H.3220 – Creation of an Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council

H.3220 creates the Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council. It would be comprised of various agency heads and education representatives. The council’s role would be to advise the Department of Education, Department of Commerce, State Board of Education, etc. on the implementation of the South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act. This mandates that career awareness and exploration be incorporated into the public school curricula.

In addition to advising the DOE on implementation, the council would make an annual report to the Governor, General Assembly, Department of Commerce, State Board of Education, and other “appropriate governing boards” on implementation and results. The council would also make recommendations to the DOE and Department of Commerce for a marketing plan to promote statewide awareness of the system.

This bill reflects the General Assembly’s push toward workforce development, which is a euphemism (at least when used by elected officials) for statewide central planning. First, there are real questions as to how effective a 27-member board will actually be. Second, South Carolina doesn’t need more workforce planning. The state already spends tens of millions of dollars on existing workforce training programs every year. Attempts by the government to mold and direct the labor force will result in a misallocation of resources and hinder economic growth.

Interestingly, state law formerly required an Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council, but it was repealed in 2005.

A five-year sunset clause was added to this bill by the House before passing it. It is now awaiting consideration in the Senate.

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