According to The State, Rex says K-12 education funding in South Carolina is –
“Part of a statewide tax structure that’s in desperate need of comprehensive repair,” Rex told more than 1,800 school principals and other educators gathered in Myrtle Beach. “Rather than fixing it, we’ve tinkered with piecemeal changes that make the system more complex, more unbalanced and less understandable.”
“Rex said it will be important to “look beyond ourselves, beyond our individual schools and school districts” for meaningful change to happen.
“We may be uncomfortable in the short term,” Rex said, “but in the long run it will be the only thing that saves our state from ruin.”
Jim Rex is being refreshingly honest about his own department’s tactics. The education bureaucracy’s typical method of “reforming” education in South Carolina has been to wait until the situation becomes undeniably bad, and then form a costly addition to the bureaucracy to supposedly address the need.
While the honesty is a nice change, it’s unfortunate that Rex is choosing to play the shrewd politician with South Carolina families. He obviously understands the reality of how shoddily public education is carried out in South Carolina, yet all his actions to undermine school choice prove that he has no intention of ever truly looking “beyond our schools and school districts.” Rex has shown time and again that parents’ choice in education, the most important element of true reform, will play no role in any ‘comprehensive repair’ that he wants to implement. Instead, parents can bet that any efforts by Rex to restructure education in South Carolina will be based on more power and money for the entrenched education bureaucracy. Giving children access to a real education plays no role in Rex’s machinations.
Make no mistake about it, Rex’s reference to being ” uncomfortable in the short term” means higher taxes to fund decades more of total bureaucratic control. This despite mountains of evidence that money is not reaching those who need it most.
Eighteen months ago a truly comprehensive reform plan was articulated for South Carolina by national education finance experts Brian Hassel and Marguerite Roza. Their detailed plan provides a specific policy prescription for the tangled mess of funding streams that pour more than $11,000 per child into South Carolina’s failing public schools.
Had Jim Rex ever cared about doing his job to help South Carolina students, he would have implemented this plan long ago. Instead, he continues to treat any options for logical and efficient education funding restructuring as if they don’t exist, and press on with his own partisan agenda.
Rex’s clever use of half-truths to deflect criticism from his own impotent administration shows him for what he is: another savy careerist politician.