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For years, South Carolina has shelled out millions of dollars annually on bonuses to public school teachers who attained national board certification. In fact, our educrat establishment repeatedly touts the fact that more than 7,000 teachers in the Palmetto State are board certified (the third-highest total in the nation).

What has this multimillion dollar program done for academic achievement in South Carolina, though?

Absolutely nothing. Less than nothing, even, as our state continues to fall further behind the rest of the nation … which itself is falling further behind the rest of the world.

“Teacher raises should be tied to one thing and one thing only – the academic progress of their students,” we wrote two years ago.

We feel the same way today.

Earlier this week, the S.C. House Ways and Means committee – hardly a bastion of common sense thought – finally took the first tentative steps in this direction by shutting down the state’s certification bonus program. Bear in mind they’re not taking any money away from teachers who have already completed the program, they’re just closing it to new  participants.

Good for them.

South Carolina’s educrat establishment will scream bloody murder but let’s be honest – they’re part of the problem. These overpaid administrators soak up the sun on taxpayer-funded beach vacations each summer and then come back in the fall and force teachers to shake down parents for classroom supplies.

It’s embarrassing.

Seriously … we’re paying $11,754 per student (not counting bonds, investments and transfers) and our public schools can’t afford paper and pencils?

Please …

Anyway, just as this state’s failed “one size fits all” model of public education could use some free market competition – it could also benefit from following market-based principles.

No teacher bonuses should be awarded for anything except gains in students’ academic achievement. And when we say “academic achievement,” we’re not referring to our state’s “fake it till you make it” dumbed down standards, either.

Let’s hope the full S.C. House, the State Senate and Gov. Nikki Haley go along with this recommendation. Let’s also hope that this is the year they finally stop stalling on parental choice – the one academic reform that our state desperately needs if it hopes to become competitive in the global battle for jobs and investment.