“Schools protecting turf”
A letter to the Sun News editor by Robert G. Holland Sr. of Myrtle Beach.
Ever wonder why local school boards elected by the people pay dues to belong to their own statewide association?
The letter by Paul Krohne, executive director of the S.C. School Boards Association, shows why (“Truth comes out: Vouchers don’t help poor,” May 12). The objective is to insulate local boards from credible challenge and preserve the status quo in public education.
Krohne sneers about advocates of school choice failing during the recent hearings in Columbia to invoke the largely discredited argument that competition will improve public schooling in South Carolina. Huh? The truth is that when competition has been introduced elsewhere into K-12 education, it has raised student achievement and parental satisfaction.
Mainly Krohne turned the possibility of tax credits helping some private schools stay in business into a smear against all potential beneficiaries. Of course, the demise of a private sector would increase costs and class sizes in the public schools, but evidently that would be hunky-dory with those who believe the government schools have exclusive claim on parents’ pocketbooks and their children.
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
Columnist Issac Bailey of the Sun News editorializes on School Choice in South Carolina and Washington DC (5/16).
“Education decisions disappoint”
I haven’t decided whether I’m more disappointed in Gov. Mark Sanford or President Obama.
In the latest school choice debate, the governor seemed all but silent. He felt it more important to hammer home his principles about limited government and tax cuts in the fight over a stimulus package he could not stop. The $700 million he has some control over may be wrestled away by the General Assembly, which passed a budget that included the stimulus money. That means a court fight is likely, one Sanford stands a good chance of losing.
Without that money, the state expects an additional 500 teachers to lose their jobs on top of 1,000 others that probably can’t be saved.
Sanford tried to use his leverage to force needed reform in state government, but he forgot one of the most important reforms, that of our educational system.
His “Put Parents First” bill of a few years ago wasn’t perfect, but it pushed the school choice debate onto the front page in a state slow to change. It would not have gotten that far without Sanford’s visible support. I like vouchers more than the tax credits he initially pushed. Still, because of his advocacy for choice, reform within the public school system happened more rapidly.
The charter school system is more robust, and the “public school choice” bill Superintendent of Education Jim Rex seems to be successfully ushering through the Statehouse probably would not have occurred at all had there not been a real school choice movement. Continue reading
The Associated Press is reporting details of a new 50-state review of online government transparency and ease of public access to state records.
The study was conducted jointly by the Sunshine Week Initiative, the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Freedom of Information Committee, and the Society of Professional Journalists’ FOI Committee. According to the rankings, based on the ease of access to a list of various documents and publications, South Carolina is ranked 25th of the 50 states. But that number hides the real story. Continue reading
From Monday’s Sun News:
Times are tough in Horry County. Parents are worried public schools will be hit hard by the budget crisis. Jim Rex, the state’s education superintendent, has warned of possible job cuts for teachers or a shortened school week to save bus fuel. Horry County’s own superintendent, Cynthia Elsberry, has talked about the need to “do less with more.”
Lawmakers recently met in Columbia to determine just how much state funding needs to be tightened. Longtime Horry County school board member Ronald Bessant wants targeted cuts. He explained: “We don’t hurt any of the areas where we’ve had or where we need student success.”
But some parents are skeptical about educators crying wolf. Continue reading