South Carolina School Updates

Parents in South Carolina support choice

From the Letters section of the Charleston Post and Courier, Monday, March 16, 2009:

Major kudos to Sen. Robert Ford and Rep. Eric Bedingfield for the win/win nature of school choice. During my 14-year stint as a guidance counselor in Charleston County schools, I had the pleasure of working at schools at both ends of the bell curve — those with high ratings and those considered failing.

Contrary to what Jon Butzon and the Rev. Joe Darby believe, those schools with lower socioeconomic student bodies are loaded with extras: personnel, tutors, mentors, coaches, after-school programs, etc. I see this today as I volunteer in a school downtown.

It is high time we quit punishing parents simply because they can’t afford more expensive real estate.

Planters Loop
Mount Pleasant

Superintendent Rex flip flops on teachers

The Aiken Standard reports that Jim Rex is concerned about teacher morale:

With the recession deepening and South Carolina now ranked second only to Michigan in unemployment, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Jim Rex is worried about morale among educators.

“Our school system has seen $370 million in cuts this year,” he told Aiken County residents at a community meeting Thursday. “The school districts’ budgets have been cut by 15 percent. When you get to that level, you’re eventually going to have to get into personnel.”

NOTE: No mention was made in the Aiken Standard article of Jim Rex’s own tripling of six-figure administrative salaries in the last two years, his failure to bring substantive reform to the classroom or his prioritization of consultants and bureaucrats over classroom teacher salaries and job security.

State Budget moves forward

The Associated Press reports that SC Lawmakers in the House passed next year’s budget out of their chamber:

..State legislators gave initial approval Monday to a $2.5 billion basic spending package for South Carolina’s public schools despite concerns that it improperly taps federal stimulus cash.

The Education Department’s budget, the biggest single item in the $6.6 billion state budget, won initial House approval with little debate beyond the issue of how $416 million in federal cash flows to school systems.

NOTE: More details on this spending here and background on school funding here.

Political Spin

The State Department of Education proudly publicizes “success” of Allendale Elementary School:

An Allendale school has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its efforts to improve nutrition.

Allendale Elementary School was presented a gold certificate and banner by USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southeast Regional Administrator Donald E. Arnette for meeting USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge. The ceremony took place at the school, with Principal Sheila Leath accepting the awards….

NOTE: Not mentioned in the taxpayer financed press release was the fact that Allendale Elementary is classified by the State and Federal governments as a “persistently failing school” and has again been identified this school year as “at-risk.” There are 569 students forced to attend this school.


2 responses to “South Carolina School Updates

  1. ElizabethAnne

    No, I do not think the majority of people in SC support Choice. People want our public schools supported.

  2. These are not mutually exclusive aims – in fact it is clear that more choices also mean more money for public schools since Choice results in huge cost savings at the state level, and a windfall in per student local money for public districts.

    Also, what better way to encourage parental involvement in ALL school types then empowering parents with resources to make choices and hold schools accountable?

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