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“We have to stop nibbling around the edges of education in SC,” says Senate leader in ElevatED4SC video podcast

Transforming education in South Carolina won’t happen until the state stops nibbling around the edges of reform. That’s the topic of conversation in the most recent episode  of the ElevatED4SC video podcast, now available at

In this episode’s first segment, Senator Greg Hembree (R-Horry, Dillon) discusses his vantage point as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “Everybody’s committed to better education - that’s not the hard part,” says Hembree. “But what we typically do is fiddle around with little policy changes here and there that are well meaning and good policy, but they don’t really move the needle very much.” (Watch or listen at YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.)

Hembree tells ElevatED4SC host Roshanda Pratt and regular contributor Barnett Berry, research professor at the UofSC College of Education, “We're spending more money now in education than we ever have,” Hembree says, “We do one thing really well in education and that’s spend a lot of money. We keep pouring money into the system and hoping that the results will improve, but they have not.” The system of schooling needs to change — and so does the teaching profession.

One of the solutions that Hembree suggests is increasing collection of good data about the teaching profession to develop better evidence-based solutions. Better use of data for both policy and implementation is key to developing a whole child system of education, according to a new report [pdf] that Berry led through the UofSC College of Education. The whole child approach to education aims to meet a student’s needs beyond just academics in the classroom. 

Creating innovative solutions for transformation in the classroom is part of the conversation in the second segment of the vodcast featuring Allen Kirby, principal at Walker Gamble Elementary School in rural Clarendon County. He says the mentoring and support he received from fellow principals in his early work in this position set him up for success and showed him the importance of a culture of collective leadership in the school building.

“We try to knock down the walls and share across grade levels,” Kirby says. “We rely on our own teacher expertise within that building to spread all strategies.  Collective leadership is just a way of life. It's how we work. Every decision I make should come from a teacher's perspective based on their students.”

Watch or listen at to Segment 2 at YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. to hear more about Kirby’s approach to collective leadership in his rural school and how he carries out his vision. “Just because we are in a rural community doesn’t mean we can’t compete with anybody in the state,” Kirby says. “I don’t want that to be an excuse for our students. We want to bring them any resources and anything we have so they can succeed in life.”

ALL4SC is the producing partner for the ElevatED4SC vodcast series. ALL4SC - Accelerating Learning & Leadership in South Carolina - is a University of South Carolina initiative advocating a whole child approach to education. Other partners in producing the vodcast series include UofSC’s College of Education and UofSC’s College of Information and Communications. 

ElevatED4SC features success stories illustrating how education transformation is already happening in some South Carolina schools. Two 18-minute episodes are released monthly. Previous episodes and show notes are at The series host is Roshanda Pratt, a Midlands-area veteran broadcast professional. Watch or listen to this episode on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

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