Tag Archives: School Choice

Traditional Public Schools Not Ideal for Every Child

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One-size-fits-all government schools: YOUR tax dollars forcing a square peg into a round hole.

With the help of a $191,000 federal grant, an after-school program will be able starting up at an Aiken County elementary school.
Aiken Families in Transition,” the grant recipient, will take in up to 125 students who need after-school help in a wide variety of academic and critical-thinking subjects.

According to a State Department of Education press release, Superintendent Rex expressed encouragement for the program, stating, “ Students who are struggling in class can get a real academic boost in a well-run after-school setting.”

Through a variety of grants and private contributions, some of the needy students in Aiken County are going to get the instruction they need to compete and excel. For these students, who undoubtedly have a wide variety of learning needs and aptitudes, this help is going to come from outside a traditional, public school classroom.
Continue reading

Choice gaining bipartisan steam despite Sellers’ attacks

An “Online Extra” of the State Newspaper:
Choice gaining bipartisan steam despite Sellers’ attacks

By GLENN McCALL, Guest Columnist

The S.C. Republican Party stands behind all parents who want to choose a better education for their children — and we’re not alone.

As the astronomical human cost of our public system’s ongoing failure keeps mounting, Republicans, Democrats and independents are joining the ranks of parental choice supporters in record numbers here in the Palmetto State — and beyond.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. After all, the first chapter in America’s emerging school choice history was written by African-American leaders in Milwaukee, Wis. — committed Democrats who were fed up with failing schools and tired of unfulfilled promises from the status quo.

Nearly two decades later, Milwaukee boasts one of most successful parental choice programs in the nation, with substantially increased graduation rates and higher percentages of children attending two-year degree programs. Continue reading

Success of Governor’s School Should Be Replicated

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According to a press release sent out by the SC Dept of Education, the SC Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (SCGSSM) has been named by Newsweek to be among the “Top Twenty Elite Public High Schools” in the nation. This is the fourth year in a row that the South Carolina public school has been on the prestigious list.

Every year, hundreds of high school sophomores apply to the school, but only 64 of the best and brightest students are accepted.

For two years, students at the SCGSSM study in a rigorous, academics-focused environment. Needless to say, graduates are well prepared to enter the best colleges and universities. Continue reading

South Carolina’s Jim Rex likes vacation, not tough questions

Jim Rex Beach Vacation South Carolina

Superintendent “Dropout Jim” Rex went down to the sunny shores of beautiful Myrtle Beach this week to enjoy some hard-earned taxpayer-financed pampering.

From the controversial SCASA summer retreat, Rex conducted his annual State of the School Address, an event that Jim and his publicists are trying desperately to make into a major media event.

That didn’t quite happen this year.

Even before the dramatic story of Governor Sanford’s trip to the Appalachian Trail Argentina crowded out other news events, Rex failed to secure any live broadcast television or radio coverage of the speech. Continue reading

Biz Leaders angry at Public Schools

Head in the Sand: parents aren’t always looking critically at their local public schools (and “Dropout Jim” Rex is thankful).

Business leaders are more realistic about South Carolina’s failing government schools than the parents whose children attend them.

That’s according to yet-another high dollar “survey” by South Carolina’s Educational Barney Fife (the EOC).

From The State Newspaper‘s “S.C. public schools get mixed reviews” story (6/14):

Two-thirds of S.C. business leaders say the state’s K-12 public school system is not providing students with key knowledge.

That contrasts with how parents and educators rate public schools. Nearly half of parents and 56 percent of educators say schools are getting the job done.

Based on the wide spread proliferation of “dropout factories” in South Carolina, as well as the fact that South Carolina’s so-called “best public schools” are underperforming their regional and national peers, this frustration is well justified.

Sadly, many parents seem to ignore reports on worsening college preparation, sinking SAT scores in wealthy white suburban school districts, and rampant fiscal waste that draws precious public resources away from the classroom.

Other parents have begun to clue in.

These are the parents who have gone to Columbia to demand real reform.

These are the parents who have challenged the failed polices of Jim Rex directly.

These are the parents who have called out politicians blocking reform.

These are the parents who have taken on powerful special interest using public money and position to fight reform.

These are the parents who demanded anti-reform newspapers and editors be held to their own words, and used opinion pages to voice their righteous discontent with the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all government school monopoly.

These are the parents who are tired of public schools blaming parents for their systemic failures.

These are the parents who want School Choice -in the form of educational tax credits- to provide every child in South Carolina equal access to the classroom, teacher, and curriculum best suited to the children’s specific learning needs.

Jim Rex Admits that Parents and Students want more Choices

Footage of Jim Rex speaking at his self-styled “townhall meeting” dancing around the issue of real school choice.

Superintendent Rex is clear: “Parents and students want more choices.”

Rex further explains that those children in school districts with the fewest choices are probably the students who need them most.

Sadly, despite the rhetoric, Rex is using untold sums of public money to fight against the school choices parents want.

The Opportunity of School Choice

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Time has come to focus on the student, not the System.

Giving every family in South Carolina access to a quality education for their children is essential to our state’s future.

It also shows that we, as a state, understand that parents have a right –even a responsibility– to make important decisions about their children’s lives.

Through school choice South Carolina can move away from the antiquated, exclusive model of “public or private schools,” and embrace a broader system in which public AND private schools are made available to meet the learning needs of individual students. School Choice means real options for all parents: public and private and charter and magnet and virtual and home school. Continue reading

WSJ: SC Senator Robert Ford right to push School Choice

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School Choice Is the New Civil Rights Struggle” by Brendan Miniter of the Wallstreet Journal (5/30).

A word of support from the president could transform local politics on the issue.

Getting arrested doesn’t normally bolster a politician’s credibility. But when South Carolina state Sen. Robert Ford told me recently that he saw the inside of a jail cell 73 times, he did so to make a point. As a youth, Mr. Ford cut his political teeth in tumultuous 1960s civil-rights protests.

Today this black Democrat says the new civil-rights struggle is about the quality of instruction in public schools, and that to receive a decent education African-Americans need school choice. He wants the president’s help. “We need choice like Obama has. He can send his kids to any school he wants.”

Mr. Ford was once like many Democrats on education — a reliable vote against reforms that would upend the system. But over the past three and a half years he’s studied how school choice works and he’s now advocating tax credits and scholarships that parents can spend on public or private schools. Continue reading

Jim Rex admits some schools are “dropout factories”

South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Dr. Jim Rex admits to the existence of “dropout factories,” which he blames for the state’s shameful 55.6% on-time graduation rate.

Video footage was taken of Rex speaking at Education Department orchestrated “Town Hall meeting” at Greenville’s J.L. Mann High School on May 28, 2009.

Despite the shameful dropout rate, Rex is committed to blocking serious reform being push by parents and educators across the state.

Mixed Messages on Education from Obama

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Parents, especially low-income parents, have a right to be confused about how President Obama really feels about education, especially when it comes to educational choices.

During the much-publicized hunt for a proper school for the Obama children, local public schools were clearly not even remotely considered to be adequate. Instead, an exclusive-and very costly-private school was selected to meet the educational needs of the first family. Subsequently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made sure his own children had the pick of the best schools, stating that their education was too important to jeopardize with a bad educational environment.

Now the confusion starts. Continue reading