Prior to 1983, South Carolina’s public education system was ranked 49th out of the fifty states in terms of standardized testing, school funding, parental involvement and other measured criteria. With several corporations moving their corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities into the state, South Carolina’s weak public school system came to the forefront as a major concern in the state’s efforts to draw in businesses. In 1983, South Carolina installed a Business Education Partnership program (BEP) to monitor its public school system to improve teacher quality, student testing and school funding. This book chronicles these efforts under the leadership of Richard Riley who was South Carolina’s governor at the time. During his reign from 1983 through 1989, Riley worked with the CEO’s of major companies, school superintendents, politicians and the community to promote the BEP program. Riley’s vibrant role was crucial in building and sustaining the success of the BEP and in highlighting public interest in school reform. Under Riley’s leadership, South Carolina’s public school system enjoyed significant improvement that has remained unmatched till this day. In this well-researched work, the success of the BEP program under Riley is documented as well as the program’s eventual downfall after Riley’s departure from office.
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