A guest editorial by Mrs. Hollie Bennett, a parent, published in the Sun News (5/23):
Political issues are bought and sold in every level of government. There is no longer true representation of the people. The primary objective of every politician is re-election. Contributions to campaigns are mere purchases for favorable votes on issues of importance to the contributor and money for a politician’s re-election; a win-win situation for the contributor and the politician.
This became overwhelmingly evident to me at the hearing held in Columbia on the issue of real school choice. The 200-plus people who turned out for this hearing were overwhelmingly in support of real school choice, not this silliness of public school choice that Jim Rex is behind. (Does anyone really believe that a school district will convene a committee that will investigate school choice options that would in any way be meaningful? Please.) Continue reading
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Hollie Bennett, News and Views, public education, SCEA, School Choice, Senate K12 Education Subcommittee, Senator Hayes, Senator Wes Hayes, South Carolina Education Association, Special Interests, Sun News
Matt Moore (S.C. Club for Growth) wrote this great opinion letter for the Times and Democrat:
Jim Foster, the chief publicist for South Carolina’s Education Department, recently attacked a non-profit group advocating education spending and enrollment reform. His letter in the Times and Democrat on Feb. 5 characterized those arguing for a more responsive and parent- centered education system as “extremists” and “zealots.”
The heart of Foster’s quarrel with school reform advocates is a disagreement over facts and figures. The State Department of Education releases its own numbers for public school allocation, spending and efficiency. These self-reported figures are — year after year — in stark contrast to similar numbers published in the State Budget and to the data released by the South Carolina Budget and Control Board. For example, Foster claims 71 cents per dollar is spent on “instruction” in public schools, while S.C. Budget and Control Board auditors report only 45 cents reaches the classroom.
As a state employee, Foster enjoys benefits that most workers in the private sector can only envy. These include robust job security, a generous pension, comprehensive health care and annual cost-of-living wage adjustments. But while working as a public employee, and being paid with tax dollars, Foster has violated certain responsibilities.
Chief among these: political non-partisanship. Continue reading
In December of 2008, the State Department of Education was well aware that budget cuts would be affecting public schools across the state. Teachers and other district employees feared for their jobs, while bean counters worried that money might be too tight to even put fuel in school buses.
Even during this time of uncertainty and restricted funding, consultants were confident that fat government contracts would keep rolling in.
According to the State Comptroller General’s “Spending Transparency” site, the SC Department of Education paid out-
• $130,500 to Insite, LLC: a “highly accomplished woman-owned assessment company, providing test development, training, and data-collection services.”
• $211,850 to TAPFIN Process Solutions: “With a focus on human capital management, TAPFIN deploys successful solutions delivered with our commitment to people, process and technology.
• $17,732 to Educational Resources Group: “ERG is your best resource for consultants who provide professional development services to teachers, administrators, and classroom support personnel.”
• $37,200 to South Carolina Association of School Administrators: tax funded lobbyists
• $15,000 to Education Builders
• $14,695 to The Assignment Agency
• $11,755.52 to Malachied Inc. Continue reading
This following clip is from a 2006 meeting of the SC House Ways and Means Committee.
Despite claims by the SC School Boards Association that school choice would take money from public schools, Representative Lewis Vaughn (ret.) points out that choice would actually increase per-student funding.
Two years later, SCSBA is still committed to fighting school choice.
In a recent opinion column, Superintendent Thomas White of Spartanburg District 7 made his position very clear: he is very smart and deserves to make choices about where his children attend school. You on the other hand, the parents and taxpayers of South Carolina, aren’t as bright and don’t deserve the same for your family.
Nevermind that White is a public servant, chosen by democratically elected officials.
Nevermind that White puts bread on his table through a government salary, financed by your hard earned tax-dollars.
And nevermind that as a public school administrator White’s job is merely to implement and orchestrate public policies, not to use his public position to advocate or author them.
No, White is still smug enough to waste ink on the pages of the Spartanburg Herald Journal belittling the grassroots advocacy of low- and middle-income families who want to enjoy the same privileges that wealthy families already have: equal access to a wide range of effective classrooms for their children. Continue reading