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.
Brew Pub Site Available
3520 Augusta Road, West Columbia. Click for more information.
Accepting Applications for Shakespeare’s Kidz!
Students ages 10-16 are invited to join South Carolina Shakespeare’s new youth company, with classes running September 20th-December 11th followed by a final performance. Contact Katie Mixon with questions about scholarships and applications: PKatieMixon@gmail.com.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Wing Zone is now hiring for experienced delivery drivers, cooks & cashiers. Apply in person @ 132 Assembly St. or call 803-933-9464.
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Free Times is looking for a highly organized, detail-oriented self-starter to assist in gathering material from advertisers, coordinating between the sales and production departments, and handling routine clerical tasks. Must be proficient on a Mac, able to conduct business via phone, email, text, Dropbox, social media platforms and face to face while under deadline in a fast-paced, sometimes distracting work environment. The position requires the ability to multitask, excellent oral and written communication skills, and solid experience in quickly learning new computer programs. This is a full time position with benefits. Send a cover letter, resume and salary expectation to email@example.com.
Real Estate Spotlight
Mungo Homes. Celebrating 60 years of our family building for your family. mungo.com