COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The two words 'minimally adequate, are insulting to some parents; however, that's the standard in public schools for which the Supreme Court holds lawmakers responsible.
"I think parents should, should rise up," Jo Anne Anderson says.
Anderson is backing a bill in the State House, filed by Rep. Jerry Govan (D-Orangeburg). It calls for a referendum, so parents can vote on whether they want the standard changed to "high quality."
Anderson is a former Richland County One school administrator. Her children grew up attending school in that district. She was involved in the Abbeville lawsuit for district equity and also is the founding director of the Education
Oversight Committee at the State House. She believes a change in the wording of the law could hold lawmakers accountable for providing more money to districts.
"You know, it is not unusual for a superintendent to tell me they blow up baby pools on rainy days like today in order to catch the water that comes through a leaky roof. Or, one school district you can walk in the school and look down through the floor in the bathroom to see the plumbing. These are not safe conditions for young people," she says.
Govan feels "minimally adequate" keeps the state's children from competing with others across the nation. "It strikes a tremendous nerve because to me that means that we're just going to absolutely only do what we feel is necessary in terms of improving education in this state," he says.
"It didn't include the arts. It didn't include cooperative working experiences. It didn't include after school and increased learning time for some young people. It truly is just sort of a bare-bones definition," Anderson says.
This bill has been filed in the House of Representatives but hasn't been scheduled for debate yet in committee.
A spokesperson for the office of the State Superintendent reacted to the bill on Wednesday. Ryan Brown says: "It is important to remember that in 2016, the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law Act No. 195, which set the educational achievement goals for South Carolina graduates.
These include world-class, knowledge, skills, and life and career characteristics that are far from "minimally adequate".
The work being done at the state level and within schools and classrooms across our state are modeled after the Profile with the end goal to graduate students prepared for college, careers, and citizenship."