" ones. I think this story will open a lot of people's eyes as to just how true that is.
    Thanks! P.S. Both girls seem very bright and motivated. I wish them great fortune and happiness in their futures!
  • MM, Barnwell:
    Craig, you havew done an excellant job with this story.  I have been a public school educator for 31 years.  I have taught across the state, in cities and in the rural low country. Public schools are a reflection of the community they serve. If the community they serve does not beleive in the importance of education the children won't either. In defense of the teacher who put the student in the hall, many times my teachers have to remove students because they are so disruptive, that they take away the opportunity of learning from others.  No one has the right to take another student's eduction. While I know that more money will not solve all the problems of public education, fair funding for all schools is necessary.For example, we don't have the technology in our small district that other more affluent districts have.  This puts our students at a disadvantage.  Now that I have vented, again let me say what a good job you have done!  Bravo
  • CH, Columbia:
    Kudos to WIS for this important and very informative series. Please, please follow up on the story over time. Consider consolidating it
    into a half hour program. I am very impressed by the insights of both Aimee and Janae and by some of the other students interviewed. The realization of the limitations and the desire to experience diversity bodes very well for the youth of Estill. You have to know the problems and possible solutions before you can act to overcome them. I was also impressed by some of the comments posted by young people, particularly one from Orangeburg. The student expressed a need for focused attention on some problems such as gangs and AIDS.  I'd like to offer a suggestion out of my own experience. My high school days were in another state and during the Vietnam War. My school was not focusing on the war at all. This was a time when male students would likely be drafted soon after graduation. The war impacted our lives. On my own initiative, I wrote out a proposal for bringing speakers into
    the high school. I had no idea how such a thing should be done. I just wrote my idea on paper. I suggested topics and names and how scheduling might work. I took that proposal to the school administration and then to the school board. Lobbying for the idea was a difficult job. Finally we got permission, and a small group of students organized what turned out to be a six-week series of seminars on the war. We, the students, did the entire thing.  The organizing skills and community skills I learned from that experience are something that I draw on to this day. To the students who see such needs around them I say: Try to do something about it yourself. You can do it! And even if you fail to reach your complete goal, you will have learned very valuable skills in the process. Two quotes come to mind: Mark Twain, "I never let school interfere with my education;" and Emily Dickinson, "There is no frigate like a book." One more thing: If you (the students in Estill or elsewhere) really want to experience folks from diverse backgrounds, invite me or others to come to you. I'm a middle-aged white woman who works full time. But I'd be very willing to travel to you on a weekend to talk about growing up in Washington, DC or living in Kansas or anything else you might want to ask. And I think you could find many who would be interested in having you show us around your town. You could organize your own people to people exchange.
  • TB, Estill:
    Im oringnally from Estill and I think that Aimee was right about students not paying attention in class but her and everyone else needs to know that Estill is a small town and it is a very low posability that everyone won't graduate from high school because they know that there is a chance that we might be stuck here for the rest of our lives just by looking at friends and relatives
  • JE, Columbia:
    Your report has managed to put a face on NCLB, AYP, PACT, HSAP, and EAA. No rivers of text could do that. CM, you are brilliant and your school district is proud of you.
  • RF, Estill:
    I think that the School Swap segments so far has been an eye opener for the State of South Carolina.    I have been teaching in Estill for 11 years.  This is my first year at Estill High School.  I have learned that our students really don't care how much we know...As long as they know we care.  Despite the lack of financial support, many of the teachers are working hard everyday to make sure our students get the best education with what we have to offer.  It is a constant struggle everyday to get the students to take their education serious.  We're not giving up!!!  Hopefully this exposure will bring in private financial supporters from around the state as well as prayers from the Christian community and also fair funding from the state.
  • TS, Gaston:
    my question is this , where is all of the money from our lottery going. It sure is not going for our kids. You have teachers going on-line to try and get help for their classes buses breaking down all the time. Students suffering because they don't have what they need. I though that when we voted for this lottery,  it was supposed to do wonders for our school system? I hope things get better because all children deserve a fighting chance.
  • MC, Columbia:
    Thanks Craig for the segment on the Estill school.  Do you think more money thrown at the school system will correct the situation there?? The real problem is the lack of discipline at the home as well as the school and spending more money on the school system will not solve anything until there is something done about the home situation.  Frankly I'm not sure that there is much the State or Federal government can do to change the parents attitude.  There is certainly no simple solution.  I'm looking forward to the other segments on this subject.  Again thanks!!!
  • VG, Camden:
    I am really enjoying the school swap story. I am in public education as a teacher and I think people should be aware of what is going on in our public school system. Teachers are not allowed to take recess away anymore, so why would a child care if they sleep or not pay attention in class. There are no consequences for children these days. It is very sad to see students with nothing in their school district including self-motivation. I know that there are also students in great districts that are also unmotivated but the fluff in these schools and districts seem to overshadow those students who do not care. Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a losing battle when all I want is to teach and have the students learn and the students don't care.
  • KR, Lexington:
    Craig Melvin deserves a round of applause for his series "School Swap." It was great for someone to finally show the taxpayers what their money can buy them. Taxpayers need to be reminded that the money they spend on education is money well invested. We have to remember that it takes more than teachers and students to build schools. It takes a community. Estill is an area that struggles to value education as a community. People in other districts need to watch what they think and say at tax time. We do not want our communities to all end up not valuing the educational dollar. I also think the two ladies need to be commended for their work on this piece. Not too many teens will sacrifice their social time at home and school to visit another school for 3 days. Good Work, Craig, Aimee, and Janae!
  • BF, Columbia:
    Craig: I like the series a lot. I am especially disturbed to read Aimee's diary reports on the classroom chaos at Estill High School. I am going to look into that. I hope the station will make this series available to interested parties in some fashion. I will help get it a lot of attention statewide.
  • KN, Lexington:
    I know that people think that Estill High school is poor and that they need to got some better technology, but think about this the school get the stuff everyone here how good it is they send their childeren there and now the school has not omly good technology but it has parents thinking it will make ther students work and the students that are there because of that are the students that dont want to lean. now what is the purpose of that?
  • TP, Columbia:
    I think this series is great! It's amazing that you have brought to light in three days, what politicians have ignored for years.  As a product of Richland District Two ( K-12) I am aware of the great foundation I was lucky to have been given.  It's unfortunate that during that time I didn't realize not every student was afforded the same opportunity. As an adult, after viewing your series,  I can now appreciate the fundamentals that were set forth during my education.  I hope the series will get people in action, not just talk.  We have approved bond referendums, increased taxes,allocated lottery money etc. to improve the conditions of learning and improve test scores in SC. The superintendent states " SC schools are improving" I hope now they realize test scores and what is on paper, may not necessary be true. If it were, the vast diversity in the eduction the two girls in the series are receiving wouldn't be so.  Thank you Craig and WIS for putting faces and realism to a major problem that is all too often computed in graphs and charts- it shouldn't be about whats on paper, it's about the people.
  • TS, Gaston:
    I am 17 years old and used to go to a school like Estill. I went to Calhoun County High for half a school year. The school was was so bad that my mother had to pull me out. There is such a big differance in schools not only in districts or areas but from state to state. I used to live and attend school in the state of New York. I miss the learning that I had from New York because I didnt learn anything while attending Calhoun County. Before i moved down here i was getting an average of 85's and 90's in my classes and after being here I earned an average of around 50's or less. Not to mention the diversity was much less down here compared to in New York. So, I know exactly what Aimee and Janae are going through because I have been there myself.
  • DW, Blythewood:
    I am so glad that this problem has been brought forth to through this news broadcast. I am familiar with the school system in Estill and know that the students there are not getting a quality education. I was so sadden to see that they are missing out on so many opportunities that other schools have access to.  The town there is poor and most people who do not know of this situation will be amazed at how far behind these people are.  I hope that this depressing situation grabs the attention of many politicians or other individuals that can provide some type of help and assistance to some very needy children and schools that does not have much power to make a better life for these people.  I am so please that Craig Melvin along with WIS-TV has brought this issue to the attention of many viewers.  Now I just hope that positive actions are taken to fix this problem. Just to see the difference in technology between that school and other schools are awful.
  • TS, Lexington:
    Buddy, I just saw your segment tonight and you nailed it. Keep up the good work !
  • VP, Orangeburg:
    What an excellent approach to illustrate the inequities of public education in SC! All of the bureacratic rhetoric and "ivory tower" research could not accomplish what you have done in 3 days. Thank you for exposing the truth.
  • RS, Columbia:
    I think Craig's story on school swap is wonderful, letting everyone know what's like.  As Janae states everyone she is involved with is Black and makes a difference.  But, one thing that puzzle me is that on NOvember 9, 2005 at 6:00 pm all Craig did was focus on Janae and her story and her parents.  Craig did not ask the parents of Aimee's how they felt about the school.  He focus only on Janae and the town of Estill.  Craig never focus on Richland Northeast High School. Seem as tho they are trying to cover up for this High School and make Estill High a bad one, not true.  Please recheck your segment again.
  • OC, Columbia:
    First I commend You on even bringing up this issue but even though I know you must supress many facts of this story namely there are plenty of children in that area of the state getting good educations the white children of whos parents have good paying jobs and money are you going to tell me that only black children live in that entire county this state is indicitive of this entire country the rich get education that the poor are not privy to though it may be true that black people contribute to our own down fall you know as well as I do that if that area of the stat was populated mostely with white people the income level and the level of education would not be such as it is or should I say that it is not the only thing thats going to fix the problem which will never happen is for black people to stop spending the estimated 3hundred billion or so dollars on white enterprises
  • MU, Orangeburg:
    Hi, I am a ninth grade student at Edisto High School, and I have to say- This School Swap was a very good thing to do. It gives both Janae and Aimee a chance to experience different lives. But, as a student at Edisto, I'd like to say you know, we all (as students) need to be exposed to a lot more than some of us are being able to. I mean, don't get me wrong, my high school is okay, but let's be honest, there are certain things that we don't get there that other schools in our state do. Although money is a problem, it's not all about the money. It's also about us (teachers and students) being afraid to make a change and do something different. Truth be told, when I, along with others, get out of high school, we're going to be exposed to a lot of things that we should be exposed to now- like students of different cultures (instead of the traditional "predominantly black" or "predominantly white" schools). I personally think we should have classes that are focused JUST on different cultures (and I don't mean History). I mean different classes where we learn about the Spanish culture, dances, salsa, merengue...etc. Maybe somewhere in South Carolina, there are classes like that, but unfortunately, there aren't any in Orangeburg. I speak to a lot of students at my school, and some of them feel just as I do. I think that there should not only be a School Swap, but if possible, an all around School Improvement. All South Carolina schools should be the same - on point with the SC Standards, focused, full of different oppurtunities and exposures, organized, and of course a safe learning environment. I also think we should have a "Danger Awarement" class where we actually LEARN about gangs and the dangers of them, AIDS and the dangers of it, and different things because our world gets more dangerous everyday, and in response, we all need to try to do something to fix it. "Danger Awarement" is not only a child's parent's responsibility, but also the school. As a student, I'm speaking my true feelings. Something must be done. The schools are great, but... something still must be done.
  • VF, Columbia:
    Craig I am really enjoyed the series and I am glad to hear you will keep the dialogue going.  I believe there is not one answer for all problems.  People are harping on the money because money is a "easy" fix. It keeps people from looking at some hard issues that could personally offend people.  Those things that people should take personal responsibility for.  I feel the school has certain responsibilities but there control is only within the walls of the schools.  They do not have control over the parents and home life of the student.  For a student to succeed they must have both the involvement of the school, teachers and parents.  Unfortunately you cannot dictate values.  One thing that really touched me was when you talked to the student who was put out into the hall way.  He evidently had no desire to learn.  What would be the answer for him.  I don't believe it would be more money to the school.  Thanks for beginning a dialogue to ask some of the hard questions.  Let's keep up the dialogue.  If you were to have a focus group to discuss some of these issue I would definitely like to be included. Here is a culture story that happened at Northeast.  My oldest daughter (african american) who is now a sophomore at the College of Charleston was in the magnet program TLC at Dent Middle School. When she was to attend Northeast she did not want to enroll in Horizon the high school version of the TLC because none of her friends were in it.  She did however take the college prep track but it was unfortunate that she had a conflict with getting a higher academic exposure and wanting to be with others that were more like her.  Even in our schools with resources it is not cool for african american kids to be smart.  Sad
  • SG, Columbia:
    Craig, As a parent, the spouse of an educator for 15 years, a son of a father who has been in education adminstartion in the public schools for 30 years, and a father of three children in the public school system, this just confirms what I have known for years regaridng the need to be more creative when it comes to education and returning back to the basics.  I agree that while money is important, it is certainly not what's causing young black children to be turned off by a system that is clearly not working for all.  Parents must be given options on how we see best to educate our children and the state must focus on much needed reforms. This is a decision that best serves the public, parents and most of our children.
  • SB, Columbia:
    This was a very interesting story. Being a product of Estill High School, it was a little disheartning to see such a negative story about the school's environment. I am currently a teaher in Richland District Two and I have seen much of the same behavior displayed in Estill's classrooms right here in Richland Two. While it is true that you have students who are not motivated to learn and spend most of the class time with thier heads down, what happened to the students who are learning? I teach at the alternative school and I know that things are not so "perfect" in Columbia. Ninety percent of the students in the alternative school in Richland Two are African American with over sixty percent being male. What's really going on here? Is it really that we have problems within our own district, but we "solve" those problems by expelling them from school? Don't get me wrong, I love teaching in this district, but there is positive and negative wherever you go. I think it is up to the individual to make a difference in his/her life. I also feel that you have to have teachers who care and are truly concerned about the students. I noticed that while many of the students had their heads on the desk, none of the teachers seemed to even notice. This would not be acceptable in District Two. Also, parents must be involved and when you have parents traveling over an hour to get to work; leaving before the sun comes up and coming home when the sun has set, it can be quite difficult to be involved. While that is not an excuse, it is a reality. These parents must keep food on the table and pay all of the necessary bills. What would you do if placed in such a situation? I do agree that technology is an issue, but at the same time, I graduated from Estill High School and I consider myself to be a great teacher. I teach the kids nobody else seems to want and I think I do a great job. My greatest goal is to teach kids that although things may not be fair in our society, you can do any and all things you set your mind to. As the saying goes, "reach for the moon and even if you fall, you ae still among the stars."
  • DM, Columbia:
    Craig, Thank you for covering the School Swap Report.  My parents and grandparents grew up in Estill.  I grew up in nearby Jasper County in a little place called Pineland (the backwoods). I graduated from Jasper County High in 1991, and unfortunately many things remain the same.  Low expectations, poverty, teenage pregnancy, and poor performing schools are just a few of the issues that have plagued my hometown for generations.  Perhaps this coverage will help to foster a change. I've lived in Richland County for over seven years now, and I've taught in the public school system for most of that time.  The opportunities that the children in Richland County have are far beyond what many children in rural Hampton and Jasper Counties can even dare to dream. I am very proud of my parents, grandparents, Hampton and Jasper County. Growing up in the backwoods of Pineland has made me who I am today. Nevertheless, I think education should be fair across the board.  My family and neighbors should not have to suffer any longer. Thank you for the coverage, and thank you for listening.
  • GS:
    Craig, Great story focusing on a really important issue. I'm sure the people of Estill will think it is unfair showing how some of their kids sleep in class or are generally disruptive or just plain disrespectful. I feel this is all of our faults as a society. We have rejected God and his laws...we refuse to discipline our kids for fear of public reprisal....we are too busy working to spend time with our kids....we do not give our kids the love we received when we were young. Technology is ok in the right application in schools, but it is not the cure for the societal flaws I mentioned above. Unless we wholeheartedly turn our hearts away from seeking our own pleasures, our society and nation will not be around in the future. My two cents.....
  • MC, Columbia:
    Thanks Craig for the segment on the Estill school.  Do you think more money thrown at the school system will correct the situation there?? The real problem is the lack of discipline at the home as well as the school and spending more money on the school system will not solve anything until there is something done about the home situation.  Frankly I'm not sure that there is much the State or Federal government can do to change the parents attitude.  There is certainly no simple solution.  I'm looking forward to the other segments on this subject.  Again thanks!!!
  • VG, Camden:
    I am really enjoying the school swap story. I am in public education as a teacher and I think people should be aware of what is going on in our public school system. Teachers are not allowed to take recess away anymore, so why would a child care if they sleep or not pay attention in class. There are no consequences for children these days. It is very sad to see students with nothing in their school district including self-motivation. I know that there are also students in great districts that are also unmotivated but the fluff in these schools and districts seem to overshadow those students who do not care. Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a losing battle when all I want is to teach and have the students learn and the students don't care.
  • CH, Columbia:
    This story is so real to me.  I came from a small school Blackville-Hilda.  When I graduated I was in the top 15% of my class.  But when I got to college at Lander.  I realized that I alot of my fellow, students were way ahead of me in technical aspects.  But hard work and dedication I graduated in 3 1/2 years. Another part you metioned was concerning the lake of care from most of the students in Estill.  Well just like Blackville there is no great industry down there so alot of the kids get caught up in a repeating cycle of illiteracy and bad behavior.  Just like you would see in the poorer neighboorhoods in SC.  Thank you so much for this story it has brought back alot of memories of my life.  Thank you.
  • KH, Sumter:
    My husband and I have watched this news story with great interest. We have only been in South Carolina for 3 months after living overseas for 9 years. Our daughter is in the 10th grade at Crestwood High School. We knew the situation with South Carolina schools was not something we wan, ted our daughter to be in. She has attended Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS)since 1st grade. She has attended gifted classes since elementary school. So of course we were concerned about the quality of education she would receive here. My daughter has had to make several adjustments: being in the States, going to a public school, etc. So far she has adjusted quite well. She is a little confused as to why she is not in honors classes right now though. We were told by the counselor that she has to go back to take "prerequisites" before she can get into the honors track here. I can't help her to understand that because I don't understand it either.  She's already proved that she's honors material not only with her grades but with her standardized test scores and recommendations from her previous counselor. I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe some of the policies in the school system need to change to the student's benefit.
    My husband and I both have degrees in education, so our children know, like Mr. Melvin, that studying and getting their work done and done right is very important. This has been drilled into them so much I'm sure they get tired of hearing it. I believe this can be done whether you make $100,000 a year or $10,000. It is up to the parents to encourage their children to want to learn and do well in school. But the problem is no one encouraged them! I believe some parents need some education and exposure to what can be available to , their children if they take school seriously. There's a whole world of opportunities waiting for them, they just need to believe that they can succeed. I look forward to watching the rest of this story. Mr. Melvin has done a great job so far investigating the various/complex reasons for such disparities in the education that not only South Carolina students receive but students in other states also.
  • GC, Lexington:
    It seems, like $7,566 per student should buy more than it does. How do they spend the money if they don't use it to provide a quality education?  I can go to graduate school for 2 semesters including books for $4,800.00 at Columbia College.  It would seem like high school would be less expensive than graduate school.  I also think that if the students were more respectful to the teachers (calling her a dog??) they would be able to devote more time to learning.  Computers are nice but I finished
    high school and college without using them--Why must it be one way or the other?
  • AJ, Columbia:
    I think this is a wonderful experience for the teens. So often politicians tell one story but children (God Bless them) will tell you just want their experiences are or were.  Their is too much variance between what our children are learning and what they should be learning in the different school, districts.
  • BK, Columbia:
    Craig...what a wonderful idea! I'm a public school graduate myself (Brookland-Cayce HS) and I haven't even thought about having my kids attend , private school. While there are many wonderful opportunities at our private schools in the state, I feel a public education can give my children the same opportunities for their educational achievements. I don't have any kids right now, but I have kept my future family in mind as I've been house hunting in and around the Midlands. I've asked myself
    which schools are best for my future children and I have been looking only at public schools. Yes, there are room for improvements I'm sure for every school district in the Midlands but I've found there are many great districts that will be able to provide the quality education that I want for my children one day. Keep up the good work and I look forward to hearing what these lovely ladies have to say. They're the future of our great state, people!
  • HH, Columbia
    Should be called money swap for SC Schools, over 900 million dollars through SC Education Lottery, where is the money!, Saluda County Schools have allways had the stort end of the stick, All of us in the State of SC will suffer from this of short changing our children of the best of tools in there education,Wake-up, Large Corpoartions conpanies are leaving the US for China everyday, after the two and three year State tax incentives are used up,and guess what, the revenue is spent just as quick, just drive up 95 north in NC, and see the empty warehouse building, Do you really think that there will be enough fast food restaurants for your children to make a living, just ask your waiter, next time, if he or she is , making a living, Better Education, more revenue, better school tools, yes tools, for better life, wake-up SC, Not all of our chilren can flip hamburgers.
  • SS, Columbia
    I wouldn't describe Richland Northeast as a have-it-all school. Many of its students are at or below the proverty level, and for all that it has it could use a l, ot more. From what I've seen as an RNE parent, what makes it such a fine school is its staff: teachers and administrators who are committed and involved.
  • BW, Columbia
    That Craig Melvin must be one pretty smart guy...great investigative report! You make us proud! :-)
  • EK, Wyoming
    Craig, I have just moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, after retiring from 32 years of teaching. The last 28 years were at Richland Northeast HS. where Aimee attends. I am so delighted to keep up with my WIS friends through this link. Your creativity & willing to listen to new ideas is so clear in all you do. The idea of looking through the eyes of the students (point of view) is a fabulous idea. You are a great role model for these students, don't give up. I look forward to the rest of the report.
  • EO
    Thank you so much for the school swap series. I am a product of the Estill School system although I graduated in 1969 when schools were freedom of choice and I graduated from the all black high school. I did attend USC and earned a degree in accounting. Can you imagine the culture shock? Anyway, I've been in human resources for the past 30 years in county and state government. I am very proud to say that I come from Estill and from such educational conditions and was still able to be somewhat successful. It can be done as others from Estill have also done it. The problem of poor education is deeply seeded in bo, th the cultural and socio-economic conditions in Estill and Hampton County and yes, I too, believe that school funding as it is done to day does not give your poor and rural areas an equal playing field. Again, thank your for shining a realistic light on the plight of educating students in Estill. I have nieces and nephews who are in that setting today
  • A-, Lexington
    I'm so glad that this topic is receiving attention in the media. I am a student in the Elementary Education program at USC. The disparity of some of these schools was unknown to me and many others until we discussed the issue in our classes. Many more need to know about the problem so we can re-evaluate the system and try to make some changes. There are schools in the state that are even worse off than Estill High. I hope you will continue to cover this issue and keep up with the Abbeville case and its pending ruling as well. Thanks for shining light on the inequities many children in the state are experiencing.
  • LB, Columbia
    I am so glad that you all are focusing on real issues that should have been addressed years ago. These issues became so much clearer after receiving a job in Richland District One years later. A school district that is considered "technology driven." To be succint, Estill like many other small, poor areas are deprived of opportunites that foster nurturing, exposure and motivation. First of all, many parents are forced to take jobs away from home to make ends meet due to lack of industry and local jobs. This reduces the amount of time that they have to spend with their children. Lack of recruitment of certified and resourceful personnel to submit grants to fund technology and more opportunities for hands on learning are missing as well. Of course, if salaries and community development is not attractive, the most highly qualified personnel will be hard to recruit. Property taxes down there are outrageous, and allocation of those funds are not always easy to track. You're right....Where is the lottery money? Especially, considering that people in Estill dedicate alot of their funds to playing the lottery due to the poverty level. It is so great that you all are trying to go beyond the problem in search of a solution. THe power of the media is so huge. Thanks for using your power in a positive way.
  • JS
    Craig, We have enjoyed watching the school swap story each night. You've done a great job!
  • MB - Ft. McLellan, AL
    I sure hope that someone gives the SUPT of education a copy of the School Swap tape. She has been saying for the last few years that we are making progress in our educatin system. This school swap idea, shows that we haven't made as much progress as she thinks. The only way the progress is made is where the districts have a high tax base. The State needs to look at ways to get money to the poor districts out there and make sure the money is used fot education. This shows how far we are behind in education.
  • JH
    Thanks so much for your School Swap piece. I am a graduate of Richland District Two (K-12th Grade) and currently enrolled as a Senior at the University of South Carolina in Elementary Education. I have recently begun my student teaching, fortunately back in Richland District Two. It's amazing that I never realized schools so close were so different. I never took into account, even as education major, how different the schools in our state our. Even at the elementary level in the district, the use of technology especially is amazing. Students are being introduced to portable computer labs and smart boards at least by 3rd grade! I am looking forward to this continuing piece. Thanks so much for opening the eyes of so many South Carolinians . Rather than hearing the statistics and school report cards, it's about time someone got inside of the school systems to figure out what is going on! Great work!
  • SB, Columbia
    Does money really make a difference in student success? Check this out! Several years ago, an apartment complex was built in the Harbison West Elementary School attendance area , of Lexington/Richland 5. The opening of the complex coincided with the closing of a public housing complex in Columbia. Many of those residents relocated to the newly constructed complex in Irmo. Prior to this influx of students, Harbison West could boast near 90% of the student body scoring over the 50% mark on standardized tests. In the few years since, the number falls to near 50%. The same students who came from the "inner city" school continue to do poorly, though an equal amount of funding is allocated to them. Actually, more funding because more remedial programs have to be provided these students. Did the money matter? Funding and technology is rarely the salvation for poorly performing students. Schools will always reflect our community. There is no remedy.
  • HS, Lexington:
    I think this is a wonderful story that has been done very well. I think that the biggest difference in the cultures is that in poorer or rural areas, these children come from families that simply don't understand the value of education.  How can a parent that didn't graduate from high school explain the value of a solid education to their children when they don't understand?  The culture is different because the parents don't know any different.  Education should be one of the most important things in our children's lives - it opens doors that would otherwise be closed and can make the difference between a comfortable future and a future spent struggling to provide food, clothing, and shelter.  Until the parents of rural and poor families can truly understand the difference, their children will not either.
  • AC, Columbia
    This was a very intersting show. I learned alot that i did not know. One thing that really suprised me wat the chalk boards and the overheads, i did'nt know schools still used chalk boards. This show probaly helped many people see the difference between unequal shcools.
  • ER, Columbia
    I was very impressed with the segments thus far, and looking forward to seeing Aimee and Jenae's next experiences. a previous comment was correct that most of the technology shown at RNE was provided by a federal education Impact Grant. However, I am a student at RNE in a, lot of Aimee's classes, and I realize that even without the money and technology provided by this grant, RNE is able to provide so many more opportunities to students than Estill can, both in terms of actually funding and in terms of learning environment! I am grateful that this segment is highlighting the gap in South Carolina's education.
  • AM, Columbia
    It's very interesting to see how Aimee pointed out that most students at Estill School did not take education seriously and how the teachers did not seem to care about the students not paying attention to them. I have noticed since I've recently moved to South Carolina that the school system in certain areas are very poor and do not have a good academic plan for the children. I'm from Virginia and the schools there are teaching Pre-K students Spanish! I hate to say that I truly believe Aimee is right about the things she's seen because I've seen it too. That is why I might be relocating just to give my kids the best education they can get
  • GW, Camden
    You may want to check your sources. Without a doubt, Richland 2 is a national leader , in technology education. Obviously, the district has a greater tax base than the other school, but I believe much of that technology you showcased at RNE was not funded through taxes, but through a huge grant the district wrote and received. There are other ways to supplement funding of school programs besides the tax base.
  • JM, Sumter
    LOVE this story, whoever's idea this was deserves a pat on the back. I will watch every night. VERY interesting. You might take it further with a school swap using a private vs. public. would love to see Lakewood in Sumter vs. Thomas Sumter Academy or Wilson Hall. I have always thought in terms of parents making the difference but I am starting to see the differe, nce the school's environment, staff's and kid's attitudes make as well. I will keep watching....
    Just to add one thing: I just watched the video diaries in full and it's plain to see which school motivates kids to WANT to go to school. Lastly, good question from another comment: WHERE'S THE LOTTERY MONEY ??
  • HB
    You really do not have to travel far to see major school issues. Only 20 miles away, visit Sandy Run School in Calhoun County. See how a school that was raised by the community and families (K5 to 8th grade)was torn down by county to where it is now (k5 - 5th grade). A promise of a middle school and High School shot down by those that live in St. Matthews. Its a great story if someone would take the time to look at the true picture. More students in Calhoun County are going to private schools, Home schools, or have found ways to attend other schools outside of the county. Look at it, you will find it one of the highest counties in the state where the students do not attend the county school after the 6th grade. And you wonder why, look at the crime rate at John Ford middle and the other schools in St. Matthews and there is more if you spend time looking at the issue. Its so sad to spend so much money on a student and get so poor of an education. My kids are now being Home Schooled because of the situation.
  • DB, Columbia
    I am 16 years old, and I would love to experience a new school that is different from mine, which is Columbia High School. I ask that you would please consider me for school swap, if you continue with the series
  • GW, Irmo
    Why do we have a education lottery it doesn't appear that schools get any money? we need cameras in the schools so the parents could see what goes on, it would surprise you.!! I sub for Distict 5.
  • JE, Columbia
    Last night brought tears to my eyes. The state can begin to see what educators already know, the haves and the have nots... Thank goodness we are in Columbia, where we have a good tax base.
  • MW, Chapin
    I am glad you have done the school swap, I think there will be some good information come out of it, but I also have some doubts. Consider this: Our forefathers were well educated. Have you read anything they have written? They didn't have technology, they had teachers. A good teacher can teach without the technology. Don't get me wrong I am all for the technology, I believe it helps, but I'm afraid it has become a crutch. "We don't have the technology we need money so we can.....", I'm sorry I don't buy it. There are a lot of factors involved with education one is parents. I hope your report speaks honestly about the "real" issues. I don't see it happening, someone might get offended.
  • DB, Irmo
    I came from a northern state not too long ago and I am fascinated by your story because in the urbanized north, we really don't deal with this kind of problem. I go to a school district which generally performs better and I think the reason for this is the rapid development of this area which leads to more tax revenue and more technology and more learning in school. This is a terrible situation for everyone. The revenue brought into rural school districts are dramatically less than "urban areas" of South Carolina. All students are guaranteed an equal education regardless of socioeconomic background; however because some are born into a rural area or a poor area, their lives are essentially ended because their school districts can't keep up with other school districts and we all know that education is the foundation that gives a person the confidence and competence to achieve after graduating. It's terrible.
  • BF, Columbia
    The willingness of these two students to trade places and report their experiences should fuel the growing legislative determination to eliminate funding and achievement gaps in our school districts.All of South Carolina's children deserve an equal chance to get a quality 21st century education.
  • KH, Columbia
    I am very pleased that you are doing this story. I am a product of Hampton County School District I. I attended college at USC and graduated with a BFA in Art Educ. I am now a first year teacher, employed by Richland School District II. Upon entering the schools here in Columbia I was in awe at the many things available to students. I completed my student teaching at Round Top Elem. and Irmo High School, were I saw that the opportunities are much greater than what I recieved. It was then that I became aware that I was not, "not as good" as some of the other students in my art classes at USC, but that I just hadn't had some of the same experiences as they had. I don't recall ever touching clay in my art classes, however, here, kindergarten students are making pinch pots and clay fish. In response to the comments about students at Estill High not paying attention, in comparison with those at RNE, I offer you this: If you have the resources to engage students, they will want to learn. Since technology is the driving force in this age, those obsolete methods of teaching are not what will engage students today and motivate them to learn. Thanks!
  • MS, Columbia
    I think the school swap was a great idea, and a great experience for both girls. I attend northeast, and got the chance to spend a few days with janae. Everyday she had a smile on her face..
  • LP, Columbia
    I am a graduate of the class of 2003 at Estill High School. I am just so happy that someone has finally put the spolight on Estill. For a very long time, the quality of education in Estill has been very poor. When I came to Columbia to attend college, I felt so far behind all of the other students. Estill does not prepare you for the real world. There is nothing to do there, all of the kids do is get into trouble, and some kids go to school only because their parents make them. The money the state gives EHS is not spent on academics, but athletics and discipline. A student from Estill is not prepared for anything outside of Estill. That is why there aren't many graduates who do well in college or even go to college. I was with a student who graduated with me and he could not read. Estill's curriculum is so far behind all of the other schools in the world. The teachers are only there for the paycheck and some of them are not even certified to teach the subject that they are teaching. I can go on and on about the problems in Estill, but you do not have that much space. Thank you for your time.
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