Teaching in South Carolina
South Carolina is a beautiful and historic state with the potential of having the best schools in the country. My experience teaching kids in South Carolina is what motivates me personally and professionally every day. That is why I applied to be a Teacher Fellow with StudentsFirst. Throughout the course of my Fellowship over the last eight months, I had hundreds of conversations with teachers and educators in SC interested in pursuing educational change. That is what drove me to ask Michelle Rhee directly, "What would it take to bring StudentsFirst to South Carolina?"
And now here we are. Yesterday, Tim Melton, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for StudentsFirst, me, and teacher leaders in my teacher network, went to the State House in Columbia to talk directly to legislators and stakeholders about our experience as teachers and our recommendations for meaningful policy change that will put kids first and support teachers. My goal was to give teachers a louder voice when it comes to policy issues that affect the quality of our schools, and it's happening.
I am proud to be a Carolina Girl and I am proud to be a warrior for social justice which is why I am excited about StudentsFirst entering my unique and wonderful state.
Throughout my teaching career I worked in Title 1 schools in the greater Charleston area. The disparities I have seen between my students from affluent families and those living in poverty are beyond unsettling. As I studied more about the achievement gap it became obvious to me that our schools are not educating all children equally or appropriately.
Even worse, is that in the communities where the achievement gap is greatest, there are few if any school options for families. I questioned why high performing charter school networks were not entering our state where some of our students are in desperate need of another option. As I began to dig deeper it was clear that the funding structure for authorizers made it difficult for charter schools to operate effectively. It is critical to me that this issue is addressed. As I continue to work alongside StudentsFirst to improve education for all kids – no matter the zip code – I hope to hear you about what you think are the most critical issues.
At the end of the day, I believe that providing every child a quality education is a civil right. I am confident that StudentsFirst and the amazing teachers of South Carolina will be able to join together with a common voice to ensure that every child receives the education they deserve.