National Action Network supports EL Education curriculum in Charleston schools

Network representatives said the program is working, and there is no need for it to be changed or altered.
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 4:36 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2023 at 11:09 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Representatives from the National Action Network are voicing their support for EL Education, whose state-approved curriculum has come under recent scrutiny for content being taught to students.

Network representatives said the program is working, and there is no need for it to be changed or altered.

They said special interest groups, namely Moms for Liberty, are using critical race theory as grounds for that push. There’s no evidence that critical race theory is being taught in any Charleston County school.

EL Education is a nonprofit that partners with local school districts and currently serves around 440,000 students nationwide.

The district said their curriculum is being taught in 52 out of the 61 elementary and middle schools.

National Action Network said the program exposes children to historical figures, like George Washington Carver, to empathize with other cultures and allows for a more inclusive education.

“We’re not begging. Our kids, our children will have equal and inclusive opportunities for their education,” Southeastern SC National Action Network Chapter President Jacqualin Yeadon said. “This is a human right. Not speaking of civil right, but we can go there too.”

Charleston Co. School District’s curriculum sparks community concern

Data showed acceleration schools had higher growth in SC Ready scores in English and Language Arts compared to the district from 2019 until 2022.

Sullivan’s Island Elementary School Teacher Natalie Harden said although the prep work for the curriculum is intensive, she has seen massive improvement from her students.

“It’s leveled up my instruction, and it’s leveled up the engagement, but it’s kind of got me reenergized about teaching reading because what the kids are doing and producing is really incredible,” she said.

Moms for Liberty has not returned requests for comment on the National Action Network’s remarks.

No decision has been made yet as to the future of EL Education in schools, but district officials indicated they would like to continue the partnership.

EL Education spokesperson Trineka Greer has released the following statement:

“EL Education greatly values our partnership with Charleston County School District. We are heartened to see nearly 50 CCSD parents, teachers, principals, students, and community leaders share powerfully about their positive experiences with the EL Education language arts curriculum. We applaud CCSD educators and students for their hard work to accomplish tremendous results with our curriculum, as indicated in impressive data on student growth. We are committed to continuing to support CCSD educators as they use the EL Education curriculum to help students achieve at higher levels in reading and writing and build important life skills.”