On Feb. 6, the Beaufort County Education Association (BCEA) hosted a town-hall event in Beaufort County, South Carolina, parents, educators and other community members gathered to discuss how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives them a voice to change the direction of public education in their state. Participants heard an overview about ESSA from BCEA member and high school Chemistry teacher, Dawn Peebles. The event showcased how ESSA – if it’s implemented successfully – provides educators the opportunity to advocate for reductions in high-stakes testing, but most importantly how this new law can be used to help close the achievement gap for students in the state.
The South Carolina Education Association, which has hosted five ESSA-related town-halls across the state, is supporting a proposal by the S.C. Education Oversight Committee, an independent, nonpartisan group made up of educators, business people, and elected officials, to reduce testing by alternating when, and what subjects will be tested. The proposal was discussed at the town-hall, and was presented as just one of the many opportunities for educators and parents alike to take a seat at the table and influence multiple policy decisions around ESSA.