When parents have access to a wide variety of educational options, public schools are forced to be more attentive to the needs of families.
If every parent is empowered to take their child out of a public school that does not provide adequate programs or instruction, then public schools are forced to innovate and improve.
Parents with real choices put the focus of education exactly where it should be: on the students, not the system.
This pressure to improve is being demonstrated in an unlikely place: Spartanburg District 7.
In fact, even the possibility of comprehensive school choice options being given to parents has prompted Spartanburg 7 to promote greater “choice” within the district.
In a variety of published articles and public commentaries, Thomas White- Spartanburg 7 superintendent and free golf enthusiast- has been outspoken in his criticism of comprehensive choice options for families in South Carolina. Continue reading
If you are lucky, you might move your child from one “average” school to another.
Many public school bureaucrats are anxious about school choice. They worry that engaged parents making choices about their student’s school may threaten the political power of their government school monopoly.
In response to an overwhelming desire by parents for more choices, some clever bureaucrats are re-packaging limited “school transfers” and “open enrollment” and deceptively calling it “public school choice.”
The problem is that parents are left with a narrow range of traditional public schools to select from and school bureaucrats are given wide powers to reject the transfer applications.
Case in point: the Oconee Public School District. Continue reading
Parents in South Carolina want to have a say in where their children attend school, and some state employees who oppose the idea are scrambling to convince parents not to push for more options.
Spartanburg County has many public schools that outperform their counterparts in the state, but SAT scores show that achievement is still far behind similar districts in North Carolina. While many Spartanburg families are pleased with what local public schools have to offer, others prefer a private or Christian education for their children.
In a recent article in the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Spartanburg parent Brantlee Fulmer voiced her own concerns about where her three year old will attend school:
“ As a parent, I may or may not agree with the direction that a particular public school would go in…from a personal perspective, I prefer more of a Christian education. So, when the time comes I may choose to send my child to a Christian school.” Continue reading
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Cost Efficiency, David White, Educational Effectiveness, Funding, open enrollment, School Choice, school funding, South Carolina, South Carolina public schools, Spartanburg, Spartanburg District 7, testing
The Anderson Independent-Mail posted an article detailing a speech by Jim Rex to the Oconee Alliance. In his speech, Rex bemoaned the possibility of more state budget cuts, and urged public schools to adopt a “culture of innovation” to help deal with decreasing resources.
“We’re all going to have to be more innovative; a lot of the solutions of the past just won’t work anymore,” Rex said. “We need a culture of innovation.”
In addition to calling for fiscal responsibility, Rex called the current zip code based system for school attendance an “antiquated notion,” a statement with which most families would eagerly agree. Continue reading
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Educational Effectiveness, Inez Tenenbaum, Jim Rex, open enrollment, PACT, School Choice, South Carolina, South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina public schools, Spending, testing, wasteful spending
Jim Rex offering “school choice” is like doctors endorsing Camels.
In 2008, 80% of public schools in South Carolina failed to meet federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals. This across-the-board drop in performance rankings led parents statewide to ask tough questions about the effectiveness of their local public school.
When parents determine that their child is not receiving sufficient instruction, what public school options do they have?
For many South Carolinians it will come as a surprise to learn that any public school choice options exist at all. In fact, since 2001, No Child Left Behind and South Carolina state law have allowed public school transfers for:
• The children of principals, teachers, and school administrators in most school districts
• Students at Title 1 (low-income) schools that have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two years in a row
• Students who have been the victim of violent crime.
• Students in schools that have recorded violent crimes for three years in a row
• Students whose parents pay the tuition based on the local dollars spent per student at the new district (up to $6,000). Continue reading