South Carolina Teacher of the Year Bryan Coburn, a pre-engineering, computer programming and business teacher at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, says if members of the General Assembly make severe cuts to education as they attempt to deal with revenue shortfall, they’ll create greater problems in the future. He says supporting education year by year is essential to the state’s economic future.
We caught up with him at last week’s education rally at the Statehouse. He says he was amazed at the rally’s turnout, and he hopes that the pressure on state lawmakers will make a difference.
The 19-year teaching veteran says lawmakers need to see the direct connection between education funding and the state’s productivity and financial well being.
With a high quality education, we’ll have better students, and with better students, we’ll have better workers and a better economy. We will draw businesses. Some people have spent too much time putting this state down. South Carolina has been number one in the nation in teacher quality, two years in a row.
Coburn says the House proposal, before any further cuts, would take education funding back to the level in 1995. He says that’s slipping way back.
Going “back to the future” doesn’t work in real life and it doesn’t work here. We need to consider what the future holds. If we reduce technology, we’ll have less technology-literate students. If we reduce text books we’ll have students with less access to material. We can’t do that to the students. It’s not fair. They only have once chance at an education. We can’t sacrifice that for politicians pretending to be fiscally responsible.”
Coburn says Republicans as well as Democrats need to support public education because many of their children attend the same schools as the children of Democrats.
Officials says that Coburn is a special teacher because for each student he finds a hook that helps them discover and master the most difficult topics and stretches the walls of his classroom around the the world.