Educators learn a lesson
By Chaquita Williams
Educators learn many lessons from students while immersed in classroom activities. This year, however, educators are learning a lesson from the presidential candidates: U.S. citizens and presidential candidates need to give education in America greater attention.
Shan Goings is a guidance counselor at Britton’s Neck Elementary School in Britton’s Neck, S.C. She is concerned. “Many of our students, in my opinion, don’t see the importance of a quality education. In order for education to prosper, the candidates need to have a very well thought out plan of action.”
“It is our moral duties as taxpayers to make sure our young generation can get an education,” said S.C. native Saundra Love, program manager and instructor for the Department of Defense in Gaithersburg, Md. “They are our future doctors, lawyers, judges, senators, teachers, counselors, pastors and military personnel.”
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, and U.S. Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, do talk about changes in public education on the campaign trail.
“We’ve got to improve K through 12,” said Obama in a 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nev. “That means not just talking about how great teachers are but rewarding them for their greatness by giving them higher salaries and giving them support and professional development and making sure that No Child Left Behind is not a tool to punish people, and we’re not just basing how we fund our schools on a standardized test.”
The No Child Left Behind Act is a federal program designed to provide a quality education to students through funding, using research methods and fostering parental involvement, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
“I support the No Child Left Behind Act and its emphasis on the achievement gap, but schools with more challenges need more resources,” said Tammy Martin, principal at Britton’s Neck Elementary School. A 2007 school report card from the S.C. Department of Education showed an overall rating of unsatisfactory and an improvement rating of below average for Britton’s Neck Elementary School.
McCain seems to have similar concerns. In his 2008 speech at the Republican National Convention, McCain said, “Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice.”
“Education is not totally fair for all children; therefore, it is very important for our present and future generations to obtain all they can to meet the challenges they will face today and tomorrow,” said the Rev. Richard Crummy, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. church in Conway, S.C., and a social worker for the Department of Social Services in Hartsville, S.C.
“If our workforce is not educated, we will fail,” said Martin.
Williams is a student at Columbia College, majoring in English with an emphasis in business and professional writing.