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Dear Editor,

Those school districts in South Carolina struggling to improve academically, are most likely located in underprivileged communities. These are communities where support for education is weak, and many consider improving failing public schools the sole responsibility of the state and school boards.

The Williamsburg County School District is an example of what happens to public education when there is community indifference, which allows failing schools to become an issue of insignificance. The results, high numbers of student failures and no one holding leadership accountable.

Unchecked leadership is at the root of many underperforming school districts. That won’t change unless there is a change in the community’s attitude from indifference to concern. Accepting incompetent leadership and student failure as commonplace, is the definition of indifference.

How to change a community’s perspective from indifference, and replace it with the attitude of concern for improving students’ success, is a serious matter for improving failing public schools. That is a problem only the community can solve.

Poverty should not be used as an excuse for having weak community support for education. Holding school leadership accountable and encouraging students “to do better,” is a community’s obligation, regardless of economic status. Educational studies tell us, where there is dedicated community commitment for student achievement, students do better.