An editorial by Converse Chellis, the South Carolina state treasurer, in the Greenville News (4/7):
My goal as state treasurer is to safeguard our state’s financial future and work toward making South Carolina a better place to live, raise a family and do business. Part of a better future for all South Carolinians is the recruitment of higher paying jobs into our state. To accomplish this, we will need a better educated workforce. But, we must offer more educational choices for South Carolina families to ensure this happens.
My children were fortunate in that they were able to make a choice of which school they wanted to attend. Our daughter chose to finish her education in a private school and my son elected to continue his education in the public school system. Our family chose the best path for each of our children.
Education is crucial to a better future for our citizens. We must find innovative approaches that enable parents to choose what is best for their children. The clock is ticking and our economy is in freefall. Continue reading
While House Members are on furlough, the South Carolina State Senate is in Columbia this week.
Here is a brief update on some of the important K-12 education legislation they are considering:
o S. 694, approving regulations for the State Department of Education relating to standards for review of Charter School Applications, designated as Regulation Document Number 4026, received first reading and was referred to the Education Committee.
o S. 695, providing that the South Carolina Charter School District shall distribute 200% of the current year’s base student cost to Charter Schools, received first reading and was referred to the Education Committee.
o S. 696, relating to the required advertisement of the results of a school’s report card in a local newspaper, to allow the required advertisement to be waived if an audited newspaper of general circulation in a school district’s geographic are has previously published the entire school report card results as a news item, received first reading and was referred to the Education Committee.
o S. 520, the Education Opportunity Act that provides tax credits for parents who homeschool or send their children to private schools and establishes a framework for non-profit scholarship granting organizations serving low-income students, will be reviewed by the K-12 subcommittee of the Education Committee on Thursday April 23rd. The public hearing will be held in Room 308, of the Gressette Building in the Statehouse Complex.
UPDATE: S. 694, approving regulations for the State Department of Education relating to standards for review of Charter School Applications, designated as Regulation Document Number 4026, has received second reading (4/15).
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Charter Schools, charters, Education Opportunity Act, Educational Opportunity Act, S. 696, S.520, S.694, S.695, School Choice, School Report Cards, Senate, tax credits
Sponsors of the Educational Opportunity Act have gathered at the Statehouse in Columbia to let parents know: school choice will save money.
From the press release:
“This bill is about helping all students – and all taxpayers,” Sen. [David] Thomas said. “It’s also about giving public schools more resources per child. As a longtime, passionate supporter of public education in South Carolina, I believe that we have an obligation to do both.”
Senator Kevin Bryant also noted:
“We have to try something new, and the good news is that we can do that in such a way that saves the state money and lets our public schools have smaller class sizes and better student-to-teacher ratios. When you put the goal of the individual child – not the individual bureaucracy – first, this proposal is a no-brainer. It’s only when your concern is more for the administrative functions that you start to see opposition.”
Last year public schools began the year with over $11,480 in combined per student appropriations. The state share of that money averaged $4,800 for each of the nearly 700,000 public school students. Even after the mid-year budget cuts, the state will still spend over $4,300 per student this year.
Of the state spending, half of that money is truly “student-based” and directly follows the individual child within the public school system. That’s primarily the money coming from the Education Accountability Act (EAA). The other half of the money is non-EAA General Fund spending and non-general fund state appropriations. That money goes to grants, programs and categories, which are not tied to the exact number of children in a given school or district.
In other words, when engaged parents make the choice to home-school their child or send them to a parochial or private school, the state saves $2,400 in student specific money while giving local districts $2,400 more for a child they do not have to educate. That means more money per-child. Those figures are dramatically higher if the child is zoned to attend a failing school or challenged with special needs. Continue reading
“Education choice,” a letter to the editor of the Charleston Post and Courier.
Please call your legislators and ask them to support the Education Opportunity Act S.520. I attended public schools, as have my four children. For over 16 years, I have endured the abuse and neglect of my children inside public schools. Schools continually accuse parents and children for their failures in a one-size-fits-all system.
Protectionism of teachers unions to safeguard government employment services under the veil of accountability to the taxpayer has been nothing but smoke and mirrors. The health of our children’s future opportunities is best decided by parental rights to make educational decisions over government monopolies that would treat our children like mere creatures of the state. Democracy calls for free-market competition of choice including education.
Failure is not a choice under the principles of economic sustainability. The rules of supply and demand require customer service, in conjunction with customer satisfaction. Public education has failed the basic market principle that diplomas count.
Presently, South Carolina ranks 49th in economic development based on our low graduation rate. Democracy only works when citizens actively participate. Those who want to stay in a failing system still have the choice under S.520, but the rest of us deserve a choice not to participate in a failing system.
E. M., Awendaw
“S.C. needs wide school choice” a Letter to the Editor in the Greenville News:
I commend Rep. Eric Bedingfield and Sen. Robert Ford for their March 1 commentary in which they plainly state the underlying issue affecting education in our state — the lack of choice.
Many opponents of school choice say parents should not be given more freedom to choose which school their children attend because that will lead to segregation of students by race and income. Bedingfield and Ford, who himself is African American, know that this argument is false and cannot be supported by evidence. It displays a serious lack of confidence in the people of South Carolina.
Bedingfield and Ford asked how we can call ourselves a culture that celebrates diversity when thousands of children are trapped in failing schools. Opponents of school choice say segregation will occur if choice is allowed. The contrary already exists. Evidence shows that student populations in private schools are already more diverse than those in public schools and that choice will encourage diversity in all schools. Currently, public school classrooms across South Carolina are segregated by race and economics. Whether a South Carolina public student is white or African-American, chances are their classmates look just like they do. South Carolina’s dirty little secret is that our public school students don’t have the opportunity to learn in a racially and economically diverse classroom, particularly in inner city schools. Truly integrated schools are not the public schools, but rather the private or independent schools, chosen freely and supported by parents.
Support school choice.
Signed, Brian Scoles, Taylors, South Carolina
Read more about the South Carolina Educational Opportunity Act, the bill sponsored by Senator Ford and Representative Bedingfield, here.
No two children are exactly alike. Those differences influence how they learn and grow.
That’s the guiding premise behind a proposal being considered in Columbia that would help parents make choices about where their children attend school.
The South Carolina Educational Opportunity Act was introduced in the House of Representatives today and will provide tax credits for parents who send their children to private or homeschool.
There are also provisions for charities that award scholarships to children from low-income families. The corporate and individual donors who finance these scholarships would receive state income tax credits as well.
A similar bill, S. 520, is already being considered by the State Senate.
In a press release announcing the bill, lawmakers made their intentions clear: expand choices for parents and save money for public schools.
Senator Robert Ford (D-Charleston) explained: Continue reading
The righteous indignation of South Carolina Senator Robert Ford (D-Charleston) over the persistent failure of public schools in South Carolina is attracting a lot of attention.
Sen. Ford, a Democrat who represents a heavily minority and primarily low-income district, is a lead sponsor of the SC Educational Opportunity Act. The bill expands access to private and homeschool classrooms through personal and corporate tax credits. Late last week, shocked parents in Charleston learned that principals at failing schools in Ford’s district would be receiving generous personal bonuses, despite the fact that student performance continues to stagnate.
Standing up for students (and taking on the bureaucrats who claim exclusive title to do so) has caused Ford to draw some fire. Continue reading