This post is written by Parrish Rabon, founder of our new affiliate, Sumter Education Task Force (SETF) in Sumter, SC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corporate education reform and its responsible parties (Broad and Gates) were introduced to Sumter, South Carolina, in a fast and furious manner last year. Sumter County’s two former school districts consolidated to form the Sumter School District and our new school board hired Mr. Randolph Bynum, a 2007 Broad Superintendent’s Academy graduate.
He began his tenure as Sumter School District’s superintendent on July 1, 2011. Teacher morale plummeted almost immediately as Mr. Bynum and his two appointees from Atlanta Public School System introduced the “SWEET 16: Systematic Way to Ensure Effective Teachers.” The document was brought to our teachers riddled with grammatical errors.
Teachers in our district were told that via this document, an “instructional audit,” the new district leadership will “teach you up or teach you out.” The leadership has also initiated at top-down, non-collaborative style and fear and intimidation quickly cloaked our education community.
After a year of Mr. Bynum’s leadership our best and brightest teachers are looking for other positions or have already found new teaching positions. Spending at the district level seems extravagant (much of it on “professional development” for the district office personnel) while our teachers had furlough days, did not receive supply money, and our class sizes are increasing.
Had it not been for the co-founders of the national group Parents Across America, the parents of Sumter School District would not have understood the damaging philosophy and agenda brought to our community. Thanks to PAA for your leadership, encouragement and support during these last months as parents, teachers and community leaders in Sumter seek to understand corporate education reform and to gain a voice again in the education of our children.