Lowcountry Principal Shines in the National Spotlight

Feb 19, 2021
Principal Henry Darby in the halls of North Charleston High School
Victoria Hansen/ SC Public Radio

It's almost midnight and Henry Darby is stocking shelves at a Walmart in North Charleston.  He zips down the aisles unraveling cans from plastic packaging, eyeing them like a puzzle and then putting them in just the right place.

He lives the advice his family gave him growing up in this community.

"They always taught me whatever your hands find to do, do it."

Darby has found something to do alright.

This episode of the South Carolina Lede for February 2, 2021, features: a look at some of the action that happened last week in the State House of Representatives; an update from State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman on how students are faring during the pandemic; comments from Gov. Henry McMaster on the vaccine rollout in the state; and more.

"O" is for Opportunity Schools. Dr. Wil Lou Gray, the state supervisor in adult education, created a boarding school for young people who could not attend public school or who had not gone further than the fifth grade. The school opened in August 1921 at the Tamassee DAR School in Oconee County to offer educational opportunities for undereducated young white women. For a decade the school operated during August on the campuses of Anderson, Erskine, Clemson, and Lander colleges. By 1931 it was co-educational and in 1936 the Opportunity School for Negroes opened at Vorhees.

"E" is for the Education Accountability Act of 1998. The Education Accountability Act [known as the EAA] placed South Carolina in the mainstream of education accountability reform. It required the establishment of specific standards in math English/language arts, sciences, and social studies. These standards were to provide the basis for student assessment in grades three through eight as well as a high school exit exam. The legislation also called for end-of-course exams in certain high school courses. The purpose of these tests was to hold students and schools accountable for learning.

A video from Pfizer shows employees packing a storage container with the company's COVID-19 vaccine as shipments were sent to hundreds of sites around the country this weekend.

On this episode of the South Carolina Lede for December 15, 2020, we bring you all the action from the South Carolina Electoral College meeting in Columbia on Monday, take a look at the COVID-19 vaccine rollout process as the first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine reach the Palmetto State, speak with a University of South Carolina Law professor on his new book tracing the history of education in the country, and much more.

If there is anything our high school students need right now, it’s assistance that will help them graduate in 2021.  Which seems like a long way away, but after what our 2020 graduates had to go through, time will almost certainly fly for these kids, as well.

Gov. Henry McMaster at his Statehouse announcement on Wednesday, July 25, 2020.  Joined by Sen. Gregg Hembree, R-Little River (center) and House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville (right)
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Education Superintendent Spearman, District Superintendents, and Democrats Criticize as Premature and Unsafe

While there appears to be overwhelming support to re-open South Carolina’s public schools this fall, the question of how to open them safely has become a contentious and highly political issue. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster this week said despite the growing pandemic in the state, schools must open, and that parents must be given the option of sending their children to school five days a week.

Provided by Juwan Williams

Attending a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) is not quite the same as attending college elsewhere. There’s a lot of history and culture that goes with the HBCU experience – and that can be surprisingly intimidating for young African-American intellectuals.

The only thing scarier is the prospect of not being on campus.

And that is what students at Clinton College in Rock Hill are facing, thanks to the coronavirus. Juwan Williams is one of them.

Teachers and their supporters rally outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia on May 1, 2019.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Some 10,000 teachers and supporters from across the state descended on the Statehouse this week sending a powerful message to lawmakers that they want more state support in funding and in education reforms, and they are not happy with the school improvement bill pending in the legislature.

The “Lincoln School” was the first public school for black students in Sumter. The school was built in the late 1800s and started as a frame cottage with four classrooms. By the 1950’s, the school acquired an additional twenty classrooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, a library, and a band room. The last graduating class under the name of Lincoln High School was the class of 1969.  But nine years before the name change, in 1960, Lincoln would be one of 17 high schools in the state to participate in a national survey.

Gavin Jackson speaks with Seanna Adcox (l) and Maayan Schechter in the South Carolina Public Radio studios on Monday, March 4, 2019.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this episode of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by The State's Maayan Schechter and The Post and Courier's Seanna Adcox to discuss the education reform package hitting the floor of the South Carolina House of Represenatives this week for debate. The bill is one of the most sweeping proposals to address Palmetto State education issues in years and could make it to the state Senate by the end of the week, where a similar companion bill continues its way through the committee process.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Museum of Education. Founded in 1977, the Museum of Education was established as a repository for archives, references, and artifacts related to the culture of educational life in South Carolina. It later expanded to house selected archival collections related to education throughout the United States. The museum is funded by the College of Education, at the University of South Carolina and is housed in Wardlaw Hall, on the main campus in Columbia.

Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Work is underway at the Statehouse on next year’s $9 Billion state budget which is expected to pump money into reforming the state’s public education system.

Gov. McMaster sent his budget recommendations to the legislature this week.  He calls for a 5 percent pay raise for teachers at a cost of about $155 Million, $36 Million for colleges aimed at holding down tuition,  and over $48 Million to put more trained police officers and mental health counselors  in schools.

The South Carolina State House

After the first week of this year’s session,  it’s clear that the top priority for the South Carolina General Assembly is improving the state’s public school system, something that education advocates have been seeking for years.

In his Inaugural Address, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) joined legislative leaders in calling for what he termed a “bold" game plan to boost the state’s education system.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Miller, Thomas Ezekiel (1849-1938). Political leader, college president. A native of Beaufort, Miller graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Returning to South Carolina he opened a law practice in 1875. Miller served in the South Carolina House (1874-1880) and Senate (1880-1882). In 1888 he won a contested election to the U.S. House. In 1895 he represented Beaufort in the Constitutional Convention where he eloquently, but unsuccessfully fought the efforts to disenfranchise thousands of African Americans.