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Echo Chamber – Educrats Assail African-American Senator July 29, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in Uncategorized.

goose step


FITSNews – July 29, 2007 – It didn’t take long for the education establishment to turn on S.C. Sen. Darrell Jackson.

After suggesting last month that a “time was coming” when he would support school choice given the unequivocal failure of South Carolina’s K-12 monopoly to meet the needs of our state’s students, the African-American Senator was publicly harangued this weekend by a leading member of the educrat establishment.

In a letter to The State newspaper on Saturday, Richland School District One Chairwoman Wendy C. Brawley publicly accused Jackson of harboring selfish motivations, being ignorant of African-American history, failing to adequately support public education and conspiring to “eliminate public education.”

“The senator appears to be searching for a new approach to funding education at his church,” Brawley’s letter reads, before moving on to question Jackson’s “recollection” of “forced segregation among public schools.”

Brawley then writes that Jackson “must accept the fact that our public schools deserve to have their basic needs met” before he and other state leaders “eliminate public education in favor of a system designed to provide choice to only those who can afford it.”

What Brawley’s letter conveniently fails to mention is that the few South Carolinians “who can afford it” already avail themselves of school choice, which is why proposals before the General Assembly in recent years have focused on providing choices to low and middle income families which together represent the vast majority of South Carolina households – both white and black.

Brawley also neglects to point out that the additional $1 billion in new revenue given to Palmetto public schools over the last four years has failed to make a dent in our state’s SAT scores and graduation rates, both of which remain the lowest in the nation.

Yet while Brawley’s regurgitation of the educrat talking points is hardly surprising (we’ve heard the foundation-less “more money/ class warfare/ choice destroys schools” arguments dozens of times in the past), the fact that this empty rhetoric is now being directed at Jackson represents a major shift in the school choice battle.

For years, this sort of unsubstantiated venom has been targeted exclusively at so-called “radical, out-of-state privatization backers,” with purveyors of the status quo spin never missing an opportunity to play the race card and fictitiously brand the would-be beneficiaries of choice as upper class white people.

But now we have the case of Sen. Jackson, a respected African-American leader who for years has gone along with the ever-escalating financial demands of the education establishment – only to watch it chronically and abysmally fail the children who need help the most.

Jackson (who was given the “Outstanding Legislator Award” from Brawley’s own S.C. School Boards Association in 1999) is suddenly a target of the very system he has spent the last fourteen years defending, dodging precisely the same baseless rhetorical salvos and predictible personal attacks.

To Brawley and her fellow educrat brawlers, Jackson is to be pilloried for the mere thought of establishing an independent school at his Bible Way Church. After more than a decade of “Choosing Children First” – to borrow one of the anti-choice establishment’s most oxymoronic slogans – Jackson has now apparently “lost touch” with his community’s needs, to quote Brawley’s letter.

And to think all this scorn being heaped upon his head is the result of nary a vote, simply a publicly-expressed willingness on his part to explore new ideas.

Personally, we think Jackson’s recent statements are both commendable and courageous. He is aggressively seeking to succeed where the current status quo has repeatedly and demonstrably failed, and his leadership at both the community and state level is desperately needed now more than ever.

But just as noteworthy is the response of the education establishment to Jackson’s statements – a clear indication that any deviation from the goose-stepping ranks of status quo adherants will not be tolerated, no matter what an individual’s credentials may be.

Fortunately for Jackson, the coalition that’s now gunning for him is on the decline in South Carolina.

The failure of the education establishment to override a gubernatorial veto of Democratic Superintendent Jim Rex’s sham “open enrollment” bill – despite numerous overt threats against black legislators – is a clear sign that the longtime stranglehold these pythons have held on African-American elected officials (and the children they represent) is rapidly drawing to a close.

The harsh invective directed against Jackson – albeit unoriginal – is as much a sign of desperation as it is a calculated risk.

Rather than confront the omnipresent failure of their system, educrats are banking on the hope that African-American legislators like Jackson can be “scared back in line” with threats and intimidation.

Will it work?

If the open enrollment override debate is any indication, the answer is a definitive “no.” Despite threats from its leaders, the Black Caucus was unable to hold in opposition to the governor’s veto – the best evidence yet that the alphabet soup forces of the S.C. Education Association, School Boards Association, School Administrators Association and State Department of Education have lost their decades-old vice-like grip on African-American legislators.

“The Black Vote = Power,” read a popular yellow and black bumper sticker printed up by the thousands during the heyday of anti-choice Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges.

Indeed it does, but it now appears that power could be shifting away from the very institutions who have abused and taken it for granted for far too long.



1. Silence Dogood - July 29, 2007

I am surprised people would attack the Senator over this decision. Like the decision to support Hillary Clinton for president one should have little doubt this decision is based solely on a personal ideology which apparently helps make a lot of his political decisions – benefit to his personal finances.

2. Yahoo - July 29, 2007

Richland District 1…haha, they are the ZaZa Gabor of education (lots of money, no ability…and a little bit crazy).

If Richland 1 is against it…them I am for it.

3. Milton Friedman - July 29, 2007

Mr. Rex, tear down this wall!

4. upstater - July 29, 2007

Just a point about vocabulary:

Does the term “educrat” really apply here? I thought it was a take-off on bureaucrat — bureaucrats who work in the education system…..superintendents, personnel directors, program coordinators, etc.

If that’s the origin of the term, then it would seem out of place here. The person who wrote the letter about Sen. Jackson’s comments is a school board member. Not an administrator or bureaucrat, but a democratically elected representative.

The board member may or may not be out of line with her comments, but again, it seems to me that the “educrat” insult doesn’t really fit the bill. It’s just one democratically elected politician disagreeing with another democratically elected politician.

Any thoughts, Will?

5. Will - July 29, 2007

Darrell Jackson always, always follows the money. He is the biggest shakedown artist to hit the General Assembly since the infamous Williamsburg County delegation of the 1980s departed (one died, the other went to prison).

Richland 1? Rosewood Elementary, Hand Middle and Dreher High are all excellent. Other schools (like AC Flora) have come a long way. The only truly bad schools in Richland 1 are located in crack-laden war zones. Yahoo would look at least as foolish trying to run those schools as he finds those now running them.

6. FITSNews - July 30, 2007


We fail to see the significance of your argument. If it quacks like an educrat …


7. silence dogood - July 30, 2007

Upstater, it is solely meant as a slang, derisive, derogatory term no actual definition and hence no reason need be used when throwing it out there. Frankly you are probably one of those filthy educrats (and a non-patriot who hates freedom) for even asking the question in the first pace, so be more careful next time.

8. Testing the Waters - July 30, 2007

Will. “Educrat” is a nonsensical label only used in mindless rhetoric by uninformed fanatics when they have nothing intelligent to say. 🙂

When you say “educrat” we know you really mean “…responsible and well meaning professionals honestly working in the best interests of all children.”

Darrell was probably just testing the waters in case the SCRG money changers “up” their offer to him. You know they’re working hard to “convert” anyone they can. By the way, D.J. is already catching lots of heat for his foolish comment. We won’t hear it from him again.

Speaking of trying to “convert” people. How come you’ve been so uncharacteristically quite about the expo over at BBQ? Great stuff!

Gervais has published clear, excellent and irrefutable research on the sham “grass roots” organizations (like SCRG) and how they’re trying to “convert” the Legislature with out-of-state money. And, we think your readers will know what we mean when we say “convert.”

9. upstater - July 30, 2007

Hey Will — It’s not all THAT significant. But I just think it’s one of those small (and somewhat small-minded) ways the public education bashers bash away….they try to lump all those folks together with the “educrat” label….which has the ring of — as with complaints about “bureaucrats” — being isolated, walled-off from the public; maybe the image of pencil-pushers trying to keep the system afloat but with little or no vision.

That’s how “educrat” sounds to me, anyway.

And it may be fair in some cases. But in this case, you’re talking to someone who was elected by the voters in her community. She may be right or wrong about this and other issues. But isolated from the public, untouchable and buffered by layers of administrative machinery, bureaucrat-style? No. School board members are democratically elected and must answer to the voters — same as Sen. Jackson himself.

So, I don’t think it “walks like, quacks like….” anything, really. It’s just one elected official in disagreement with another elected official. Politics. Not bureaucracy.

Again, it’s not that big a deal. But I do think language matters. So while I think you have a talent for language, I think it’s misused in this case.

10. yes - July 31, 2007

Statistically kids with parents who can afford private schooling are going to have an above average intellegence. Above average students are generally going to score well on standardized testing. Funding, as well as overall success, has been tied to testing. School choice proponents equate learning to capitalistic theory: Strive for excellence, or go out of business. This analogy doesn’t work because kids aren’t widgets. And what do you do with the children whose school just went out of business? Abandon them?
There are many teachers in impoverished areas that may serve as the only positive influence in several of their students’ lives. How are you going to make me fly when I can’t get out this fuggin ditch? Who’s to blame? Jim Rex? Inez? Public school teachers? Treat kids like widgets and you’re just going to see the law of averages at work. Start busing them around and see if scores go up. School choice is just a diversion from the real problem but unfortunately, beyond protection from neglect, the government can’t force parents to give a shit about their kids. So what are we to do? Let the money follow the smart (and rich) kids. Didn’t we have a very similar system in the south that similarly challenged and reshaped our paradigms of educational equality? ….rhymes with legregation. Oh but the school choice people want to help poor kids! OOOOOHHH, might want to pour yourself a extra tall glass of that….you know so as to get that taste of bullshit out of your mouth.

11. upstater - July 31, 2007

Yes —
I would argue that very targeted vouchers may have some positive effect for poor children.

But I would vehemently argue that Put Parents in Charge — as Gov. Sanford and Will Folks advocated — is seriously questionable. It guaranteed NOTHING to the poor. The scholarship organizations might have helped. Maybe a lot, even. But there was no guarantee AT ALL to the poor. Middle-class families, though, were guaranteed a tax break. I would think they’d have gotten the first dibs on existing space in private schools. And that doesn’t even get into the question of whether top private schools would even consider taking in our state’s most struggling students.

Big school choice proponents respond to these concerns by simply saying that the free market will take care of everything. Of course, Will Folks just ran a story about The State — a big-business, corporate-run, for-profit newspaper — had decided NOT TO SERVE customers in various parts of the state. The idea that for-profit entities are going to spring up in Allendale or Colleton or Bamberg or Union counties to take care of the kids in our state who are poorest and most challenging to teach seems a little unrealistic to me. Additionally, most private schools are run, in part, on ongoing charitable donations and endowments….not just tuition dollars.

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