Education superintendent says students need school options

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - State education superintendent Dr. Mick Zais was in Charleston County visiting schools to learn more about the programs in place. He believes schools need flexibility and students need options when attending high school.

There was a military welcome for Dr. Zais at Military Magnet Academy in North Charleston. He was an army brigadier general himself. He got a briefing on academics and activities, toured the school, and talked to students.

"Every child is different. Yet our traditional model puts every child in the same classroom, expects them to learn the same material in the same way on the same schedule. Should we be surprised that doesn't work for all children?" Dr. Zais said.

Dr. Zais says whether a student is interested in the military, art, academics, or technology, it's important for students to attend a school that is right for them.

Dr. Zais visited four schools in the Lowcountry, including James Island Charter High School, Military Magnet Academy, Garrett Academy of Technology, and Academic Magnet.

"They're all schools of choice, which demonstrates when parents have the ability to choose a school, parents become committed to that decision and have assumed responsibility for the success of their child," Dr. Zais said.

Students say the unique programs at their schools, made a difference in their paths in life.

"Military was always on my mind for the future, so I decided I might as well get started early," Military Magnet Academy student Darius Nilsen said.

"My friends and my cousins and all not take the right path, and chose wrong decisions, so I wanted something different for me," Military Magnet Academy student Abigail Reyes said.

"There's a better surrounding at Garrett. I feel better coming here," Garrett Academy of Technology student Darius Denson-Holmes said.

The four schools Dr. Zais visited are also unique in CCSD because the charter school is governed by parents, and the other schools accept students through an application process. Dr. Zais also supported a new charter school bill, that allows for single gender charter school classes, and for charter school students to take part in sports at their neighborhood schools.

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