School Officials Illegally Endorse Candidates

Lexington District One officials resort to old style boss politics.

Teacher and Administrator unions in South Carolina have a sad history of throwing themselves into partisan politics and working to block attempts at reforming South Carolina’s last in the nation public schools. For years, they have used tax dollars to make political donations and hire lobbyists to fight reform. Usually, they take public dollars through dues or fees and funnel the money into politicized labor groups like SCASA and the SCEA.

But Thursday, the desperate apologists for public school failure did not even bother to launder the tax money through unions or political action committees. Instead, they made direct use of public school facilities and district email lists to explicitly lobby for their chosen candidates.

Mary Beth Hill, Chief Communications Officer for Lexington School District One, sent an email to all the public school teachers and employees in that district. Hill implored the employees to vote against any candidate advocating for school choice and noted that with their 3,000 plus votes, the school employees would heavily influence the election results.

This type of political advocacy by public school administrators is clearly illegal. It speaks of wanton corruption and political cronyism. Bringing politics into the classroom threatens the very foundation of non-partisan public education. Superintendent Karen Woodward needs to publicly renounce these email and punish those public employees who illegally sent them – unless, of course, she was the one who actually authorized it in the first place. In which case, she should resign. This blatant disregard of the taxpayers and the public trust given her is more than grounds.

In the popular movie “V” the main character repeats the adage that “Governments should be afraid of the people, not the people of their governments.” Its time “government” in the persons of Karen Woodward and Mary Beth Hill became afraid of the justified public outcry over their disgusting display and arrogant misuse of the authority the citizens have given them.

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29 responses to “School Officials Illegally Endorse Candidates

  1. neutral observer

    What’s the big surprise? These people think and act like any other tyrany — government power is used to make government more powerful. Robert Mugabe uses the police and mobs, the educrats use our money but both have the same goal in mind; hold on to power, screw the people and don’t blink an eye while doing it.

  2. this is so overwhelmingly illegal! what are these people doing? how can they get away with this!?

  3. This is nothing less than spoils system politics. The candidates get our tax money in campaign contributions and stay in power so they can keep funneling more money to failing schools, rather than give families scholarships so the kids might have a chance to get a COMPETITVE education!

  4. I wonder when The State will chastise these public employees for their abuse of the public trust. Oh, wait… you said that it was an anti school choice agenda. Nevermind. Brad and his gang will let it slide.

  5. I was so glad when my two children finally exited Lexington One that I would NEVER allow my grandchildren to matriculate in that politically corrupt system. The principal at Lexington High School deliberately squelched a requested investigation into a bullying problem, forcing my son to just endure it until he graduated. It is truly gut-wrenching for a parent.

  6. As a taxpaying citizen in Lexington School District One, what are they thinking? This is stupidity on parade.

    Educate our children….

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  8. Concerned Citizen

    Repeating the question met with stony silence when poised two years ago about the root of the SC school failures: How can a closed-shop teachers’ union exist in a right to work state?

    The answer: the State Employment Security Commission has not prosecuted the State Department of Health, Education and Welfare for that violation of the law.

    The result: union featherbedding which supports inept teachers, prevents sexual abuse barriers and enables delusional curriculum.

  9. The State Employment Security Commission is in bed with several attorneys, the Solicitor of the 11th Judicial Circuit, Donnie Myers, being the culpable “attorney” in our case.

  10. The core tenet of SC’s 11th Judicial Circuit, as we have experienced it, is thus:

    Crime is relative to the intent of the criminal.

  11. personally….if SC had the quality of education and taught the way it did when I came through the system, I believe we would have better results. We also need to be more strident as to our actual choice of those who are teaching our students. As a chemist I have been privy to hearing chemistry teachers from all over this state mispronounce very basic words having to do with chemistry. What is up with that???

  12. Johns Islander

    I would like to know how and why lawmakers can use tax dollars to funnel thru colleges to their favorite charities and also get pay checks from the charity???
    Isn’t this illegal??/ I should be able to send my private money to a charity not have tax dollars to be used in this fashion. How if I didn’t want my tax dollar going to the charity they sent my tax dollar to
    ??? This practice needs to stop immediately and use the tax money else where.

  13. InformCitizen

    i was forwarded a copy of the email – it is nuts. They tried to craft the email carefully to make it look harmless and nonpartisan in the begining, but then it has URL links that trash-talk candidates who are advocating school choice, teacher merit pay, consoldiation, and all that good stuff. some of those websites are actually paid for by the political staffs of the incumbents. nice try lex one, but the back handed endorsement is still SUPER illegally and just plain sketchy

  14. Kobayashi Maru

    Maybe I missed something here. I didn’t see any candidates’ names mentioned, nor did I see any endorsements of candidates. All I saw was a “get-out-the-vote” educational piece. Nothing illegal here. So, my question is, “Where’s the beef?”

    Don’t we want our citizens to vote? Don’t we want our citizens to educate themselves about the candidates?

  15. Tothemaximum

    Pressuring and pressing the parents to vote for candidates who would best suit the special interest of any group, in any form is immoral. Alturism in education at the administration level: where did it go?

  16. Friend of a Lex One Teacher

    Kobayashi Maru,
    We all want informed citizens to vote, but advocating for candidates (or against candidates, or against policies) is not the job of non-partisan public employees. This is breach of both law and public trust. I just read the email. It is very clearly an attack on pro school choice candidates.
    The email talks about a philanthropist and in very vague and factually incorrect language says certain candidates “plan to divert public money to private schools through school vouchers and tax credits. Take the time to make sure you know exactly how many candidates he is backing and who they are — before the election”
    Then (same line) there are links to anonymous bloggers and political candidate attack sites. Really stupid, and just plain illegal.

  17. Kobayashi Maru

    I think that advocating a public policy position that supports or is in the best interest of whatever one’s avocation may be and its related constituency (which can be said about either side of the “voucher” issue or any issue) is the very definition of altruism.

    I read the email, too. It stakes out a public policy position, directs the reader to more information for voter education purposes and then leaves it to the reader to make up his or her own mind. Just because a candidate accepts donations doesn’t automatically translate into a vote for or against a particular issue. So we don’t know if it’s an attack on a candidate or not.

    Quite honestly, I expect public officials – from the federal government on down to the local level – to take policy positions on key issues. Which is not illegal or a breach of trust. I can make up my own mind from there.

  18. Friend of a Lex One Teacher

    Kobayashi, you’ve freakin lost it!
    Should the teachers take positions too?! Maybe preach to the kids about their personal views on abortion, gun control, homosexuality? Should the mailmen sort out political mail they personally dont like and not deliver it? Should the DMV workers not give licenses to people who they dont like? I paid taxes in Lexington and i dont want ANYONE’s views (whither they agree with mine or not) passed out and pushed on the tax payer’s dollars.

  19. Homeschool Works 4 Us

    Fiend of Lex One Teacher. Give up. If K. Maru is following the issue close enough to read the email and make comments, KM is bright enough to know that the email was illegal. Think President Bill Clinton was surprised to think that his activities with an intern were considered Sex? He knows Sex and Maru knows illegal.

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  24. I don’t know about Lexington Schools, except what I read here, but I was in The Greenville County School District for 19 years and I was never approached or encouraged to vote for any one.
    If it went on, I was not aware of it and working as an electrician I was in every School building and Administrative building.
    If it had been I would have ignored it and voted for whom I wished. One of my friends and fellow co-worker moved here from West Virginia and did say that this illegal method was alive and well in West Virginia.
    See what you get when tyranny reigns?
    I agree with School Choice. If parents feel that their children are getting a quality education in Public Schools, then as taxpayers they should have the right to use some of their tax money to educate their children.

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