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Our Agenda

Advocating for Change

Our primary activity is mobilizing members to engage with policymakers.  When elected officials hear from thousands of members at once, the message gets through loud and clear.   

Creating a Supportive Political Climate for Education

Neither our problems nor their solutions belong to one political party.  They belong to all of us.

We'll work on behalf of candidates from either party if they can demonstrate support for public education.  We'll let members know who we think deserves their vote.  Coordinating campaign volunteers in highly visible efforts will showcase our role in determining electoral outcomes. 

Our concerns will start to receive the attention they deserve.  Scroll down to see what we're working on now...

  • Recruiting and Retaining Highly Qualified Teachers

An effective teacher is the most important controllable factor in a child’s academic success.  Raising salaries and improving working conditions will ensure that our most talented college graduates end up in front of our classrooms.

  • Reforming, Stabilizing, and Increasing Education Funding

Education funding in SC is distributed according to formulas that are outdated, convoluted, and unfair.

Our tax structure funds schools with sales tax revenues that rise and fall as the economy cycles.  That’s why SC cut more from education than any other state during the recession (24.1%).

Education funding is currently $840 dollars per child below the levels mandated by the state’s minimum funding formula.  That’s 31% less than required by law.  This is an embarrassing reflection of the way education has been prioritized in SC.

  • Reducing Class Sizes

Every child deserves individual attention from a teacher who has time to learn their needs and respond to them.

  • Addressing Child Poverty and Its Academic Impact

Critics of SC public schools ridicule the academic ranking of our students among the 50 states.  Is it funny that we have the 6th highest rate of child poverty in the nation, or that 27% of our children have been without food in the last year?  Children in poverty face obstacles to academic success that the rest of us can't even imagine.  They need our full support to achieve their potential and break the cycle of economic despair.

  • Addressing Teacher Evaluation and Merit Pay Proposals

Merit pay proposals have tremendous momentum at federal, state, and local levels.  EdFirst leaders have met with State Supt. Mick Zais and the team developing these proposals.  We will continue to give input, monitor their work, and evaluate it critically. 

When these proposals come up for approval, we will bring members’ voices to bear on the process.

  • Increasing the Percentage of Education Funds Spent In the Classroom

The further a dollar gets from the classroom, the less good it does the children in it. 

  • Vouchers

SC must take care of the schools we have before supporting others that have no accountability to taxpayers.  We will oppose any voucher or tuition tax-credit scheme until the state is consistently fulfilling its obligations under the minimum school funding formula.

  • Political Reform

We must eliminate straight-ticket voting, so that voters are encouraged to evaluate each candidate individually.

  • Replacing the Oldest School Bus Fleet in the US

True story: when Kentucky replaces school buses, they sell the old ones to South Carolina.

Our students spend hours waiting for buses that don’t come, or sitting on buses that have broken down, missing instructional, family, and recreational time.