Letters to the Editor

House Speaker Lucas’ proposed education bill full of harmful privatization provisions

House Speaker Jay Lucas
House Speaker Jay Lucas The State file photo

Two aspects of House Speaker Jay Lucas’ proposed education bill undermine the very system of public education it seeks to strengthen. These school choice provisions limit the public’s ability to monitor school reform.

The proposed bill seeks to establish “Schools of Innovation.” The bill does not define what innovation is, except to say that such schools are “exempt from state statutes which govern other schools.” The “innovation” described here rolls back public oversight, which leads to privatization and the removal of student protections guaranteed by the state constitution.

The “Transformation School District” is also poised to manage failing schools in partnership with charter school providers. Following disastrous examples established in Louisiana, this bill strengthens the hand of private entities to take over struggling schools. This hinders the ability of taxpayers, teachers and parents to oversee how schools are improved. It also opens the state up to civil rights violations as documented in New Orleans.

The General Assembly is on the right track by investing in public education. But it will remain in the “corridor of shame” if teachers and parents, not charter schools and private interests, are excluded from education reform in South Carolina.

Jon Hale

Charleston

Additional education bureaucracy wasteful, unproductive

As a career educator, I have been heartened by the emphasis the South Carolina General Assembly is finally placing on education. However, proposed legislation would also create more duplicative bureaucracy.

We already have a superintendent of education, a Department of Education, the Education Oversight Committee, the State Board of Education and an Economic Education Development Act Coordinating Committee. Now, it is proposed that the lieutenant governor be the “education czar” in charge of another 20-member education committee. Good grief!

Why do we need to have another costly, committee-driven education bureaucracy? Who’s going to have what authority within this morass? This proposal is just going to add another layer of red tape and confusion for school districts that already deal with more than enough of such foolishness.

If there is a need for organizational change, why can’t the existing structures be reworked and improved? If it is necessary to create another bureaucracy, then eliminate one first and streamline the entire structure. School districts are already drowning in enough strangling bureaucratic regulation, much of it coming from people who have never worked in a school.

Adding new layers of state bureaucracy is both wasteful and unproductive.

Frank Morgan

Camden

Telemarketing calls disruptive, even if unanswered

This situation is not new. The intrusion of telemarketers gets worse by the day! I do not enjoy calls that start early morning, I’m retired and look forward to quiet mornings. But that doesn’t happen any more. Recently, I was away for four days. When I returned, I had 32 missed calls; only ONE was from a known person.

There has to be a better way! These are people trying to make a living, but not at my expense!

I hear the same complaints from others. Is there any solution?

My phone numbers are in the Do Not Call list, but does no good if it’s not checked! This is so frustrating! I don’t answer if I don’t recognize the caller, but I do interrupt what I’m doing only to find it was unnecessary!!

Louise Ramsey

Columbia

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

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