As the twig is bent, so the tree shall grow

On The Way
By Olivia Fowler

I heard some good news in the grocery store that gave me hope for the future of Pickens County. There are reading intervention teachers back in Pickens County Schools. We should celebrate.

In the darkest days when the school board was forced to cut the education budget back to the funding levels of 1996, it was a dismal state of affairs.
I saw doom and gloom in our future, because if children don’t learn to read they soon fall by the wayside and their future is predetermined.

They will never be able to excel academically, nor will they be candidates for a living wage.

If they can’t read on grade level in first grade, it’s a sure thing they will not be reading at grade level after that. They won’t do well in other subjects, because the content of textbooks will be a mystery to them.

The odds are not in their favor. Many drop out as soon as it’s legal for them to do so. If they do find employment, it is generally not well-paying.

In the past, the poorly educated could count on the textile industry, construction industry or military service to employ them.

That’s no longer the case.

Reading is a survival skill.

And it’s a vital part of education. This is a program that must begin early in order to help children make their way through the education system.

Not everyone entering school is ready to read. There are children in our school systems who have never even held a book in their hands.

Putting reading intervention teachers back into classrooms offers a lifeline to children who enter the system with the deck stacked against them.
It’s our responsibility as a community to make sure our children have a chance in life. It doesn’t matter if we’re retired or have no children in public schools. Educating children to the best of our ability is everybody’s job.

Pickens County is fortunate to have so many dedicated and caring teachers in its schools. They give of their time and abilities far beyond the call of duty. And they should be appreciated and paid well for their work.

To all the teachers out there who feel overworked and underappreciated, thank you for all you do. You have the power to change for the better the lives of the hundreds of children who will pass through your classrooms.