Riley Institute to launch new book about passage of groundbreaking 1984 South Carolina Education Improvement Act
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Riley Institute at Furman University
JANUARY 18, 2023 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
RILEY INSTITUTE TO LAUNCH NEW BOOK ABOUT PASSAGE OF GROUNDBREAKING 1984 SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT ACT
“A People’s Movement: How a team of state and local leaders mobilized the grassroots, transformed public education, and lived to tell the tale—and how you can, too” shares relevant lessons from one of the nation’s most ambitious state-level legislative reform initiatives.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — On January 31, the Riley Institute at Furman University will launch a book that takes a fresh look at the 1984 South Carolina Education Improvement Act (EIA), a bold education reform effort championed by a broad coalition built by then-governor Dick Riley to address the state’s low academic achievement and lagging economic competitiveness.
The book, authored by Robert Saffold and titled A People’s Movement: How a team of state and local leaders mobilized the grassroots, transformed public education, and lived to tell the tale—and how you can, too offers lessons and strategies relevant to today’s policymaking.
Notably, the book includes:
- 25 key policy “plays” that generated widespread, bipartisan support and set an ambitious, comprehensive agenda for large-scale reform and are applicable to today’s political landscape.
- Perspectives of 27 leaders involved in the passage and implementation of the EIA, captured through extensive oral history interviews and reflected both in the synthesized narrative and in the accompanying direct, colorful, and often humorous quotes.
- A thoughtful narrative that captures the realities of enacting large-scale reform and achieving the art of compromise, as well as how South Carolina arguably made greater gains in public education than any other state in the nation in the years after the EIA was enacted.
- Historical photos that capture the momentum Dick Riley and his coalition built around the EIA.
Early praise for A People’s Movement:
“Under [Governor Dick Riley’s] leadership, the Education Improvement Act set a new standard for bringing together coalitions of parents, policymakers, politicians, educators, business leaders, and more on behalf of South Carolina’s children. As a native South Carolinian, I cannot thank him enough for improving the education status of South Carolina’s children and documenting how we got there. I hope this playbook will now serve as an inspiration for the new kinds of strong leaders and broad partnerships our children desperately need today in every state.”
– Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President Emerita, Children’s Defense Fund
About the Riley Institute at Furman University
Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, broadening student and community perspectives on critical issues, hosting expert speakers, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at furman.edu/riley.