Presidents like to talk about education reform, as President Obama did in his State of the Union address, but the results don't always show up in the classroom and Horry County educators say often the best reforms are the ones that originate at the local level.
Whether it's no child left behind or President Obama's "Race to the Top" program, the principal at Horry County's fastest growing middle school says most federal reform programs just result in students taking more tests...to the point where the quantity of testing overwhelms the benefits that may come from it. "Maybe what we need to really be looking at is increasing the quality of the assessment and making it more efficient so that we can reduce the time that students are in an assessing situation," said Connie Huddle, the principal at Ocean Bay Middle School.
Huddle says the most effective way to improve education is to make sure there's a quality teacher in every classroom, and teacher preparation is a task that's done better locally rather than at the federal level.
She says the best reform programs are the ones developed by those who have a vested interest in education.. like teachers, parents and students. "Probably the greatest change comes when it is planned out and consulted by those who have direct impact."
At Horry Georgetown Technical College, dental hygiene students are looking forward to a new clinic that's now under construction. HGTC officials say it's the kind of investment Obama talked about when he praised tech schools. Though he offered no specifics, school officials heard his message to mean, more money. "He wants the technical colleges to have funding sources that they've been deplete on because of the budget, so that when the jobs are created we will be able to have the workforce ready and in place," said Marilyn Fore, VP of Academic Affairs.
Dr. Fore says to train the community's workforce, tech schools need to be ahead of the curve. And for that, they need funding. So the fact Obama even mentioned tech schools is significant.