So much for valuing education; vacation matters more

Posted by Cindi Ross Scoppe on May 28, 2014 

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

Remember how the Senate was holding firm against efforts in the House to cheat students of the education we promised them? Forget about it.

You might recall that the House was determined to use the great snows of 2014 as an excuse to shorten the 180-day school year — allowing (forcing, really) schools to ignore up to five missed school days. The Senate insisted that those days could only be forgiven if the schools had already used up three of the five snow days that state law requires them to build into their schedules.

Some schools, acting responsibly, went ahead and made up all of their snow days. Others decided to keep whining to the Legislature. And on Thursday, the whining paid off: The Senate gave in and passed H.5253, which allows Dorchester School District Two, Berkeley County School District and all of the Spartanburg County school districts to shorten the school year by up to five days, even if they didn’t use up a single one of their built-in snow days.

And the Senate didn’t agonize over this: After the House passed the bill in the absolute-minimum three days, the Senate followed suit — slowing down only long enough to add the Berkeley and Spartanburg districts to what started out as a Dorchester County bill. What that means is that not one senator was offended by this cheat-our-kids-out-of-their-education measure, which seems to treat school as a chore, a punishment.

We expect that attitude from students. But our legislators — and the school board members and parents who are cheering them on — are supposed to be grown-ups. They’re supposed to see a good education as an opportunity, an entitlement, a right for students.

Predictably, similar bills were introduced in the House on Tuesday to cover other districts.

It’d be nice to think that Gov. Nikki Haley would be offended by this legislation, and veto it, but it’s hard to imagine that her veto would stand.

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