SC politics: Senate panel mulls Common Core ‘compromise’ (+ video)

February 19, 2014 

Senate committee mulls Common Core ‘compromise’

A state Senate public education panel decided Wednesday to give its members a week to consider a “compromise” offered as a way to address criticism of the Common Core education standards without asking teachers to suddenly abandon them.

The Senate Education Committee’s K-12 education panel took up a bill, S. 300, that would have halted the enactment of the education standards in S.C. classrooms. But reversing the standards, which outline what students should know and be able to do at every grade level, would pose challenges for school districts that have been transitioning to using the standards since their 2010 adoption, senators said.

Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, a leading opponent of Common Core, offered a proposal that he called a “compromise with myself.”

The proposal would allow districts to continue using the standards, but they would be reviewed starting in 2016.

The proposal also would remove the state from a group of states working to develop a test aligned with Common Core. It also would give the General Assembly the final say in approving future education standards if they are not written by the state Department of Education.

Senators who had not seen the proposal asked for a chance to get feedback from superintendents and other interested parties in their districts. The panel voted to carry over the bill to next week.

Jamie Self

Senate panel approves bill to forgive snow days

A state Senate panel approved a bill Wednesday that would allow school districts to forgive up to five days of classes missed due to weather.

State law requires schools to be in session for 180 days each school year. Districts must include three days in their calendars to make up days missed due to weather. However, some S.C. districts have missed more than a week of classes this school year because of two winter storms.

Under the proposal, districts could choose to forgive up to five days after using their three makeup days. The bill, already passed by the House, must be approved by the Senate Education Committee before heading to the full Senate for consideration.

Lawmakers forgave up to five snow days in 2011. But some districts chose not to forgive the missed days.

Jamie Self

Graham challenger releases first TV ad

Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor released his first television ad Wednesday in his campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

One of five Republicans challenging Graham in June’s GOP primary, Connor’s ad will run for two weeks.

The ad begins with video of Graham praising then-Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a May 2012 Chicago Council on Global Affairs symposium:

“She’s dedicated to her job. She loves her country. I think she is a good role model, one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the American people that I’ve known in my lifetime.”

The voice over asks, “isn’t 20 years of Lindsey Graham in Washington enough?”

The ad also focuses on Connor’s military background as a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, an Afghanistan combat veteran and 23-year U.S. Airborne Ranger infantry officer.

“Bill Connor is a committed conservative and proven leader who can win,” the ad says.

In a news release, Connor criticized Graham for loudly demanding answers about the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, “while not disclaiming his praise” of Clinton.

Graham has been critical of Clinton for her handling of Benghazi, saying in January that “Hillary Clinton got away with murder in my view.”

Jamie Self

Graham opens Columbia campaign office

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was in Columbia on Wednesday for the grand opening of his local campaign office.

Graham, who faces five GOP challengers in June’s primary, ended his comments to supporters, who gathered at the Colonial Life Boulevard office, by referring generally to his detractors, who say he is too willing to work across the political aisle.

“Conservatism is a way to govern, but you have to govern,” he said. “The decisions I make will be what I think will be best for all of us. ... I will listen to anybody, but I’m not going to be told what to do in this job by people who want it their way exclusively. This is about governing the state and the nation.”

Jamie Self

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