Bill to allow ‘schools of innovation’ in South Carolina school districts lands in Senate

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The South Carolina Senate began consideration Thursday of a bill that would allow South Carolina school districts to operate multiple “schools of innovation.”

Under current law, South Carolina school districts may designate one school per district as a “school of choice” and seek permission for that school to be exempt from certain rules and regulations, enabling the teachers and administrators to pursue innovative techniques.

The bill, House Bill 3589, would change the designation to “schools of innovation” and would allow districts to apply for multiple schools to operate within a district. The bill would require a district’s application to be approved by a two-thirds vote of its local school board, as well as the state Board of Education.

HB 3589 was approved by the House, 81-32, on Wednesday.

“This legislation only allows your local public school board one more tool in the toolbox to be innovative and give the students the best opportunity, the best available skills that a district can provide so that they can have the most successful outcomes,” Rep. Raye Felder, R-York, said.

“The one-size-fits-all model has not been working for students and families, prioritizing conformity and standardization over embracing the fact that every child is unique and different,” Americans for Prosperity State Director Andrew Yates said in a statement. “Senators should pass this bill without delay and open up more educational options that are better suited for South Carolina families and students.”

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