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Edu-Failure Machine Rolls Forward in Allendale, Bureaucratic Blame Shifter in Chief Continues to Grandstand, Fundraising Hypocrisy from Reps Cooper and Sandifer

July 17, 2008

South Carolinians for Responsible Government

July 17, 2008

I. Edu-Failure Machine Rolls Forward in Allendale
II. Bureaucratic Blame Shifter in Chief Continues to Grandstand
III. Fundraising Hypocrisy from Reps Cooper and Sandifer

I. Edu-Failure Machine Rolls Forward in Allendale
( from The Voice for School Choice blog)

The public schools in Allendale and Lee Counties may be the absolute worst schools in all of the United States. They are certainly the lowest performing in South Carolina, where the statewide average SAT scores and graduation rate linger at or around 50th each year in national rankings.

Now, we hear that Jim Rex’s State Department of Education is unwilling to take direct over control of these failing schools, despite having run failing schools in the past as an attempt to “reform” them in accordance with state and national accountability laws.
>From 1999 to 2007 the entire district of Allendale was managed by the state, but frankly, that didn’t seem to help.

Thursday’s State News Paper explains:
“Two failing schools were called before the state Board of Education Wednesday. Fairfax Elementary in Allendale and Mount Pleasant Middle in Lee County avoided state takeover. But if they do not improve within coming months, the state still could take control, Rex added.”

“There were enough extenuating circumstances that we decided to put (these schools) on a short leash but give them another chance,” Rex said.

At Fairfax Elementary school in Allendale hopes are being pinned on a new principal:
“New Fairfax principal Dewey Carey, who has been charged before with reviving similar rural, low-income schools in Georgia, said he can turn the school around.
‘By no means will I tolerate incompetence in the classroom,” Carey said. “You hurt too many children in the classroom if you do that.'”

These two comments speak volumes about public education in South Carolina.
1. After years of sustained failure the State Superintendent analogizes the schools to misbehaving dogs. And 2. Following eight years of state intervention and $11 million in additional funding a high dollar out-of-state administrator has finally been recruited to enforce a “no incompetence” policy.

State government will NOT succeed where local government has failed. In fact, greater centralization of K-12 education through the State Department of Education has actually led to growing performance gaps between both black and white students, as well as between rich and poor students.

Nor is money the problem. In 2006, Allendale public schools served 1,704 students and spent $23,680,637.00 to educate them. That works out to $13,897.09 per pupil! The problem is the no-transparency, no-accountability, no-competition model of government schooling itself.

No one can seriously expect a state government which oversees the nation’s highest violent crime rate and the country’s third highest illiteracy rate to design and administer an effective and equitable system of schools. Rather than continue to fail these children by denying them educational opportunity, lawmakers ought to take a portion of the $13,800 per pupil allotment, and give it to parents for their children. Even just one-third of that money would be enough for a private school tuition (the national average is less than $5,000).
This would mean more money for those who remain in public schools, improvements for all students through introduction of competition, and the ability of parents to control their children’s educational future.

But, thanks to politicalized bureaucrats, special interest money, and “Know Nothing” lawmakers looking to protect their turf, the greater likelihood is that public schools in Allendale and Lee will be given more public money to waste as they systematically destroy any hope of future academic, professional, or personal success in the lives of their students. All the while, Rex and others will continue to apologize for these “third world” educational conditions.

What do you think about the situation in Allendale? Let us know here.

II. Bureaucratic Blame Shifter in Chief Continues to Grandstand
( from The Voice for School Choice blog)

Once again Jim Rex and Co. are trying to pass the buck for decades of public school failure on to people who died a hundred years ago.

According to this article from The Charleston Post and Courier, the failed education establishment is trying to drum up support for a wording change in the state constitution.
Rather than deal with the host of real problems that are further wrecking SC public schools, education “leaders” want to quibble about editing the document to interpret South Carolina’s educational standard as “high quality” rather than “minimally adequate.”

In a burst of editorial fervor, P&C reporter Diette Courrege writes of the issue,
“It’s a debate about the state’s education system and whether the Legislature is providing enough money for it. It’s a discussion about the priority that South Carolinians are willing to put on education and back it up with their tax dollars.”

Unfortunately this statement is completely ungrounded in reality…

Read the full story here. Let us know your thoughts here.

III. Fundraising Hypocrisy from Reps Cooper and Sandifer

For imcumbent politicians, accusing other candidates of taking “out of state money” is all the rage. Despite these incumbents, and many in the media, professing indignation about “special interest” funding,there is a very different side to the story.

Out of state corporations pour many thousands of dollars into the campaign accounts of the very lawmakers who squeal about other candidates who receive contributions from outside South Carolina.

The Voice for School Choice recently exposed the hypocrisy and greed of two such House members, Representative Bill Sandifer, and Representative Dan Cooper.

Click here to read how much out of state money Dan Cooper pulled in in personal and PAC donations.

Bill Sandifer, after attacking his primary opposition for taking out of state money, actually took MORE money from out of state corporations than his opposition did. Click here to see how much.

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