The internet became a forum for handling South Carolina’s education issues as the state inaugurated its online Millennium Education Project April 6.

The project’s goal is for people to share their education ideas and eMail their suggestions or questions to Gov. Jim Hodges, U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley, and other government officials.

Visitors can also discuss education with one another in the chat room.

About 40 percent of South Carolinians have internet access, making it an important communication tool, said Phil Noble, president of the project.

“What we’re finding is the growth of the internet is spreading all across the population,” he said. “We believe the discussion of education policy, of new ideas–that discussion needs to take place on the internet.”

On April 22, the shared ideas that resulted from the New Millennium Project became the subject of a live Education Issues forum at the University of South Carolina’s law school. The meeting also was transmitted live on the project’s internet site.

“Particularly here in South Carolina, we’re delighted that Governor Hodges is turning attention to education reform,” said Lacy Ford, a University of South Carolina history professor. “South Carolina will have to take full advantage of the opportunity there in cyberspace and on the internet.”

The web site can be accessed at