“Their efforts are meant to starve our schools, destroy our communities and cripple our profession, and they must be stopped.”
-South Carolina Education Association on Senator Robert Ford
More and more families in South Carolina are becoming aware of just how much political influence is wielded by public education establishment “support” groups.
Organizations like SC Association of School Administrators, SC School Boards Association, Palmetto State Teachers Association, and SC Education Association employ a small army of lobbyists and political insiders to maintain power and money in the centralized education bureaucracy, and to do the bidding of powerful national unions in South Carolina.
The SC Education Association (SCEA)-as local minions for the far-left NEA- personify the politicization of education here in South Carolina. In addition to acting as an enthusiastic cheering section for the wide-scale failures of one of the nation’s most consistently underperforming public education systems, the SCEA stands ready to attack anyone who feels like children in South Carolina deserve something better.
With the help of several well-heeled lobbyists, the SCEA has operated on a strictly “pay to play” interpretation of democratic government; an approach that leaves little room for South Carolina parents successfully voicing their own needs and opinions.
This could be clearly seen in recent Senate Education Sub-Committee hearings, where dozens of needy parents begged lawmakers to give their children access to a quality education, only to be snubbed and scorned by well-dressed political insiders with an eye toward maintaining power.
Recently, the SCEA sent out a costly mailer to school employees, lauding its own work on behalf of “public schools, students and jobs,” and urging them to join the SCEA. The mailer goes on to attack Senator Robert Ford, a black senator from Charleston who has taken a stand against forcing low income children into failing public schools, as one of the “greatest threats” to all children having access to good schools.
Of Senator Ford, these proponents of failure say ” Their efforts are meant to starve our schools, destroy our communities and cripple our profession.”
The offensive nature of this attack on Senator Ford, a widely-known member of the civil rights community, is readily apparent. Failing schools, and forcing students into them with no hope of receiving even a basic education, represent a true threat to communities. What about the fifty percent of students that drop out of school, under-educated and unprepared for employment and meaningful participation in society? Where is the SCEA’s concern for these children? Senator Ford has grasped the dire nature of the situation that 73,000 students in South Carolina find themselves in, and is willing to fight for them to have access to something better.
For an organization that supposedly exists to do the same thing, the SCEA seems to be spending a lot of time and money keeping low income and minority students in schools that fail to meet any objective standard of academic quality.
Like the NEA’s involvement in the shameful killing off of the D.C. choice program, the SCEA is attacking competition and criticism of the establishment without regard to the thousands of real people who are harmed by it. Ultimately, the success or failure of thousands of children does not play into the agenda of union special interests. In Washington, D.C., children will be sent back to dangerous, low-performing schools, but the union got what it wanted: total control. Platitudes about “preserving our schools” aside, the reality of the SCEA’s work is focused on money,power, and bureaucratic control.
Thought the SCEA may claim to champion teachers, this most recent skakedown shows little respect for the hard-working teachers in South Carolina. Instead of using fear and intimidation to further politicize the important work that these professionals do, the SCEA would truly help teachers by working to eliminate the amount of bureaucratic red tape and paperwork that infringes on teachers doing what they love.
- – offers parents the choices they need to make engaged, informed decisions about where their child is educated.
- – offers cost savings to the state, huge windfalls for local districts, and more money to be spent on fewer students.
- – helps low income students escape failing schools through Student Scholarship Organizations.
- – reduces class sizes and makes schools offer competitive salaries to attract the best teachers
School Choice is right for South Carolina, and the sooner parents have options instead of union dictates, the better.