Imagine what it takes to shift from an economy that uses labor to generate value to an economy that uses knowledge to generate value. That is the shift that has occurred in Spartanburg County over the past twenty years, dating from the collapse of the textile mills.
Now, imagine the shift in the importance we must place on academic achievement to meet the demands of this new knowledge economy.
The change in our economy requires a change in the value we place on academic achievement.
Every child must be ready to learn to read when they enter school. They must be reading to learn by third grade. They must succeed in eighth grade math to manage the rigors of high school math and science. They must graduate high school prepared to achieve a post-secondary credential enabled to fulfill career ambitions involving vocational certification or college graduation.
Fortunately for us, the schools of the seven districts of Spartanburg County have awakened to the challenges of the knowledge economy. Their culture is changing. They are on the move … innovating, reinventing, accelerating, supporting.
The Spartanburg Academic Movement calls upon the rest of us – children, parents, neighbors, faith communities, small and large employers, non-profits, foundations – all of us in Spartanburg County to join as partners in the Movement, awakening to the crucial importance of academic achievement for every child, pre-school to post-secondary, cradle to career.
For a look at what the data tells us now and SAM's current emphasis areas, read SAM Chapter 3: Systems Change.