South Carolina’s elected State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex has said and done some ridiculous things in the name of “the kids.” He is also one of just eight Chief State School Officers in the US to be selected through a partisan political election. In Rex’s case, political pandering often means putting politics before students.
Here is a top ten list of the Voice’s picks for his most surreal and absurd stunts:
#9. Confused: Jim Rex sends out a press release congratulating himself for his focus on improving the drop-out rate when federal officials singled his department out for its misleading reporting and low-graduation rate.
#8. Finger in the dam: Jim Rex announces “Attendance Awareness Week” to combat South Carolina’s crippling 45% high school drop-out rate.
#6. Do as I say, not as I do: Despite his fierce criticism of tax credits for corporate support of private school K-12 Students, Jim Rex calls for private donations to public schools and personally fund-raises for private college scholarships.
#5. Self-serving: Four days after federal official announce that 80% of South Carolina public schools failed to meet progress standards, Jim Rex diverts attention by unethical using his public office to support pet political campaigns.
#4. Short sighted: As the state first begins its decent into budget turmoil, Jim Rex responds by safeguarding consultant contracts and threatening teacher salaries.
#3. Blind eye: Rather than worry about the growing race- and wealth-correlated gaps in his public schools, Jim Rex wastes public time and money -and invites activist lawsuits- by posturing for word-shuffle in the South Carolina State Constitution.
#2. Out of touch: Jim Rex defends his tripling of $100,000.00+ salaried employees at his State Department of Education while simultaneously arguing for a statewide classroom teacher and bus driver salary freeze.
#1. Awkward Timing: Jim Rex calls for a new state property tax just one day after South Carolina’s unemployment rate reaches 9.5%, it’s highest level in decades.