The Written Vision

An Education Compass:

Providing Direction for Public Education in South Carolina


In a spirit of deep responsibility to the children of South Carolina and a desire to contribute to our state’s well-being and the health of American democracy, we, a group of South Carolina superintendents, gathered in the fall and winter of 2010-2011 to have dialogue about the future of public education in our state. Although in our dialogue we wrestled with challenges and barriers, this document represents what we as educational leaders stand for and the direction we propose education take.
Our ideas as captured here reflect neither a strategic plan nor a detailed action plan. Rather, our ideas form an education compass to guide public education and, subsequently, to impact the lives of thousands of children who call South Carolina home. Ultimately, many more educators should be involved in building the specifics of the journey, the detailed itinerary for public education using the direction we set forth here.

Our Approach

As we set out to draft this document, we first sought common understanding among ourselves about our fundamental beliefs and common commitments as leaders for public education. We celebrated the documented improvements in South Carolina’s educational standing in several areas. We also explored the various ways the current system of public education must continue to change in order to robustly meet the needs of our children and our state’s future. We recognized the historical divisions that have too often impeded the education of our children-race, ethnicity, social-economic circumstances, and geography-and are determined to advocate that such divisions and resulting inequities no longer imperil our children’s future. Our children’s education will empower them to make informed, constructive, and beneficial choices about their own lives. In so doing, our children’s education will determine our state’s prosperity and our nation’s safety and well-being in a global society.
Second, we chose to reach out to professional organizations and business leaders, including the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, to build on their work and thereby strengthen our message. We celebrate the conclusions and strategies of the Chamber of Commerce and of New Carolina. We applaud the Riley Institute’s vital research and writing about education and promising practices. We appreciate the moral support of several business partners who, much to their credit, never attempted to shape or influence our thinking for their particular
ends. We are grateful for the ongoing support of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.
Additionally, we write this document, a simple statement of commitment to our children and their future, in the hope that it will serve as the basis for statewide conversations in the weeks and months to come. We are united in our beliefs about what we, the people of South Carolina, might do together on behalf of our children. As superintendents, we accept our responsibility for leading public education into a hope-filled future. Our state and our nation will only realize the promise of a productive future when strong and vital partnerships are welded through dialogue and discussion.

We hold these values dear:

Some pictures of our future:

Snapshots of Meaningful Learning Experiences

Snapshots of Technology for a Global Society

Snapshots of Families and Schools Working Together

Snapshots of Community Alliances

Snapshots of Public Education’s Accomplishments