Tag Archives: Civic and Social Involvement

Democrats continue drive for School Choice

Democrat Road

According to the Alliance for School Choice:

As was the case in 2006 and 2007, Democrats were instrumental in the majority of school choice legislative victories in 2008.

• In Florida, the $30 million expansion of the Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship program was supported by a majority of African-American legislators, all Hispanic legislators, and one-third of the entire Democratic caucus.

• In Louisiana, the New Orleans voucher program passed through the Democratic House and Senate; the bill’s authors in each house were Democrats, and 28 Democratic legislators voted for the bill.

• With the support of Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and other prominent Democrats, continued funding of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was approved by Congress.

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Chronic illiteracy plagues SC Public Schools

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Parents and community members throughout Charleston were shocked this week to learn that illiteracy and under-literacy run rampant in the Charleston County public school system.

From the P&C‘s recent article by Diette Courrégé:

Test scores show 20 percent of rising 9th-graders read at or below 4th-grade level.”

Among the disturbing data points:

–More than 20 percent of the Charleston’s rising ninth-graders read on a fourth-grade level or worse.

–Nearly half of the incoming freshmen at North Charleston High School read at a fourth-grade level or worse.

–Eleven percent of the incoming freshmen at Wando High School read at a fourth-grade level or worse.

The reporter further notes that one-in-seven adults in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties is functionally illiterate, defined as reading below an eighth-grade level. Up to 20,000 tri-county adults have less than a ninth-grade education, which is an alarming level, but makes sense in light of the South Carolina’s shoddy 55% on-time public high school graduation rate.

Functionally illiterate adults can’t understand a newspaper article, complete a job application, follow the directions on a prescription label or fill out a bank deposit slip. Continue reading

Real school choice in S.C. is high priority

School Choice South Carolina

Real school choice in S.C. is high priority,” an editorial published in the Times and Democrat (5/22).

In recent weeks some politicians and administrators who claim to speak for “public education” have made a frightening suggestion: They’ve argued that public debate over school choice should be entirely halted.

Dr. Paul Krohne, director of the S.C. Schools Boards Association and Dr. Jim Rex, state superintendent of schools, have called the discussion of educational choices “expensive,” “distracting” and even “dangerous.”

Their core premise is that one-size-fits-all government schools are a panacea for all that ails the children — and communities — of South Carolina. Rather than defend and explain this questionable position, they try to squelch public debate.

This tactic is absurd and alarmingly undemocratic. It indicates an esteem of the system over the individual students and families those schools were opened to serve.
Continue reading

More Black Lawmakers Supporting School Choice

According to this article in USA Today, school choice is a reform measure that more black lawmakers are willing to publicly support.

Despite heated opposition from unions and status quo politicians, these officials have been willing to do whatever it takes to help children in failing public schools have access to a quality education. Prominent examples of this very necessary leadership are Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Washington, D.C., mayor Anthony Williams.

Putting children first- in the face of political pressure- puts these leaders in stark contrast to President Obama, who presided over the demise of the school choice program in Washington, D.C. that allowed low-income students to escape public schools so bad that US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan referred to them as “a national disgrace.”

Here in South Carolina, State Senator Robert Ford has been a strident voice for school choice options. Despite personal attacks and dismissive treatment by establishment hangers-on, Ford has continued pointing out the hypocrisy of lawmakers refusing parents choice, and demanding that low-income students in South Carolina have the same opportunities as those available to the children of more influential citizens. Continue reading

Good Mileage More Important to Congress than Children

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Members of Congress ( 38% of which chose to send their own children to private school) sent a cutting message about governmental priorities to parents this week. Ignoring the large crowd of parents and children begging them to preserve the Washington, D.C. school choice program, politicians brushed them aside to do what they felt was best for their own political careers: say “how high?” when unions said “jump!”

Adding insult to a real injury for low-income families, the US Senate approved a “Cash for Clunkers” bill the same day that would hand out $4,500 vouchers to people who trade in their old cars for a newer, more fuel efficient machines.

The cruel irony of the Senate’s actions will not be lost on the families forced to send their children back to dangerous, failing public schools. Apparently, many of the same elected officials who believe financial incentives are evil and destructive when they are given to low-income students who need an education, are happy to pass out benefits to people who can afford to buy new vehicles.

Actions speak louder than the empty words uttered on the campaign trail, and the actions of U.S. Senators say that they think good mileage is more important than childrens’ education. Continue reading

Parents are Talking, Are Lawmakers Listening? (VIDEO)

Dozens of parents have testified before state senators about the need families have for real school choice, and thousands more have visited the Statehouse over the last three years to plead with lawmakers for a fair chance at quality education.

Private school educatorshome school parents and public school parents have pointed out example after example of children with educational needs that local public schools are unable, or unwilling to meet.

Lawmakers, like State Senator Robert Ford, have pointed out the injustice of confining thousands of children to failing public schools, with no education, and no hope for anything better.

Even in front of the parents pleading with the state senate for help, education officials and establishment insiders stand up and try to divert lawmakers’ attention away from parents, and back to the wants of the establishment.

Lawmakers need to listen to the people in their districts who want real choices, and act accordingly.

Adam Schaeffer on School Choice

While embittered bureaucrats insist that giving parents real school choice is “experimental” and “dangerous,” other states are showing the tremendous benefits of school choice in improved academics, cost savings and increased equity in education.

Adam Schaeffer, of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, urged the SC Senate K-12 Education Subcommittee to look at the documented success of school choice in other states, and to adopt legislation that would help families in South Carolina.

More than anything, South Carolina lawmakers need to bear in mind that school choice is a reform measure that families in their districts want. Thousands of families have rallied at the state capitol in support of school choice on two occasions. Just last week hundreds more parents, students and educators came to make their need for choice known to state senators.

Lawmakers have no excuse to put off passing school choice in South Carolina. The data showing its benefits are clear, and more importantly, it is what many South Carolina families want.