SUPPORTERS say the reason to get excited about TransformSC is the grassroots support it has generated since it was launched in May as a way to, well, to transform our state, by transforming the way children are taught.
And certainly, grassroots engagement is going to be essential if this is to become anything more than just the latest in a never-ending string of smart education initiatives — nearly all of which have gone nowhere.
But honestly, the reason to get excited, and hopeful, about TransformSC is the list of organizations that have signed on: the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, S.C. Association of School Administrators, S.C. School Boards Association, S.C. Education Oversight Committee, the S.C. Teachers Association and the Palmetto Teachers Association, along with state Education Superintendent Mick Zais and an impressive group of individual businesses. It is, says Mike Brenan, a coalition that “I don’t think has ever been together on anything ever before.”
SC Council on Competitiveness unveiled TransformSC, an initiative to transform public education in South Carolina, at an education summit held on May 1, 2013. A stellar line up of education innovators and innovation supporters energized and motivated a packed conference of over 300 business leaders, school superintendents, school administrators, school board members, and many other parties interested in rethinking public school in South Carolina. Response to the summit was overwhelmingly positive with statements from participants that, “a movement has begun.”
The conference was opened by TransformSC co-chairs Mike Brenan, SC President of BB&T, and Pamela Lackey, SC President of AT&T. State Superintendent Mick Zais then addressed the conference asserting his support for the total transformation of an outdated school system that was designed over 100 years ago for an agrarian society. “Our global knowledge economy demands a new system to produce the graduates needed to succeed in today’s world.”
The history of the project method makes it clear that the progressive education movement at the turn of the century represented only one, and not even the most important, international reform movement in modern times. Unlike Cremin (1961) and Röhrs (1977), for example, we cannot simply regard the 19th century as "prehistory" and the 20th century simply as "post history." We must, with Jurgen Oelkers (1996), see progressive education as part of a continuous, albeit differentiated, development springing from definite social and educational needs and reaching from the 17th century up to the present. Only from this broad perspective can industrial education-like professional and vocational education as a whole-be properly perceived as a fecund source of modern progressive educational practices (e.g., Knoll, 1993b). However, the history of the project method also illustrates how necessary it is to embed current thinking about educational reform within a historical context. Otherwise, as Cuban (1990) and Tyack and Cuban (1995) have correctly observed, reform moves from initiative to initiative without a clear understanding of why they dissipate and vanish [emphasis added]. The results are frequently disappointing and meaningless. In the case of the project approach, a specific and indispensable method of teaching is turned by Kilpatrick and his followers into a general and blurred philosophy of education (Katz & Chard 1989).