Gov. Haley to release her education reform plan

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - Gov. Nikki Haley is set to release her plan for improving South Carolina's public schools, one week before the start of the 2014 legislative session.

The Republican governor held a news conference Wednesday at an elementary school in West Columbia. Her unveiling comes a year after she announced during her State of the State speech that she wanted to start a conversation about the way public schools are funded.

"Providing every child in South Carolina with the same educational opportunities isn't just something we should talk about - it's something we should be actively fighting to achieve and that is what we are doing today," said Gov. Nikki Haley. "By reforming South Carolina's antiquated funding formula, providing funding for reading coaches and new technology, we are taking a stand against the idea that where you are born and raised should influence the quality of your education. We have an obligation, as good citizens, and as a government, to provide every child with the chance to reach their potential in the classroom - that is our obligation and that is my promise."

Haley hosted several closed-door meetings last year with teachers, administrators and legislators to get their input.

"The Foundation for Excellence in Education is excited about Governor Haley's proposal to improve the quality of education for South Carolina's students," said Patricia Levesque, CEO, Foundation for Excellence in Education. "The K-12 Education Reform Initiative's emphasis on literacy and technology has potential for long-term positive results for schools and children. We applaud the governor's action to build a foundation of infrastructure and resources for growth in these crucial areas for education."{}

The Foundation for Excellence in Education is a leader in the push for education reform and was founded by former Governor Jeb Bush in 2008.

South Carolina schools are funded through complicated, decades-old funding formulas that legislators have long said should be overhauled.

"Based on input we have heard from teachers, increasing resources focused on reading and technology are critically necessary to teach children and help them be successful in today's world," said former S.C. House Majority Leader and Chairman of the House Ethics Committee Kenny Bingham. {}"The Governor's commitment to a multi-year investment in early literacy programs, K-12 technology, and related teacher training is not only unprecedented, but will have one of the greatest impacts on educating South Carolina's students and future workforce."

Both Haley and her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, will be pushing their education reform plans as this year's gubernatorial race heats up.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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