SC Politicians: Education Fail Is All Howard Rich’s Fault!

OUR SCHOOLS STINK BECAUSE … HUH? For years the South Carolina Republican Party platform has called for the adoption of universal school choice legislation – a rare example of an establishment entity embracing real reform in this notoriously change-averse state. The only problem? Numerous “Republican” politicians still refuse to support…

rotten apple


For years the South Carolina Republican Party platform has called for the adoption of universal school choice legislation – a rare example of an establishment entity embracing real reform in this notoriously change-averse state. The only problem? Numerous “Republican” politicians still refuse to support parental choice. In fact two “GOP” State Senators – one of whom was endorsed by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley last year – have made it their mission in life to attack choice and demonize those who advance it.

S.C. Senators Wes Hayes (RINO-York) and Larry Martin (RINO-Pickens) – two far left politicians who’ve had plenty of practice “killing messengers” they disapprove of – were at it again this week. Only this time they weren’t attacking this website’s founding editor, they were attacking longtime school choice supporter Howard Rich – who had the audacity to make legal campaign contributions to both Hayes’ and Martin’s opponents in 2012.

Not surprisingly Rich’s contributions were the subject of yet another hit piece in The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper – an outlet which has been attacking parents’ right to choose for more than a decade.

Rich is an inviting target for these liberal “good ol’ boys” and left-leaning reporters because he’s a) a Yankee, b) Jewish, and c) wealthy – making him the ultimate “not from ’round here” persona. But the debate over Rich’s involvement in South Carolina (where he has no financial interests) isn’t about the anti-Semitism lurking just below the surface of the attacks against him, or the ridiculous “Palmetto State knows best” mentality responsible for running our state into the ground over the last two centuries.

Nor does this debate have anything to do with the amount of money Rich donated to Hayes’ and Martin’s opponents – or the pile of cash Hayes and Martin took in 2012 from a host of taxpayer-funded interests (including the six-figured bureaucrats managing our state’s failing government-run education system).

We can follow the money, sure … but ultimately the money must stand for something bigger than itself.

Which leads us to what this debate is really about: The unmitigated failure of our state’s worst-in-the-nation (and getting worse) taxpayer-subsidized schools – and what must be done to raise academic achievement for future generations.

Aside from that, nothing else in this debate matters. Sadly, while “Republicans” like Hayes and Martin obsess over the audacity of a man exercising his First Amendment freedoms in, thousands of South Carolina school children slip further beneath the waves … a pattern of generational failure which (as we noted in this recent piece) has proven resistent to any and all government-based reforms.

More tax money? Fail …

A new early childhood agency? Fail …

Government-administered accountability? Fail …

On every academic measurement that matters (SAT, ACT, graduation rate, etc.), South Carolina is falling further behind the rest of America – which is falling further behind the rest of the world. Of course to hear leftists like Hayes and Martin tell it, the real reason for the ongoing decline of our state’s government-run education system has been the “distraction” created by Rich’s school choice movement over the last few years.

Astounding …

South Carolina has a simple choice – it can either adopt market-based reforms which have proven effective at raising academic achievement, or it can continue pumping larger sums of tax money into a demonstrably failed government-run system.

Beyond that fundamental dynamic, nothing else in this debate really matters …


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CNSYD January 15, 2013 at 10:12 am

Sic Willie plays the antisemitism card as quickly as Obama supporters play the race card.

SC parents already have the choice between public and private schools.

ceilidh10 January 15, 2013 at 10:48 am

Market based reforms do not work. The wallet speaks. Go to Bishop England or Heathwood Hall or Porter Gaud or Christ Church School if you want your kid to get a quality high school education. I attended a top rate private school here in South Carolina, and look at me, I can whip Willie’s incorrect peceptions any day of the week on this website. (he hee)

Put your money where your mouth is. Put the little brat in private school.

Call me Fishmeal January 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm


If you’re the poster child for private schooling, I’m glad my kids are in public school…

Zobro January 15, 2013 at 10:07 pm

A: Research shows competition DOES improve public schools, but not when there is an exodus of the parents that invest effort and time in the public schools. Improving schools with competition requires public/parent investment in EFFORT in the schools.

B: Rich’s benevolence IS suspect, as in what’s he going to get out of changing SC schools, but in our system rich guys can put down the money where and when they want for whatever reason they want.

C: Looking at the results or potential of Rich’s involvement in SC politics, 90% of the solid grassroots competition the traditional political machine has contended with the last few cycles were clearly funded by the rich libertarians. Think Kochs.

D: Douch-a-hue direct ran an entire campaign based on making Larry Martin into a victim. The truth: it would take 700 monkeys 700 years to randomly stumble across the micro-difference between Rex Rice and Larry Martin.

E: Douch-a-hue and Martin took money from the same types of people that traditionally supported Rice, and if they thought the race was tighter or a loser, they would have thrown babies off of buildings to raise money from Eastern European terrorists to win.

F: Rex Rice ran a half-assed, laZy campaign and he let the worst of the right-wing loony-toons step out front of his campaign. Martin and Douch-a-hue’s win over Rice was like a College Senior picking on a middle schooler.

G: Giving teachers, cafeteria workers, HVAC workers, and secretaries life-time retirement and locked-in pay steps etc. is crushing local operational flexibility.

H: Guys like Martin and Hayes should focus more on actually doing something about the problems with school performance and worry less about critics…or getting revenge!

toyota kawaski January 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

House payment due

Howie Rich January 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

Glad to see the money I’m giving you is paying off in something other than my sanctioned attacks on Nikki Haley. Thanks for the defense.

– Howie

Isotope Soap January 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

At least I was spared that bastard’s shit eating mug…

GrrrrNative January 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

I don’t care what the issue is. If someone from outside the state is spending millions to get certain people elected here, I have a problem with it. I don’t vote for anyone that takes his money. Nothing personal against Rich…it could be Trump for all I care.

Jan January 15, 2013 at 11:30 am

And giving Taxpayer money to people whose children are already attending South Carolina’s worst in the nation private schools will have no impact on any of the problems you espouse. It is not education reform, it is giving up on public education. It is just a way for parents with children in private school to totally abandon public eduction in this state.

Anti-Semitism, what a joke. I doubt most people had even thought about whether Rich was Jewish or not before this article, and further could not care less. He still should have to divulge what South Carolina politicians he is paying off, and what he expects for his money. Nobody gives money to politicians without expecting something in return.

Further, why shouldn’t these politicians attack Rich. He spent money running an underhanded dishonest campaign against them.

Rich and people like him are what is wrong with politics in this country. People who believe the government should be part of the free market and political office should belong to the highest bidder.

No one is restricting any one’s choice. You can send your kids Public school, Private school, or let them be home schooled. They can go to school in state or they can go to school out of state. They can go to a good public school or a bad public school. They can go to a good private school or a bad private school. You have Universal choice.

We need to concentrate on improving public education, not on giving money to people who would not even send their kids to excellent public schools.

SparkleCity January 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

You’ve got a point.

All elections should be market based kinda like Junior High School Mister & Misses “Goober Junior High”.

The politician who get the most money in their glass jar in the cafertia gets the job. No matter how big of an asshole or tramp they are.

Come to think of it, that is basically how it is now…………

Basically, market based situations when it comes to government matters can be hit or miss. They tried privitizing military housing and it has been a BIG failure on a lot of bases.

Then again, if FITS is a true libertarian, we should contract out the military and go back to a mercernary force. It was very successful in the 1400’s – 1600’s.

Same for police,fire and medical response (EMT’s).

Like some are posting: You get what you pay for.

Say What? January 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

Until you do something about parents taking charge of their kids nothing is going to stop the downward spiral, not even Rich. This is not a money issue, its a damn behavior issue that teachers and administration can’t do a thing about. For all of those RINO’s (Bright, Davis, et al) who back Rich, you need to go sit in a classroom and see what the problem is. Let the teachers fix the problem and support how they do it and you will see grades and behavior improve to a point where we won’t need Rich’s money buying RINO’s here in SC.

SparkleCity January 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

In all seriousness you are exactly right.

You are more legally responsible for the actions of your dog than you are for your kids (who are all now grown and thankfully out of the house – at the moment anyway….)

I’ve had the honor of raising three Rottweillers and 2 kids and there ain’t too much difference except that you can reason with a Rottweiller!!!

At least the Rotts understood that I would kill them if they “bit the hand that fed & sheltered them”!!

Can’t say the same for the kids though………..

reasonable January 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

Jan is correct, not in calling our private schools the worst in the nation, but in pointing out that we already have school choice in South Carolina. I choose to send my children to a private school but am adamantly opposed to using public funds for private education. If I choose it, I should be responsible for paying for it. In all the years the debate has been put forward, no one has set out a plan to illustrate the many ways using public money for private education will serve the greater good. They seem to think the rest of us are too dumb to ask for more proof beyond the platitude that the free market always sorts things out for the best. This is really simply an argument for helping folks like me pay for private education with other people’s money…in other words an entitlement program for those who don’t need it. Vouchers will not make quality, accredited schools affordable for the many.

SparkleCity January 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm


Especially when the “Latwanda’s”,”Shikira’s”,”Jose’s”,”Haji’s” “Rajit’s” or ” Little Miss Wican of 2013″ of the world show up at Bishop England demanding to be admitted because the state issued voucher allows them to do so!!!

Jan January 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

How do you know South Carolina’s private schools are not the worst in the nation?

BigT January 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

The PROBLEM: In Districts w/ Hard Working, Taxpaying people…they LOVE Public schools…And FITS is too Stupid to understand that because he has no Heavy-lifting (been in the field) expereince….

It’s like Everything else..until you can get the No. 1 Reason for the problem (THE DEMOCRATS) to admit what a FAILURE they are as citizens and as parents you won’t see any change..

Getting Liberals and Hand-out Takers to be HONEST…GOOD LUCK W/ THAT…

SparkleCity January 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I’ve got a 115 pound Rottweiller who is a “yellow-dog Democrat (even if he is really black & tan) who would love to argue that point……..

When can I come over and let you convince him of that?

We can go target shooting afterward!!!

reasonable January 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

It appears Sparkle City hasn’t visited many of our better private schools recently. Most have as much and sometimes more diversity than advanced placement classes in the public schools. These are not the white flight schools of the past…thank goodness.

SparkleCity January 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Just wait…………..

The Colonel January 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Reasonable, Sparkle is correct about Bishop England (and several other high dollar private schools, who despite their billboards indicating they are diverse, are about as lily white as they can legally be). That said, most of our private schools are no longer the bastions of ivory virtue they once were.

What you are beginning to see is the African American parents who:
a) give a damn about their kids education
b) can afford to provide them with a quality education
c) don’t have a chip on their shoulder about whitey,
sending their children to private schools where the “whatever culture” is forbidden or at least toned waaaaaaaay down.

That is one of the reasons you see fewer black children in the magnet programs. Those whose parents would have pushed them into the higher performing magnets have instead chosen to put them in a school where all of the students are performing at a higher level. Obviously this is not universal but in RCSDII it is readily apparent. The same appears to be true in Greenville County and in several other similar demographic school districts state wide.

EJB January 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I don’t agree with school choice as has been proposed at all. At the same time I don’t mind that Rich spends his money in South Carolina trying to convince me and others differently, the more he spends the better for our economy. Its not like its making much of a difference, so spend more, double even, we’ll get tax revenue out of it some way or another.

School choice as proposed can not work because it does not address the core problems. Private schools, on average, probably do produce better students with better grades, but there is an accountability and responsibility involved in that environment that is not duplicated in public schools, presently. If a kid misbehaves he can be kicked out. If a teacher performs poorly she can be easily fired. There aren’t a slew of crazy, foolish, regulations governing private schools. Want a shocker? Look up how many regulations there are on private schools in South Carolina. In a Federal Department of Education publication, “State Regulation of
Private Schools”, from 2009 on state regulations, of the various states, there is one page for South Carolina, and it’s blank. Maybe that has changed in the last couple years.

A teacher in public school tries to discipline a kid and he’s called a racist and put on the carpet. A teacher fights back when assaulted by a student and the teacher is suspended. Some public school teachers leave the public schools to work for less in private schools. Also, we limit the pool of available teachers to only those that have degrees. Why? Seriously, do you need a degree to teach a grade school child the alphabet, simple arithmetic? I doubt if many home schooled children have degreed “teachers”. I’ve known people with no degree that could teach history better than some with doctoral degrees in history. Speaking of doctors, what the heck are we doing hiring doctors in K-12 level education? There are a number teachers that have master’s degrees and the tax payers are paying a premium for that. Also, South Carolina has one of the highest percentages of “Board Certified” teachers for which we, the taxpayers, pay a $7,500 premium per year for 10 years. “So what, their worth it”, really, where does this state rate again? Choice as proposed will help some but it will be at the expense of making things far worse, faster for a lot of kids in this state.

jones January 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Sic – would love to see you do a profile piece on Mr. Rich. I’ve heard an explanation of why he chooses to contribute in various states, but I can’t remember what I’ve heard. What is his background and what are his motives?

ohnonotagain January 15, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Nobody believes parents don’t have the right to choose their education for their kids, wil. Nobody.
The misnomer you apply to this movement is government-funded “School choice.”
I and all my siblings went to a parochial school. Some we went to private high schools. My folks made the choice. They, however, didn’t ask the taxpayers for a dime to do so. They didn’t believe the public school system should be gutted because of their choice.
The “pull-yourselves up by your bootstraps” Republican ideal is such a myth. Get the government to pay for your private schools and your football stadiums.

Isotope Soap January 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Wow, right on time, Big(o)Ts. Here’s your chance to tell them liberal educrats that the world can be flat again and intelligent design is science:

Isotope Soap January 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Add ml at the end.

Soft Sigh from Hell January 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Take a look at some of those doctoral degrees. See if you have ever heard of the “universities.” Ask where the good doctors attended and how long it took. Ask what were their dissertation topics. Then look up the school online.

You will be stunned.

It ain’t the PH. D. of grandpa’s time, or dad’s. More like the D.D.’s from “one-building freshwater Bible ‘universities’ in every third country town of the south and midwest.”*

*For the Mencken fans.

BIN News Editorial Staff January 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm

There is nothing new here. Howard “The CarpetBugger” Rich has been buying up as many S.C. elected officials as he can for years.

Thankfully, many like Hayes, Martin, Courson and others can’t be bought off by a carpetbugger or anyone else – at any price.

Come on sic(k) willie. How about some truth in advertising?

How much of Howie’s voucher scam money have you taken?

Expect silence from sic(k) willie.

Our Funding Editor dearly misses the award winning blog “Barbecue and Politics” which was outing Howie and his paid political voucher clowns over 5 years ago. It’s dormant, but still a good read:

Anyone who is honest knows that vouchers are a scam because they would only leave those who need help the most even further behind.

We could go on about the voucher scam, but our Funding Editor just puked her 3nd Black Jack and triple Metamucil into her pantyhose.

Gosh, what a mess. Got to go.

It takes 4 of us to hold her down while her nurses clean her up.

BIN News Editorial and Nursing Staff

MGB January 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Obviously a lot of you know nothing about education. It is not the school, the teachers, or the money – the blame needs to be placed on the parents. Students come to school without their homework completed, having not studied for tests because they have been up all night on video games or texting. The students want to fall asleep in class and then get rude and disrespectful when you wake them up from their nap. Students want the teacher to provide paper and pencil. Teachers are not allowed to give lunch detention – they need that time to socilize, after school detention – parents call and say they don’t have a way home. There are no real consequences for their actions or lack of work. The students are socially promoted to the next grade regardless of their academics. Good students have a hard time focusing because of disruptive students. When these parents are called about their children, somehow it is the teacher’s fault. These are the students that are not successful in the school system.
There are many students out there who are very successful, respectful, and disciplined. These are the ones that have parents that make sure their children have their homework, study, go to bed at a decent time, and limit their electronics time. These students ask questions, take notes, stay awake, and appreciate their education.
School choice, vouchers, more money per student- none of these will be successful when you have parents and children that have no respect for the educational system.
Some of you have tried to make it a racial issue. In the top classes in public schools you will find Asians, Hispanics, African-Americans and Caucasians. The same goes with the lower classes- there is much diversity. The common thread is the attitude of the parents. Teachers have the students for only a limited time and cannot be their mothers, fathers, preachers, nurses, counselors, etc. Teachers and school need supportive parents. It is time the parents take the blame for their unruly children.

toyota kawaski January 16, 2013 at 8:15 am

Yesah i will have my shemale wife? write a love note for you my little ballheaded basturd. Yesah Salad at my house Friday night

toyota kawaski January 16, 2013 at 8:15 am

Yesah i will have my shemale wife? write a love note for you my little Bald basTURD


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