My name is Johnnelle Raines, I reside in Pickens SC. I am submitting my testimony to you on House Bill 3759. I am a former first grade teacher with 29 years experience and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. I remain very active in discovering solutions to a failed public education system since retirement in 2003.
I have read the entire House Bill 3759 and will address my concerns to you about this woefully lacking legislation which does nothing to address the core problems with public education in SC which have been going on for decades.
First and foremost, this legislation does absolutely nothing to address the failed standards in place called SC College/Career Ready Standards. These standards are on the average 90% in line with failed Common Core Standards. Several studies have taken place on the failing results of Common Core and even the promoter of these standards and financier Bill Gates has acknowledged recently they are a failure. President Trump campaigned on the promise of ending Common Core. Standards drive testing and testing drives curriculum. Logic tells us if the standards are faulty in education the results will be faulty as well. Paying teachers more to teach faulty standards won't solve anything. Standards need to be addressed or everything you are doing will be ineffective and SC children will continue to place at the bottom of the rankings. Parents need to be able to choose a school which offers a curriculum that suits their child's needs, values, and beliefs...cookie cutter curriculum where every public school is following the same failed standards is NO CHOICE at all. Parents shouldn't be limited in merely choosing which building their child is attending but they should be able to have a curriculum choice of classical, technology free, religious-based, and non Common Core aligned curriculum. The recent survey for input you recently asked for was a slap in the face to the major stakeholder of PARENTS...you only asked for input from teachers, students, and people who work in the education system Shame on you! Parents are a major stakeholder and their child's first teacher and you should be listening to them as well.
Second, this legislation does not address getting off the 9% Federal funds that come with failed mandates through ESSA. The tenth amendment is clear that Education is reserved to the States or to the people. The threat of losing 9% funding should not keep SC from choosing a better path for public education.
Third, this legislation does not address the fact that today's public schools agenda has shown it is more interested in producing worker bees who are cogs in wheel. There is an over emphasis on career readiness and producing students who are aligned with the United Nations' goals of a diversity, one world government, no borders, socialism, and a “global economy.” Self-determination and individualism has been abandoned in favor of testing of children to place them where the results of their tests dictate what their future job should be in the globalist agenda. Individualism has been replaced with group think. Is the intent of education merely producing worker bees for the State? Education should be the foundation of freedom for a child to determine their own chosen path for their future. Over focus on turning education into merely the means to job is quite frankly following the Communist China model.
Fourth, this legislation does not address the governance problem that exists in SC. Just recently voters clearly said they did NOT want the Superintendent of Education to be an appointed position. The proposal of creating another unelected bureaucracy committee chaired by the Lt. Governor and an unelected Czar is taking more accountability away from the parents and creating MORE unaccountable government. Why should we be forming another committee who recommends policies when that is what the State Board of Education's job is. Why should we be appointing a Czar of Education when we have an elected State Superintendent of Education? What we should be doing is eliminating the failed Education Oversight Committee whose recommendations continue to fail children. We should also move on making our SC State Board of Education elected positions based on judicial districts in order to give parents more direct control over accountability.
Fifth, this legislation does not address the data mining that is going on by third parties unbeknownst to parents. When Obama loosened the FERPA laws, we now have unsecured underage children's data posing a threat to children's right to privacy. The recently released “State Student Privacy Report Card” which graded the states on protecting student data gave SC a failing grade of “F”. That report was created by the Network for Public Education and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. The failing grade SC received is totally unacceptable when the main purpose of government is to protect their citizens. This should be addressed in this legislation.
Finally, SC has tried all kinds of “fixes” and spent untold amounts of money on trying to improve SC children's rankings to no avail. The latest fad is Competency Based Education which is nothing more than the failed outcome based education of the 1990's. Are you going to spend more money on failed unproven education short term fixes when the root problem is a failed governance system of not allowing a return to local control by empowering parents the ability to choose the curriculum they want for their child? If you don't address this root problem you will continue to see SC children rankings at the bottom and even more parents pulling their children out of the public school system. Please fix the root cause and not just throw taxpayer money at it and increase bureaucracy.
You can email your concerns to the Senate Education Committee at this link:
OR BETTER YET … ATTEND THE MEETING IN GAFFNEY ON MARCH 18 AT 6PM AT THE GAFFNEY HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM AND SPEAK OUT FOR 3 MINUTES!
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Looking forward to our great discussions Tuesday March 19th at 7pm and eating Pizza at the Pizza Inn in Pickens. See you there!
Johnnelle Raines, Steve Haynie, Kathy Nix
Leadership Team COTU