We can take steps to close income gap

info@islandpacket.comSeptember 11, 2013 

There is widespread agreement that the increasing prosperity of our "haves" versus the decreasing well-being of our "have nots" is chiefly a result of differences in education. The "haves" can move to superior school districts, afford private schools, attend our best universities and graduate from schools and even organize local school foundations with charitable deductions to supplement public school funding.

The advent of science, technology, engineering and math proficiency as a requirement for many technical jobs further penalizes the poorer and less concerned school districts that lack the funding required to attract qualified math and science teachers. Locally, reading proficiency is emphasized, but the Technical College of the Lowcountry and University of South Carolina Beaufort also are heavily involved in correcting the mathematics deficiencies of our high school graduates and must reject applicants who aspire to some careers.

In short, money matters, but Washington and most states reject additional taxation for education and reduce higher education funding. Our cities or counties need to research and implement programs that have been successful elsewhere. Our K-12 educational deficiency has been known for more than 30 years. Other districts and small countries have achieved major improvements within a decade. Increasing local taxes and community and business participation is required. New priorities must be established by our school boards and county councils.

Local businesses must be heavily involved, particularly with our high schools and colleges, so that there are more entry-level jobs that pay a livable wage with decent benefits and reasonable job security.

Walt Schymik

Hilton Head Island

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