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Raise Your Voice February 20, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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school choice rally kids

‘VOICE FOR SCHOOL CHOICE’ WEBSITE HAS LOADS OF GOOD INFO ON KEY S.C. EDUCATION ISSUE

FITSNews – February 20, 2007 – We’ve made no bones on this site (or on the Original FITS) about our strong support for school choice. With South Carolina ranking last in the nation in SAT scores, last in graduation rates and with one in three of our public schools rated as failing or below average (trapping an estimated 200,000 children), opening up this failed, monopolistic system to some market-based accountability is a no-brainer.

Particularly when that accountability has been proven to raise achievement levels in public schools everywhere else it’s been implemented.

Anyway, we stumbled onto “The Voice For School Choice” website the other day while doing some background research for a story on Superintendent Jim Rex, and have been meaning to put up a link to the site on FITSNews for awhile now. The “Voice” is a great resource for folks looking to learn more about this key S.C. education issue.

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Comments»

1. Robert - February 20, 2007

[…]We don’t really want to hear from anybody else.[…]

Pretty much the mantra of the school choice movement. I find it ironic that school choicers claim to speak for the people when Karen Floyd, who ran on a platform of school choice, was the only Republican defeated for SC constitutional office. Not to mention the whole SCRG debacle. There are, after all, more options to improve the public school system then funneling money from that very system to private schools. Just because inept South Carolina bureaucrats and politicians have failed to facilitate that solution doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

2. fitsnews - February 20, 2007

Robert,

We’ll grant you your last point, but for what it’s worth our contention all along was that it was Karen Floyd’s failure to support legitimate school choice options unilaterally and unapologetically that ultimately cost her the election. Had she truly “run on a platform of school choice” as you suggest, she probably would have won.

But that’s water under the bridge.

You are also correct in pointing out that there are dozens of other important solutions – whether funding the child through a single weighted formula, consolidating school districts, ditching the useless PACT test in favor of a legitimate diagnostic assessment, overhauling the bloated SDE, funding merit pay (not useless national certification bonuses) and yes, implementing public school choice as Dr. Rex has suggested.

Our only question to you is that if you support all of these solutions, why would you oppose a solution that has proven effective at raising PUBLIC school achievement wherever it’s been implemented?

More kids graduate from public schools because of choice. They perform better on tests. The dropout rate is down. More are advancing to two-year and four-year degree programs.

What’s your beef with these outcomes? Or should we continue to wait for the magical mystery solution?

-FITS

3. herbert1820 - February 20, 2007

Will,

Thanks for the link. I know it’s been said before but you’re the man.

Robert,

Karen Floyd lost by .05% of the vote–fewer than 500 votes out of over 1 million cast. To put that into perspective, the Libertarian candidate got 40 times as many votes as the margin of victory.

Floyd was also not a pure school choice candidate. There were many issues in the race and she was attacked on many fronts including “Willie Horton” style ads that insinuated that her political ineptitude had led to a murder and also less vicious ads that claimed she was too inexperienced for the job.

But all of this is ancient history. Let’s work together on improving our schools. The kids are suffering. It’s not cool that SC schools are worst in achievement and attainment and it may–it just may–have something to do with our extremely high rates of unemployment, violent crime, and incarceration down the line.

Every kid deserves a chance to go to an excellent school–public, independent, Christian, charter, homeschooling, virtual schools, magnet schools, etc, etc.

So why is it that you’re accusing the school choice movement of being intolerant?

4. Amanda - February 20, 2007

Just interested–people you claim to hate(The Mayor of Importantville, Hugh Leatherman) sign on with the candidate you love(McCain) and the consultant family you are real close to(the Quinns).

Politics sure does make strange bedfellows.

5. Robert - February 20, 2007

Will,

I probably came off a bit too strong against school choice. I’m automatically suspicious of the idea because of things like social equity, lack of oversight, and, frankly, the people that advocate for it. I think it’s worth a try, but only if we are prepared to do the things you listed above and not abandon our public schools.

6. fitsnews - February 20, 2007

Couple things:

Amanda – We don’t love McCain. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again our first choice for Prez right now is probably Bill Richardson, followed closely by Hizzoner. We’ve also said this before and we’ll say it again – we’re not on anybody’s ’08 payroll. (Let’s face it – we can’t all roll like Darrell Jackson in the Black BMW X-5).

As for our good friend and loyal commenter Robert, the new school choice bill includes accountability on testing, it includes accountability on financial reporting and there’s accountability on public disclosure. This bill has three pages of accountability. On top of that, it also has the kind of accountability you don’t get from a monopoly, the accountability of the marketplace.

And we believe in social equity, too, but if you think the system responsible for the Corridor of Shame is currently providing it, think again.

So by our count, all that leaves us with is your “suspiciousness” of “the people that advocate for (school choice).”

Point taken. Come to think of it, that picture we posted of birthday boy Randy Page giving the judo leg kick the other day was probably enough to make anyone suspicious.

-FITS


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