With the beginning of school for the 2022-2023 school year a myriad of things passes through our minds. These are not the usual things such as staffing, budgets, curricula, bussing, and so on. Our education world has turned to items that we cannot control directly.
Under normal conditions, we might have individual parents who are concerned about bus stops, the teacher their child is having in 3rd grade, the schedule at the high school, the new principal or other single concerns by individual parents.
Today, the concerns of parents have turned into issues that are multiplied by a chorus of parents. Some examples are those in the Richland 1 and Richland 2 parents calling on the Governor to intercede because of alleged malfeasance. Or groups of parents and students in Jasper County schools protesting and demanding the resignation of the superintendent.
Concerns that were once normal for the beginning of the year are now overshadowed by political and ideological battles. What should be taught about American History? Should we remove all of the negative things that constitute our back story, or only teach the good things about our democracy?
Are there certain books that we should not allow our children to read? What about books that feature LGBTQ children? How about Huckleberry Finn? Who will decide what remains on the shelves in the library? Shall we purchase a reading series that might offend some group of people?
Will we ever decide how we are going to approach the rising tide of this new form of Covid-19? How will we inform the community that our children and staff should or should not wear masks? How will we explain that we are going to go virtual, in person, or hybrid education? How will we follow the new guidelines from the DHEC for protections against Covid?
How will we fill the various positions- teachers, bus drivers, support staff and even administrators that we normally have filled by the beginning of school? Will we have to shuffle people around to fill these gaps?
What will the politics be like when we elect a new Superintendent of Education? What will education be like after the November election?
This Message to Garcia will not be transmitted by some magical book-learning procedure. All of the answers will lay with the leadership of each of the South Carolina school districts. It will be their decisions to make. Let them all deal with these problems with Uncommon Sense!!