This can't bode well for education in our state

If you thought this would be a post about another rock-bottom nationwide statistic for SC schools, don’t worry. We see that enough already.

What I’m about to share though will probably make you scratch your head and say “No wonder those numbers aren’t improving as quickly as we’d like.”

If you didn’t know Wednesday is “SC Legislators-Back-to-School Program” (at least for Columbia), don’t worry. Apparently no one else does either.

Apparently folks are asked to encourage their school administrators to invite local legislators to participate and visit our schools any day between September 17 – October 19.

That’s great! But we’re off to a rough (apathetic?) start in the Midlands.

A few weeks ago I received a letter from the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) asking me to participate in the Columbia area event tomorrow. We would leave the State House around 9:30 a.m. and visit Forest Lake Elementary, Logan Elementary (lunch there) and then Irmo Elementary (in my school district – Lexington/Richland School District Five). Our trip would end at 3:00 p.m.

Sounds great! I can visit schools in other districts, visit another in mine, and hopefully gain some insight by asking questions and listening to those in the classroom – where teaching and learning is the goal.

I couldn’t believe it though when today I received a voice mail saying “…tomorrow’s been cancelled due to lack of support.”

What? Lack of support? Isn’t education one of THE biggest challenges in our state?

How can we improve our public schools if Legislators can’t take one day to visit and ask the tough questions? Now, to be fair, Legislators are invited to some sort of event almost every day of the year for some group, organization, or issue (and sometimes multiple events on the same day). Maybe, just maybe, everyone had another function they committed to that conflicted with this important event.

And, yes, Legislators do have paying jobs (mine is at Wachovia Mortgage) and after spending months away from that job, we do need to pay the bills and devote our attention to our families when we’re not in session.

And, yes, I’m sure many of my colleagues throughout the state are regularly visiting their schools (I know most of our local legislators do).

But, c’mon. This is EDUCATION folks. If there’s one event we should attend and one issue that is vital to improving our state’s quality of life and future, this has got to be THE one, right?

Oh well. When I came home tonight, I received an open invitation in the mail today from Round Top Elementary (not in my district). Maybe others will follow.

This makes me ask the question though: Is it the legislators who don’t have the time or desire to participate and learn more about our schools or is the schools who do not want the legislators to participate and learn more?