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SC lawmakers set to tackle issues with early childhood education

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- South Carolina lawmakers have been working all year to fix the state’s education system.

For many years the state has ranked at the bottom nationally, and several districts in the state are struggling to meet the needs of their students.

Well now the legislature is taking a deeper look into those problems starting with the earlier grades.

On Tuesday morning a group of lawmakers met for the first time to discuss early childhood education.

“Early childhood education is a huge part of what we’re trying to do to improves South Carolina. Not only making sure our kids are ready for kindergarten and first grade, but it also plays a role in reducing prison population and developing our workforce,” explained Senator Scott Talley, the co-chair of the committee.

The goal: address the needs of the state’s youngest learners. The committee will look at ways to make sure younger learners are ready to start school and able to comprehend learning material for their grade level.

Deborah DePaoli, a former early childhood educator, outlined some of the challenges in the classroom when faced with learners of different skill sets and levels.

“Even by the age of 4 I saw children who were far behind their peers as far as social and emotional skills, fine motor skills really across the board. And we would have a year to catch them up and we do would great work but at the same time you would still have those that that year is just not enough time.”

The Early Childhood Education Study Committee will evaluate the state’s current programs, identify shortcomings in those systems, and make recommendations to improve those resources.

Senator Talley continued, “We have a structure in place that may not be the most efficient. We have good work going on in a lot of agencies and we want to make sure their efficient and collaborating.”

As part of the proviso that created this study committee the group is responsible for submitting recommendations to the General Assembly by December 1st, 2019.

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