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A state legislator is hoping a town hall meeting will give a national perspective on building a "world-class" educational system in Orangeburg County.

A community education forum titled “Envisioning the Future of Education in Orangeburg County” hosted by Rep. Jerry Govan Jr., D-Orangeburg, and other community organizations is planned for Feb. 7.

The forum will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s Roquemore Auditorium. A question-and-answer period will follow.

Govan will moderate a panel of experts to discuss recent trends and challenges in the realm of education, including the reform effort currently being considered by members of the South Carolina General Assembly.

Addressing the unique challenges of students in poverty, including figuring out the best use of federal funding, is among the target areas for the forum, Govan said. 

"We need to have an idea or sense of not what's going on necessarily just in Columbia or Orangeburg, but to be able to basically think out of the box," he said. 

July 1 is the first official day of operation for a new, consolidated school district combining Orangeburg Consolidated School Districts 3, 4 and 5.

"We have a chance to start afresh. And if we're going to start afresh, my feeling is that it's a great opportunity at this point to kind of get an idea or a feel for what's happening in other areas of the country and world with regard to education in terms of what they're doing right and perhaps what we can be doing better," Govan said.

Scheduled speakers include:

  • Dr. Monifa McKnight, chief school management and instructional leadership officer of Howard County, Maryland Public Schools.
  • John Gailer, assistant director for programs and outreach of the National Dropout Prevention Center. 
  • Danielle Ewen, senior policy adviser, Educational Council, Washington, D.C.
  • The Honorable Anne Gue Jones, Family Court judge serving the 1st Judicial Circuit of South Carolina.

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Staff Writer

Dionne Gleaton has been a staff writer with The T&D for 20 years. She has been an education reporter, regional reporter and currently writes features with an emphasis on health.

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