Education Funding

Equity Advocates Hit the Highway

By Laura Greifner — August 13, 2007 1 min read

Forget “Smiling faces, beautiful places.” Billboards in South Carolina sported a new—if unofficial—slogan throughout much of the summer: “Welcome to South Carolina, home of ‘minimally adequate education.’ ”

Two billboards, along Interstate 95 and near the intersection of Interstate 26, in the southeastern part of the state, were posted as part of a campaign by Education First, a business-oriented coalition that is pressuring lawmakers on the issue of equity in school spending.


South Carolina is among the states wrestling with the issue. The phrase “minimally adequate education” stems from a 1999 state supreme court decision in the case of Abbeville v. South Carolina, requiring the legislature to provide for such an education—without defining it.

After the case was sent back to the state circuit court in Lee County, a judge ruled in 2005 that the state was, in fact, providing “the opportunity for each child to receive a minimally adequate education,” except for early-childhood education. (“S.C. Judge Tells State to Do More for Young Children,” Jan. 11, 2006.)

On July 12, the judge declined to revisit that decision—four days before the billboards were raised.

“The legislature has continued to be unhelpful to rural schools” in 2007, said Charles T. “Bud” Ferillo Jr., a coordinator of the campaign and a Columbia-based public relations executive. “Education First is trying to bring attention in the population of South Carolina for, ultimately, a legislative solution.”

Asked for Republican Gov. Mark Sanford’s comment, a member of his staff pointed to gubernatorial spokesman Joel Sawyer’s recent statements in the South Carolina newspaper The State.

“They’re devoting energy to billboards rather than substantive education reforms,” Mr. Sawyer told the newspaper.

The two billboards together cost about $3,900 for a 30-day display and were to remain up until about the middle of this month. Mr. Ferillo said that Education First hopes that grassroots contributions will allow the billboards to be displayed for the 2008 legislative session or the election season.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in South Carolina, along with data on South Carolina’s public school system.

A version of this article appeared in the August 15, 2007 edition of Education Week


School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Biden Infrastructure Plan Calls for $100 Billion for School Construction, Upgrades
President Joe Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan would also fund replacement of lead pipes and expand broadband internet access.
4 min read
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater on Dec. 29, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater on Dec. 29, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Education Funding Miguel Cardona Releases $912 Million for Puerto Rico's Schools, Easing Trump Restrictions
Puerto Rico has regained access to hundreds of millions of dollars for education to address the fallout of COVID-19 and other needs.
2 min read
Students arrive at the Ramon Marin Sola primary school for the first time in nearly a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some public schools reopen in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10, 2021.
Students arrive at the Ramon Marin Sola primary school for the first time in nearly a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic as some public schools reopen in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10.
Danica Coto/AP
Education Funding School Budgets: Why They're Not As Bad As Predicted
Revenue projections are up, but districts aren't out of the woods. Seven questions answered about the evolving landscape for budgets.
11 min read
Image shows a businessman searching for new revenue in unchartered waters standing on a compass among several waves.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding COVID-19 Aid Package Protects Funding for Students in Poverty, But Could Challenge Schools
"Maintenance of equity" mandates aim to avoid cuts by states and districts that hurt disadvantaged students more than others.
8 min read
Image of money in a puzzle shape.