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South Carolina’s worst-in-the-nation public school system will not apply for national “green ribbon” status.

Thirty-three states (and the District of Columbia) are participating in the U.S. Department of Education program, which aims to “improve (schools) energy efficiency, create healthy environments for students and staff, and enhance their work to effectively prepare graduates for 21st century careers.”

Specifically, the program asks states to nominate schools that make progress toward achieving a “net zero environmental impact of facilities, net positive health impact on students and staff, and 100 percent environmentally literate graduates.”

Wait … environmentally-literate? No wonder South Carolina isn’t participating in this program … our public schools still haven’t got the regular literacy thing down.

Of course S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais had a different rationale for opting out of this controversial program.

“A dollar spent ‘greening’ a school is a dollar not spent in the classroom improving educational outcomes for students,” Zais wrote in a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Mick Zais: No Green Ribbons

Zais added that he believes the program is about “placating environmental lobbyists” and would add “burdensome” requirements to our state’s education system, which is clearly incapable of produce positive academic outcomes as it is.

We support Zais. 100 percent.

In fact, this boondoggle is yet another example of why the U.S. Department of Education should be abolished. Not only are they performing a non-core function of government – they’re doing the bidding of a bunch of anti-free market eco-radicals in the process.

Seriously … “Green Ribbon Schools? Does this mean that these kids will one day grow up to fill “Green Jobs?”

Oh right … those aren’t so much happening, are they?

Look, the goal of ridiculous programs like this one clearly isn’t to educate our children, it’s to indoctrinate them. Of course in South Carolina that’s not really possible seeing as the policy of the state is apparently to keep our population too dumb to realize how hopelessly screwed they are.

And how bad taxpayers are getting ripped off …

South Carolina lawmakers have been pumping increasing amounts of money into the state’s failed “one size fits all” system for years – including a record $11,754 per student this year (not counting bonds, investments and transfers). What has this massive, ever-escalating investment purchased?

Our SAT scores continue to decline and our graduation rate remains next-to-last in the nation. Also, a recent report found that more than one-third of the nation’s 100 worst public schools are located in South Carolina.

Unfortunately, a comprehensive parental choice plan that would have given tens of thousands of  children a way out of these failing schools – not to mention applied some long-overdue market-based pressure on those schools – wasn’t even considered by state lawmakers this year.

Let’s hope that changes in 2012 …