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What Works in Your State?

What works in education? The Riley Institute set out to discover the answer to that question in South Carolina. What we learned may be applicable in your state.

Over the past few years, the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman has been studying education in South Carolina to learn about programs that work -- promising education initiatives that are grounded in data. Those initiatives have been collected in the WhatWorksSCTM (WWSC) clearinghouse, an evolving web-based resource aimed toward engaging educators, students, policy makers and other stakeholders in discussion and dialogue about education in this state.

WWSC ties strategies for world-class schools in South Carolina to promising in-state initiatives, and includes case studies, policy papers written by state leaders, and an evolving collection of other initiatives that explore and exemplify key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools. It grew from “In Their Own Words: A Public Vision for Educational Excellence in South Carolina.” This study, the largest ever done in South Carolina and unique nationally, details key strategies for creating world-class schools in South Carolina, derived from 3000 focus group hours with more than 800 grassroots stakeholders. It was conducted by the Riley Institute in 2005 and 2006 with funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Since its completion, a second Hewlett grant has allowed the Center to work to translate its findings into meaningful education improvement in the state. WWSC is a product of this. With the help of great educators, community leaders and program directors, it has been a great success, even leading to an annual award program that will recognize the best of the initiatives.

We invite you to visit our site to learn more about WhatWorksSCsm. We’d love to hear from you by phone or email to hear how you are sharing what works in your own states, and would be happy to speak with you about the Hewlett study and the development of the clearinghouse.

About the Center for Education Policy and Leadership: CEPL is part of The Riley Institute at Furman, a non-partisan organization affiliated with the Department of Political Science at Furman University. Named for former Governor of South Carolina and United States Secretary of Education Richard Riley, the Institute engages students and the public in the arenas of politics, public policy and public leadership through collaborative research, study abroad opportunities and internships. The Center’s goal is to make a difference in education by working to inform the public of issues and problems in critical areas and by bringing together the stakeholders in education in order to effect change.