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.
Tax-Free Weekend at Best Mattress
With big savings from July 31st-August 2nd, you can afford handcrafted quality. Free bed frame and pillows on any Full, Queen, or King set $599 and above! Click for locations and hours.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
Columbia’s Largest Sidewalk Sale
Shop local this tax free weekend! Devine Street and Five Points are teaming up for a massive sidewalk sale featuring great in-store specials from all your favorite retailers and a Saturday art stroll. Read more hereand here!
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info