A number of forums are being held around our state for the candidates vying to become state superintendent of education. Unfortunately, these events often become platforms for candidates to make broad emotional and philosophical statements without much substance.
I would suggest that forums for state superintendent candidates ask participants to respond to the following specific questions:
• Since the overwhelming majority of K-12 students in South Carolina attend public schools, what actual experience do you have working in public schools?
• The South Carolina Department of Education includes about 400 employees and oversees over $4 billion in state, federal and other funds. What is your specific experience in leading a large organization and overseeing a large budget?
• What is your position on the Common Core and curriculum standards in general?
• What is your position on high stakes testing?
• How should teachers and administrators be evaluated? Should test scores be used in evaluating teachers and administrators? If so, to what degree?
• What is your position on vouchers/tax credits and other strategies to support private schools with public funds? What should be the level of transparency and accountability required of private schools benefitting from public money?
• How should public education be funded? What do you see as the weaknesses of the current method of funding public education in South Carolina? How should these weaknesses be addressed?
Qualifications and specific positions do matter.
Dr. Frank E. Morgan
So-called Town Hall Meeting Wasn’t Open to Public
Last week, a local TV station reported on its morning broadcast that there would be a town hall meeting with South Carolina’s congressional delegation at the downtown Marriott in Columbia. The April 16 meeting was to be part of the programming at a South Carolina Chamber of Commerce event. I phoned the Marriott, which confirmed that the event was taking place and read me a schedule of the day’s activities.
Having experienced some South Carolina politicians’ past town hall meetings, it seemed beyond belief that the entire delegation would ever expose itself to the public at one particular time and place.
As it turned out, the “town hall meeting” was not open to the public. When I arrived with a friend just before 4 p.m., we walked down the corridor to where the business, corporate and lobbyist attendees were mingling with members of the delegation. We were then stopped at an entrance table and were directed to another table to register for the town hall meeting. There, we were asked if we were members of the chamber. I said, no, we were there for the town hall meeting.
To join the political elitists, we learned, we would each have to pay $125 to attend.
I reminded the staff person that the event had been promoted as a “town hall meeting” that was open to the public, told her that we were South Carolina constituents and veterans, and reiterated that we should be allowed to attend. The staff member then quietly talked with another member of the staff, after which we were told, again, we each would have to pay $125 to attend.
I then asked for the name of the chamber’s president, so that I could mention him in my report to the media about their “open to the public” meeting that was not open to the public. She hesitated. I waited. She then gave me the name of the chamber’s president and CEO, Otis Rawl.
It was later reported that three delegation members — GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn and GOP U.S. Sen. Tim Scott — did not attend.
The town hall meeting was a sham — a PR stunt that excluded the public. This sham seems to be just another example of plutocracy, corporate and elitist hypocrisy, as the delegation works for special interests in lieu of representing the people.
We the people must not and shall not be silent. Money in politics must no longer be tolerated. Profiteering elitist moneychangers shall be held accountable in 2014.
Be Kind, Adopt a Pet
My wife has accused me of liking animals more so than people. If this is true, the reason is that I see the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commercials and we have gotten two cats from the SPCA shelter in Aiken, S.C., which has many pets for adoption. I see these animals and it makes me very sad to think no one wants these lovable pets. If I could, I would take all of them.
I guess the reason for this short letter is to ask you to please consider taking one of these lovable pets home with you. You will feel very good about yourself for adopting a pet that is in great need of a home.
Thank you in advance for your kindness if you do adopt.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Currently seeking a friendly & detail-oriented individual for an Administrative Assistant/Data Entry Clerk position on our Administrative Office team. Primary responsibilities include: Data entry, process incoming & outgoing mail, good communication skills required. Contact: email@example.com.
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cupcake now hiring a closing manager. Must be outgoing, customer service focused, able to work evenings and weekends. Apply in person. 1213 Lincoln Street, Columbia SC 29201. freshcupcakes.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Town Center Apartment Homes in Lake Carolina THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Bran new apartments inside award-winning Lake Carolina. towncenteratlakecarolina.com
BB&T Home Mortgage Sharing knowledge with satisfied homeowners. BBT.com/Mortgage