Bureaucratic Blame Shifter In Chief Continues to Grandstand

Once again Jim Rex and Co. are trying to pass the buck for decades of public school failure on to people who died a hundred years ago.

According to this article from The Charleston Post and Courier, the failed education establishment is trying to drum up support for a wording change in the state constitution. Rather than deal with the host of real problems that are further wrecking SC public schools, education “leaders” want to quibble about editing the document to interpret South Carolina’s educational standard as “high quality” rather than “minimally adequate.”

In a burst of editorial fervor, P&C reporter Diette Courrege writes of the issue,

“It’s a debate about the state’s education system and whether the Legislature is providing enough money for it. It’s a discussion about the priority that South Carolinians are willing to put on education and back it up with their tax dollars.”

Unfortunately this statement is completely ungrounded in reality.

If the sheer amount of tax dollars poured into public education was the sole judge of how South Carolinians prioritize education, there would be little room to wonder about the people’s commitment. South Carolinians annually dedicate the equivalent of a Eritrea’s GDP to public education alone. In fact, South Carolina public schools spend well over $11,000 per student, more than any of our neighboring states.

The problems of high drop out rate, widening achievement gap, and low test scores that plague SC public schools are hardly the result of schools not having enough money, or South Carolinians not wanting quality schools for their kids.

These problems are the result of an expanding education bureaucracy that obsessively prioritizes its own funding and influence, not educating children.

Tinkering with wording in South Carolina’s State Constitution will do nothing to change , and Jim Rex knows it.

From the article.

Although it’s a somewhat symbolic change, the phrase “minimally adequate” sends a message of low expectations and that needs to change, Rex said. Other aspects of the state’s system also have to improve, but this change can be the catalyst and reminder of “why we’re doing these things.”

A much more convincing effort at improving public schools would be to end the message of low expectations by taking total control of education out of the hands of bureaucrats and putting it in the hands of parents. Adding parental choice and competition to the way public education works in SC could be a real catalyst toward a high quality education for all children in the state. Unfortunately, Rex seems more eager to try to boost his own political stock through silly PR games than to bring about any kind of meaningful reform.


4 responses to “Bureaucratic Blame Shifter In Chief Continues to Grandstand

  1. Pingback: Palmetto Links - 06.17.08 : Wesley Donehue

  2. Why can’t the people of this State elect someone who can bring up our bottomed out schools? Why is it that no matter who we elect they seem to do nothing! It’s almost as if, an unseen hand or curse is on the educational system in this State or one might surmise that it is a planned conspiracy to keep our children just plain dumb!
    Let’s face it! There is no one in this state qualified to do the job or else they are ignored by some unseen force that has control of the education process. This much I do know, I was never taught the Constitution of the United States in it’s entirety nor either the South Carolina Constitution in public school. And this proves one point, had I known at a younger age along with my fellow students what the officials were doing to our Constitution we would have been more selective in those we chose to represent us. Maybe this was part of the plan and now I am too old to have much fight left in me.
    But fight I will! I will inform everyone that I can to study the Constitution and I will fight to have it taught in our schools and if there is anyone out there who will join me, we will blast the Legislators in this State until they either do it or we will replace them at the polls.
    It’s not what we have been taught, it’s what we have not been taught that makes us on the bottom.

  3. Those proposing this amendment aren’t merely quibbling. They lost the substance of the corridor of shame case in court because the judge ruled that the schools met the judicial standard of “minimally adequate.” If they can change the standard to “high quality,” they will be able to use the court to force a massive redistribution of resources from wealthier counties to poorer counties, and maybe even force more money in total, to be spent on public education. That’s their goal.

    I suggest an alternative amendment.

    Must Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution of this State be amended so as to provide that the General Assembly shall provide public funding of a high quality education to each student in this state so that he can reach his highest potential?

    This changes the SC Constitution from saying, “The General Assembly shall provide… a system of free public schools,” to “General Assembly shall provide public funding of a high quality education.”

    My proposed amendment would allow us to reinvent public education. Will you join me in promoting this proposal?


  4. There is now a proposal before members of Congress to sponsor the Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity. This would require the states to equitably fund the education of children in public and non-public schools, while respecting the liberty of schools in hiring and provision of services.

    We can change the tenor of this election campaign by calling upon our representatives in Washington, at 202-224-3121, and urging them to sponsor this legislation.

    Thank you for your worthy efforts.

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