SC

Lazenby: A Liberal Argues For School Choice

The South Carolina Senate is set to vote on a budget amendment next week regarding the contentious issue of school choice. The amendment, if passed, will allow parents to take state tax deductions of up to $4,000 a year for tuition paid to send their children to private schools, $2,000 a year if they…

The South Carolina Senate is set to vote on a budget amendment next week regarding the contentious issue of school choice. The amendment, if passed, will allow parents to take state tax deductions of up to $4,000 a year for tuition paid to send their children to private schools, $2,000 a year if they homeschool their children, and $1,000 a year if their children attend a public school outside of the area they are zoned for.

Contributions to private school scholarship funds would also qualify for tax credits.

This particular amendment is not a voucher system that gives parents taxpayer money to send their children to private schools, but it does have the same effect as a voucher in that parents benefit financially when they avail themselves of these options. Given S.C.’s 7 percent across the board income tax rate, these deductions would yield a relatively small decrease in taxes paid per parent. Additionally, it would only affect those who make enough money to pay state income tax, so opponents argue that this amendment does nothing for the poor.

The proposed amendment is estimated to reduce state revenues by approximately $39 million a year if it passes. Opponents of the amendment argue that this is money that should go toward funding underfunded public schools, not to subsidizing private school choice with tax deductions and credits.

In a recent article in The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper, Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, said that in the budget year beginning July 1 the state plans to spend $2,101 per student – or $670 less than state law calls for.

“We have a constitutional mandate to provide a free public education for every student in this state, and we’re not even meeting what is required now,” he says.

The relevant sections of our constitution state as follows:

  • SECTION 3. System of free public schools and other public institutions of learning.

The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the State and shall establish, organize and support  such other public institutions of learning, as may be desirable. (1972 (57) 3193; 1973 (58) 44.)

  • SECTION 4. Direct aid to religious or other private educational institutions prohibited.

No money shall be paid from public funds nor shall the credit of the State or any of its political subdivisions be used for the direct benefit of any religious or other private  educational institution. (1972 (57) 3193; 1973 (58) 44.)

Democrats in the legislature are generally opposed to various school choice bills and amendments. Republicans, who hold a majority in both legislative houses in S.C., are split in their support of the proposals regarding school choice. Those Republicans who are opposed to choice measures can – and have in the past – join with Democrats to block the passage of those measures.

It is time for those opposed to the various school choice proposals to take a step back and review their motivations. Due to an unyielding support of public education, they may be trying to preserve a broken system at all costs and at the expense of the immediate needs of South Carolina’s children. That needs to change.

South Carolina’s public school system, in its current form, is deeply flawed. Stagnant or declining SAT scores, a graduation rate of 73.6 percent for 2011 (an improvement over the previous two years, but still below the graduation rate of the majority of the nation’s public schools), and a failure of the majority of SC’s public school students to make adequate yearly progress compared to other public school students across the nation (based on data from the National Assessment of Educational Programs) are all evidence of that.

There are certainly some examples of thriving public schools in this state, but we must look at the overall numbers, and those numbers are just not acceptable if our goal is to educate the majority of our children adequately in preparation for either higher education or the workforce.

Federal mandates and grants intended to increase accountability have increased reliance on standardized test scores as a way to evaluate teachers. They have also provoked debates about how to protect vulnerable populations like the poor and disabled, and have sparked fierce battles over local versus federal control of education. Legislators are trying to craft laws that will help the problem, but there are competing ideas about what those laws should do. Administrators are unsure about how to implement programs, while good teachers are caught in the middle.

Parents are frustrated with what they see as a lack of choices for their children’s education. And most importantly – children are losing out.

So back to those tax deductions and the opposition to them. Yes, giving tax deductions to parents who choose alternatives to public school (or who send their children to out-of-zone public schools) will reduce overall tax revenue to the state. But the argument that those particular funds should go to failing public schools is one of throwing good money after bad. Opponents of school choice measures insist that choice helps wealthy parents send their kids to private schools while doing nothing for poor children. But low-income parents of children in failing schools want options. They can’t afford to move to a better district. But, with some help, they might be able to afford to send their children to an independent or religious school in their area that would give their children a good education and a fighting chance and breaking the cycle of poverty.

Let’s craft legislation that will actually give them that help.

Anyone who has watched “Waiting for Superman” – Davis Guggenheim’s award-winning 2010 documentary about five families’ quest to find high-quality public education for their children in a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth – knows that the public education system needs fixing. This is especially true in South Carolina. They must also know that parents of current school children don’t have the time to wait while legislators hammer out and schools try to implement long-term solutions that may – or may not – work.

Parents know which schools in their communities are working and which aren’t, and they know which schools will give their kids the best shot at long-term success. Why shouldn’t we help make it possible for them to afford better options through some form of true school choice?

To those who say that public money should not be used to subsidize private institutions in any way (even when that way is a tax deduction or credit given to parents), your argument is disingenuous. Federal Pell Grants are funded with taxpayer dollars, and they may be used at private institutions of higher learning. Medicare and Medicaid are funded with taxpayer dollars, and those forms of publicly funded insurance may be used at private hospitals. This is the case because we recognize that the best options for higher education and medical care for an individual are not always at a public college or public hospital. We allow individuals who used those programs to make that call for themselves. Why should it be any different with K-12 education funding?

Yes, the state does have a constitutional obligation to provide a free public education to all students, and it should continue to do so while working on solutions that will fix a largely broken system. But in the meantime, legislators should be open to new ideas that can address the immediate concerns of parents who know that if their kindergarten-aged kids haven’t learned to read by third grade, they’re very likely to fail in the remainder of their school careers.

Let’s start to shift the focus away from preserving a flawed system and concentrate instead on the children who are in it. Let’s shift the immediate focus away from the public school apparatus and on to public school children and their unique needs. For some of those children, the answer may be to remain in the current system because they have the support and intellect to navigate it successfully, and the schools they are zoned for are the good ones. For others, it may mean a tax deduction, credit or voucher that would allow them to transfer into those good schools or to attend a private or parochial school nearby that will offer them better opportunities than their local public school. For others still, it may mean a tax credit that will offset the cost of homeschooling.

Those who oppose the current amendment on the grounds that it doesn’t do anything for the poor are right. The amendment is tiny step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. It doesn’t offer real solutions to low-income families. Instead of passing token tax deductions that don’t fully address the problem just because they’re better than nothing, lawmakers should not be afraid to stand up for real reform. The Holy Grail that is public education needs to be fully scrutinized. When what we’ve got isn’t working for so many, no reform should be off the table and all possible solutions should be studied. Citizens who want to help children, especially the most disadvantaged, should be lobbying their legislators for more comprehensive school choice legislation, not less.

amy lazenby

Amy Lazenby is a wife, mother of three and small business owner with her husband who splits her time between South Carolina and Georgia. She writes with a liberal world view on most issues, but enjoys exploring where the liberal and libertarian political axes intersect. Follow her on Twitter @Mrs_Laz.

 ***

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138 comments

Maggie Mae May 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Ms. Amy – up to this point I have been strongly against school choice or any voucher system and I was one of those guilty of saying that I don’t want my taxpayer dollars going to a private school where there is no accountability for how that money is spent. But I can always count on you for very knowledgeable information and I am willing to listen. I was lucky enough to have an outstanding public school education and my children were also lucky to have the benefit of a great public school education.

Can’t we do more than just give in and give up on our public schools and have school choice? How can we fix the broken system? What would it take to fix our public schools?
I keep hearing the statement of why throw more money at a broken system – why can’t be take that money and fix the broken system? How do we begin to fix SC’s public school system?

Reply
shifty henry May 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Thumbs up from folks who went to excellent public schools before they were corrupted (I’ll leave the reasons for the decay to other posters). The decay came over a period of years. Who was/is responsible – YOU DECIDE.

Reply
So May 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Who do you think is responsible, and does that have anything to do with how we fix it? How we fix it is what’s important here.

Reply
shifty henry May 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

It’s complicated but not unsolvable. To list a few of my suggestions:

1) Parents must support and encourage their children in obtaining an education. This includes providing a suitable home environment for study.

2) Ban from the school system all thugs and gangsters who disrupt the classroom environment – they don’t need to be there.

3) Ban from teaching the incompetent teachers and administrative staff who don’t advance or improve the system.

4) Parents/guardians (who care) of school children should organize and pressure the system from the ground up for effective change . This includes challenging the legislators – begin replacing some of them and the others will get the message.

My opinion is only the tip of the iceberg, and it would take a book to cover all of the issues.

PARENTS — UNITE !!!

Reply
So May 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

You make good points and have some good ideas. Parents uniting to pressure the system and the legislature from the ground up is a large part of the school choice movement. I think it gets a bad rap with everyone seeing Howard Rich as the “voucher king” as many on here have called him and insisting that school choice is only about “crony capitalism.” I know soapy parents who are trying and are frustrated by an establishment that isn’t working for their kids. That’s where the Charter school movement, which is a school choice option, comes from. I like the idea of keeping all options on the table.

So May 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Ha – not “soapy” – “so many.” Sorry for the auto correct fail.

A Friend May 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm

How is this giving up on public schools? Sure, the solution for some kids may be to go to private schools, but others may just want to transfer to better public schools outside of their areas. Like she said, why take this option (school choice) off the table? School choice does include the option of going to another public school or a public charter school. If a system isn’t working, why should parents, especially poor parents who have crappy choices for public schools because of where they live, sacrifice their kids to it? Yes, fix the public school system – that’s the ideal. But give people real options in the meantime.

Reply
nitrat May 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

“…especially poor parents who have crappy choices for public schools because of where they live.”

If those parents had the means to get to a decent job in a decent area, they wouldn’t have “crappy choices for public schools”.

Reply
A Friend May 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Fair point. I don’t disagree with you, and that is an issue we need to address, but we also need to address what’s happening with their kids right now, while those parents are trying to figure out how to get a decent job in a decent area.

Reply
Maggie Mae May 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I am just scared that if the school choice thing works out – people are going to forget about fixing our public schools and just say it is easier to just leave it like it is. Then people never fix public schools.

Reply
Maggie Mae May 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Ms. Amy – up to this point I have been strongly against school choice or any voucher system and I was one of those guilty of saying that I don’t want my taxpayer dollars going to a private school where there is no accountability for how that money is spent. But I can always count on you for very knowledgeable information and I am willing to listen. I was lucky enough to have an outstanding public school education and my children were also lucky to have the benefit of a great public school education.

Can’t we do more than just give in and give up on our public schools and have school choice? How can we fix the broken system? What would it take to fix our public schools?
I keep hearing the statement of why throw more money at a broken system – why can’t be take that money and fix the broken system? How do we begin to fix SC’s public school system?

Reply
shifty henry May 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Thumbs up from folks who went to excellent public schools before they were corrupted (I’ll leave the reasons for the decay to other posters). The decay came over a period of years. Who was/is responsible – YOU DECIDE.

Reply
So May 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Who do you think is responsible, and does that have anything to do with how we fix it? How we fix it is what’s important here.

Reply
shifty henry May 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

It’s complicated but not unsolvable. To list a few of my suggestions:

1) Parents must support and encourage their children in obtaining an education. This includes providing a suitable home environment for study.

2) Ban from the school system all thugs and gangsters who disrupt the classroom environment – they don’t need to be there.

3) Ban from school system the incompetent teachers and administrative staff who don’t advance or improve the system.

4) Parents/guardians (who care) of school children should organize and pressure the system from the ground up for effective change . This includes challenging the legislators – begin replacing some of them and the others will get the message.

My opinion is only the tip of the iceberg, and it would take a book to cover all of the issues.

PARENTS — UNITE !!!

Reply
So May 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

You make good points and have some good ideas. Parents uniting to pressure the system and the legislature from the ground up is a large part of the school choice movement. I think it gets a bad rap with everyone seeing Howard Rich as the “voucher king” as many on here have called him and insisting that school choice is only about “crony capitalism.” I know soapy parents who are trying and are frustrated by an establishment that isn’t working for their kids. That’s where the Charter school movement, which is a school choice option, comes from. I like the idea of keeping all options on the table.

So May 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Ha – not “soapy” – “so many.” Sorry for the auto correct fail.

A Friend May 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm

How is this giving up on public schools? Sure, the solution for some kids may be to go to private schools, but others may just want to transfer to better public schools outside of their areas. Like she said, why take this option (school choice) off the table? School choice does include the option of going to another public school or a public charter school. If a system isn’t working, why should parents, especially poor parents who have crappy choices for public schools because of where they live, sacrifice their kids to it? Yes, fix the public school system – that’s the ideal. But give people real options in the meantime.

Reply
nitrat May 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

“…especially poor parents who have crappy choices for public schools because of where they live.”

If those parents had the means to get to a decent job in a decent area, they wouldn’t have “crappy choices for public schools”.

Reply
A Friend May 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Fair point. I don’t disagree with you, and that is an issue we need to address, but we also need to address what’s happening with their kids right now, while those parents are trying to figure out how to get a decent job in a decent area.

Reply
Maggie Mae May 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I am just scared that if the school choice thing works out – people are going to forget about fixing our public schools and just say it is easier to just leave it like it is. Then people never fix public schools.

Reply
pee wee May 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

The real problem is not lack of choice but lack of progressive curriculum. Charter and magnet schools are better examples of public schools that provide the resources and challenges that students need. We need curriculum reform because if all schools and curriculum are equal, there is no need for choice. The significant difference between k-12 at Heathwood and k-12 in the Fairfield County system are the resources and curriculum offerings. If we are impressed by the offerings at Heathwood, then model the offerings in Fairfield County after the offerings at Heathwood. I use Fairfield as an example because there is only one alternative to that system and as a living witness to that choice not actually being a choice, it remains today no option for a LOT of Fairfield County students. And if we are truly honest with ourselves, there are far too many communities like Fairfield in this state. Reform what actually takes place INSIDE these schools rather than where these students go and how they get there…

Reply
nitrat May 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

You know what? I care less about a “progressive” curriculum than I do about replicating the best of the curricula that was available in the 20s, 30s and 40s that produced the American (and German) scientists who put us on the moon in 1969…the same year that SAT scores started declining.
Do you think that decline was due to the late 50s Eisenhower/Sputnik motivated changes to educational theory that took hold during the 60s? Remember the “New Math”? Very “progressive” it was.
I think a lot of our education problems go back to the colleges of education.

Reply
pee wee May 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

You debate my choice of words, but there are many synonyms to express thought… you just happen to use other synonym for your debate which simply means that you agree with my premise…

Reply
pee wee May 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

The real problem is not lack of choice but lack of progressive curriculum. Charter and magnet schools are better examples of public schools that provide the resources and challenges that students need. We need curriculum reform because if all schools and curriculum are equal, there is no need for choice. The significant difference between k-12 at Heathwood and k-12 in the Fairfield County system are the resources and curriculum offerings. If we are impressed by the offerings at Heathwood, then model the offerings in Fairfield County after the offerings at Heathwood. I use Fairfield as an example because there is only one alternative to that system and as a living witness to that choice not actually being a choice, it remains today no option for a LOT of Fairfield County students. And if we are truly honest with ourselves, there are far too many communities like Fairfield in this state. Reform what actually takes place INSIDE these schools rather than where these students go and how they get there…

Reply
nitrat May 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

You know what? I care less about a “progressive” curriculum than I do about replicating the best of the curricula that was available in the 20s, 30s and 40s that produced the American (and German) scientists who put us on the moon in 1969…the same year that SAT scores started declining.
Do you think that decline was due to the late 50s Eisenhower/Sputnik motivated changes to educational theory that took hold during the 60s? Remember the “New Math”? Very “progressive” it was.
I think a lot of our education problems go back to the colleges of education.

Reply
pee wee May 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

You debate my choice of words, but there are many synonyms to express thought… you just happen to use other synonym for your debate which simply means that you agree with my premise…

Reply
9" May 18, 2013 at 7:29 pm

You’re way too young to know what a ‘liberal’ is,and you’re not one.This piece proves that.Who do you think you’re fooling?

Reply
Damn librul! May 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Yeh she could always be a”conservative” like Glenn Beck!

Reply
9" May 18, 2013 at 7:29 pm

You’re way too young to know what a ‘liberal’ is,and you’re not one.This piece proves that.Who do you think you’re fooling?

Reply
Damn librul! May 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Yeh she could always be a”conservative” like Glenn Beck!

Reply
Gillon May 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

If you took the student bodies of Heathwood Hall and of Hammond and exchanged them with the student bodies of Eau Claire or Lower Richland and kept everything else the same–teachers, facilities, instructional materials, etc, do you think that you would see much difference in the academic achievement of both groups, up or down from where they stand now? I doubt it. The problem is more an economic, social and personal values one than anything else. We simply need more kids who have two parents at home who have higher incomes and who know the value of a good education. How do we achieve that is the question.

Reply
Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm

That is a racist and unrealistic statement – you know that the majority of black homes don’t have a father figure present.. And the higher income statement – thats just ridiculous. You are so arrogant that you can’t even see there is a whole another world out there that is not 2 parents, 3 children that live in a $250,000 home in a subdivision with a stay at home mother.
Get in the real world and then deal with the problems of education.

Reply
Gillon May 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

So you are saying that there is no correlation. between income and SAT scores, race and SAT scores, and a stable home life and SAT scores? Sadly, for the children’s sake, that is not the case. Do a little research and get back to us. You may have the right to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

Reply
Frank Pytel May 20, 2013 at 6:21 am

There is no correlation between income and sat scores. That’s a bunch of liberal hoodoo voodoo to keep people at each others throats so the pols can keep raiding the cookie jar.

The correlation between race and sat scores comes down to the households who have parents that actively parent and aren’t just sitting around smoking dope, getting drunk and telling their kids ‘yeah, uh you know nike whatever just do it.’ as they pass out with their sugar daddys and or arm candy.

Teachers do not teach. They introduce. Parents teach. You can’t change that.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

Reply
Devlish Imp May 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

“That is a racist and unrealistic statement – you know that the majority of black homes don’t have a father figure present”

Is that, in and of itself….a “racist” statement?

Correlating fatherless families statistically to race is a big “no no” in our PC society, you big ole racist.

Reply
Frank Pytel May 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Maggie, your a day late and a dollar short. It’s not just blacks anymore. The “Family” courts are actively working to ensure that there are no homes, in which a woman questions the integrity of a father in any way shape or form, that have fathers in them. It’s called “Irreconcilable differences”. Or as most non custodial fathers call it “Her way or the fucking highway”

Check your facts Maggie. Wake up and smell the coffee. Divide and concur all the way to “their” bank is the motto of the pols these days.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

Reply
Gillon May 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

If you took the student bodies of Heathwood Hall and of Hammond and exchanged them with the student bodies of Eau Claire or Lower Richland and kept everything else the same–teachers, facilities, instructional materials, etc, do you think that you would see much difference in the academic achievement of both groups, up or down from where they stand now? I doubt it. The problem is more an economic, social and personal values one than anything else. We simply need more kids who have two parents at home who have higher incomes and who know the value of a good education. How do we achieve that is the question.

Reply
Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm

That is a racist and unrealistic statement – you know that the majority of black homes don’t have a father figure present.. And the higher income statement – thats just ridiculous. You are so arrogant that you can’t even see there is a whole another world out there that is not 2 parents, 3 children that live in a $250,000 home in a subdivision with a stay at home mother.
Get in the real world and then deal with the problems of education.

Reply
Gillon May 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

So you are saying that there is no correlation. between income and SAT scores, race and SAT scores, and a stable home life and SAT scores? Sadly, for the children’s sake, that is not the case. Do a little research and get back to us. You may have the right to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

Reply
Frank Pytel May 20, 2013 at 6:21 am

There is no correlation between income and sat scores. That’s a bunch of liberal hoodoo voodoo to keep people at each others throats so the pols can keep raiding the cookie jar.

The correlation between race and sat scores comes down to the households who have parents that actively parent and aren’t just sitting around smoking dope, getting drunk and telling their kids ‘yeah, uh you know nike whatever just do it.’ as they pass out with their sugar daddys and or arm candy.

Teachers do not teach. They introduce. Parents teach. You can’t change that.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

Reply
Devlish Imp May 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

“That is a racist and unrealistic statement – you know that the majority of black homes don’t have a father figure present”

Is that, in and of itself….a “racist” statement?

Correlating fatherless families statistically to race is a big “no no” in our PC society, you big ole racist.

Reply
Frank Pytel May 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Maggie, your a day late and a dollar short. It’s not just blacks anymore. The “Family” courts are actively working to ensure that there are no homes, in which a woman questions the integrity of a father in any way shape or form, that have fathers in them. It’s called “Irreconcilable differences”. Or as most non custodial fathers call it “Her way or the fucking highway”

Check your facts Maggie. Wake up and smell the coffee. Divide and concur all the way to “their” bank is the motto of the pols these days.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

Reply
GrandTango May 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm

LMAO: Abortion, Terrorist Rights and birth control-for-kids is not all that fun to talk about…all of the sudden….w/ Liberal Corruption the rage…

Suffice it to say: Liberals are synonymous with Failure. Lizenby’s self-proclaimed “conversion” to something sensible, using a way-too-long, way-too-boring tome to herself, for anyone to read, is laughable…

Clue, sister: Obama is sucking wind, and so is anything any liberal has to say, other than: “I’m Guilty”…

Reply
So May 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm

You obviously read it. The message is more important than the messenger.

Reply
GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 12:45 am

I have NO use for ANYTHING any liberal says about education or anything else..
Liberals have had a DEATH GRIP on our public school system for 50 years…while it has swirled downward…
For one of them to come slinking up w/ some over-written tripe of seeming concession, is either laughable or disgusting…depending on your mood…
Not to mention: Their Thug-in-chief is using the IRS to persecute American citizens, and this Birth Control “Expert” has yet to own up for their Mutilating Abortionist Murderer…
So for her to come out talking about education is about as cute as Big Fat White Elephant…

Reply
Promise Keepers May 19, 2013 at 10:25 am

Hey, dumbass! You ready to be out smarted by a smartass today? You took a really good beating yesterday, cuz.

Keep going off topic and we’ll pound your ass into the dirt where you belong.

Reply
nitrat May 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

Lack of replies is the best revenge on a troll.

So May 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Agreed

I'll go first May 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

“Big Fat White Elephant…” “Their Thug-in-chief…” “Mutilating Abortionist Murderer…”

Are you typing your shit with your ‘lil willy on the shift key?

Reply
Whatever May 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

“Liberals have had a DEATH GRIP on our public school system for 50 years…while it has swirled downward…like most everything else they touch…”

Funny, other states have made great strides, while our redneck red states like SC have remained at the bottom.

How many children would starve if their bad grades prevent them for obtaining food?

Reply
Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

YOU are exactly what is wrong with congress – people that are not willing to listen to others and compromise.

Reply
Amused Observer May 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

Under the voucher/choice/tax credit legislation, will private schools benefitting from public funds be subject to the same public accountability measures as public schools? Is there provision in the legislation to actually track how many economically disadvantaged students are served by private schools and to compare (apples to apples) how they achieve academically as compared to their public school peers? Will private schools be required to serve special needs students? Will evaluations of private school teachers and principals be posted on the Internet? Will private schools be subject to requirements for “value added” evaluation? Will private schools be subject to FOIA and online financial transparency?
If you answered “no” to all these questions, you win a all expenses-paid vacation in Howard Rich’s New York penthouse.

Reply
Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

And will private schools be required to accept ALL students that apply from unsuccessful schools??

Reply
Hands off my wallet May 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

“Under the voucher/choice/tax credit legislation, will private schools benefitting from public funds be subject to the same public accountability measures as public schools?”
Hahaha, you are a funny man.

Reply
A Friend May 21, 2013 at 10:32 am

Are you aware that in SC, public school personnel are exempt from state “Sunshine Laws” re: their personnel files? That’s not exactly accountability, my friend.

Reply
Amused Observer May 19, 2013 at 9:30 am

Under the voucher/choice/tax credit legislation, will private schools benefitting from public funds be subject to the same public accountability measures as public schools? Is there provision in the legislation to actually track how many economically disadvantaged students are served by private schools and to compare (apples to apples) how they achieve academically as compared to their public school peers? Will private schools be required to serve special needs students? Will evaluations of private school teachers and principals be posted on the Internet? Will private schools be subject to requirements for “value added” evaluation? Will private schools be subject to FOIA and online financial transparency?
If you answered “no” to all these questions, you win a all expenses-paid vacation in Howard Rich’s New York penthouse.

Reply
Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

And will private schools be required to accept ALL students that apply from unsuccessful schools??

Reply
Hands off my wallet May 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

“Under the voucher/choice/tax credit legislation, will private schools benefitting from public funds be subject to the same public accountability measures as public schools?”
Hahaha, you are a funny man.

Reply
A Friend May 21, 2013 at 10:32 am

Are you aware that in SC, public school personnel are exempt from state “Sunshine Laws” re: their personnel files? That’s not exactly accountability, my friend.

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TAX PAYER May 19, 2013 at 10:21 am

They want to give TAX CREDIT for Parents to send their kids to Private Schools, when are TAXPAYERS with no kids going to get a break from paying School Taxes????????????

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A Friend May 19, 2013 at 10:58 am

You can pay school taxes now, or you can pay to subsidize a larger prison population and welfare rolls later. The school taxes are cheaper.

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? May 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

Wait, are you saying we have a choice?

:)

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Frank Pytel May 20, 2013 at 6:23 am

No they are not cheaper. It’s cheaper to house and feed than it is to house, feed and teach.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

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TAX PAYER May 19, 2013 at 10:21 am

They want to give TAX CREDIT for Parents to send their kids to Private Schools, when are TAXPAYERS with no kids going to get a break from paying School Taxes????????????

Reply
A Friend May 19, 2013 at 10:58 am

You can pay school taxes now, or you can pay to subsidize a larger prison population and welfare rolls later. The school taxes are cheaper.

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? May 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

Wait, are you saying we have a choice?

:)

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Frank Pytel May 20, 2013 at 6:23 am

No they are not cheaper. It’s cheaper to house and feed than it is to house, feed and teach.

Have a Great Day!! :) There won’t be many left with the Demlicans and Republicrats in charge.

Frank Pytel

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nitrat May 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

Ms. Lazenby, I urge you to go to the New York Times Education section and search “Georgia”, as in state of.
You will learn via several stories that “school choice” is all about crony capitalism (privatizing government services to create larger and larger pools of campaign contributors to legislators) and legislative corruption on scale with “Lost Trust” and the video poker mafia that controlled this state for a few years.
“School choice”, a key component of the Koch ideology, is the road to perdition.

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So May 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Her bio says she lives in SC and GA. Not sure where her kids go to school, but I’m betting she’s familiar with the GA school system.

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I’m sure the New York Times Education section is about as fair and objective as the IRS is when it’s favoring applicants and payers…
And: I Wonder if the NYT has an Economics section detailing how Leftwing NY is bankrupt, and people are fleeing the total failure of Liberal, Obama-level politics???

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nitrat May 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

Ms. Lazenby, I urge you to go to the New York Times Education section and search “Georgia”, as in state of.
You will learn via several stories that “school choice” is all about crony capitalism (privatizing government services to create larger and larger pools of campaign contributors to legislators) and legislative corruption on scale with “Lost Trust” and the video poker mafia that controlled this state for a few years.
“School choice”, a key component of the Koch ideology, is the road to perdition.

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So May 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Her bio says she lives in SC and GA. Not sure where her kids go to school, but I’m betting she’s familiar with the GA school system.

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? May 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

I have to give credit where credit is due, this is piece is pretty well written.

There is one small point I’ll comment on:

“To those who say that public money should not be used to subsidize private institutions in any way (even when that way is a tax deduction or credit given to parents), your argument is disingenuous.”

Of course, the question even BEFORE the one above is where does this “public” money come from….it’s a question many don’t like because the implications are nasty.

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

I tell you how “disingenuous” you are all the time because of your lockstep exaltation of ignorant leftwing doctrine…and all you do is become infuriated..
Maybe I need to don a a skirt…LMAO….

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? May 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I’ll bet deep down you WANT to wear a skirt.

Reply
GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Homo-phobe…

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? May 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Are you insinuating that you are gay?

Kudos to you for being honest if that’s the case. I have no beef with gays.

GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Thank you for patting yorself on the back for NOT sticking your nose in my Business….I’m sure if you know I’m hetero, you’ll try to sic the IRS on me, and deny me my rights as American. Dat how yall roll…

You leftwingers normally march in the streets, proclaiming your sexual preference as a Civil Right…but you will turn around and Bash the people you hate w/ your homo-phobia…if it’s convenient…

? May 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

“Homo-phobe” (sic)

I do not think it means what you think it means:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8y-qy9N01I

9" May 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm

You’re wanting a blow job;right?

shifty henry May 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm

….do you really think he does?

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? May 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

I have to give credit where credit is due, this is piece is pretty well written.

There is one small point I’ll comment on:

“To those who say that public money should not be used to subsidize private institutions in any way (even when that way is a tax deduction or credit given to parents), your argument is disingenuous.”

Of course, the question even BEFORE the one above is where does this “public” money come from….it’s a question many don’t like because the implications are nasty.

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm

You have: Greedy government schools that cost billions and billions and teach: Race-hate and guilt, Anti-Americanism, global warming and promote kid sex and homosexuality…

VERSUS

Caring and Smart people at non-government funded schools teaching Freedom, prosperity, the Constitution and morality…

And Your Best Brightest finally figures out which is better: But ignorantly fails to mention: Obama will Persecute and Deny and punish any organization, w/ the IRS, that is pro-American,,,

Liberals: you have to LYAO…

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Obama May 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm

“Caring and Smart people at non-government funded schools teaching Freedom, prosperity, the Constitution and morality…”

You mean…like..you?

No thanks.

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I went to PUBLIC School, unlike Obama…who was a silver-spooned priviledged Slacker, busy doing coke and smoking dope w/ the upper-middle class cul-d-sac yuppies, like you, him and Lizenby…

When I went to college, I worked in a factory to pay tuition, becuase my family could not afford it…and my REAL-life street-knowledge often clashed w/ the elitist myths that my college professors (like Obama) were peddling…

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Professor G.I. luvhaley May 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Youre lying as usual.

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm

You’re trying to mind-read..like the Dumb@$$ you are, as usual…LMAO…

PS: Not sure you should claim to be a professor. You are the epitome of failure…w/ so many ignorant college grads hitting the streets, w/o being prepared to get a job, in a vast Obama unemployment disaster…

Hocus Poke Us May 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Not hard to read a simple mind, GT!

Kobayashi Maru May 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

It will only be true school “choice” when the private schools are required to accept any student who shows up at their doors (you know, like the public schools). That will never happen (which is why they’re private), therefore this scheme cannot be considered choice for parents. The accountability in the legislation is watered down at best. Your argument regarding Federal Pell Grants is disingenuous itself because there is no state constitutional requirement for a system of free public higher institutions of learning. It’s an apples-to-oranges argument.

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A Friend May 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

What about Medicare and Medicaid that is used at private hospitals – also part of what she said? We have laws that grant all seniors over a certain age Medicare and all people under a certain income level legally qualify for Medicaid, so that’s not an apples to oranges comparison. As to Pell Grants, which I’m less familiar with, aren’t they means-based and given to anyone under a certain income who applies (I could be wrong – I’m asking)? If so, that would be like Medicaid. I can see how no one HAS to use a Pell Grant (or Medicaid or Medicare for that matter), but the argument here is that using public money for private institutions is already happening.
Also, parents might not choose a private school for their kids – they might choose a charter school or a better public school that’s outside of their school zone. Would you be in favor of letting parents do that?

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Kobayashi Maru May 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

It will only be true school “choice” when the private schools are required to accept any student who shows up at their doors (you know, like the public schools). That will never happen (which is why they’re private), therefore this scheme cannot be considered choice for parents. The accountability in the legislation is watered down at best. Your argument regarding Federal Pell Grants is disingenuous itself because there is no state constitutional requirement for a system of free public higher institutions of learning. It’s an apples-to-oranges argument.

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A Friend May 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

What about Medicare and Medicaid that is used at private hospitals – also part of what she said? We have laws that grant all seniors over a certain age Medicare and all people under a certain income level legally qualify for Medicaid, so that’s not an apples to oranges comparison. As to Pell Grants, which I’m less familiar with, aren’t they means-based and given to anyone under a certain income who applies (I could be wrong – I’m asking)? If so, that would be like Medicaid. I can see how no one HAS to use a Pell Grant (or Medicaid or Medicare for that matter), but the argument here is that using public money for private institutions is already happening.
Also, parents might not choose a private school for their kids – they might choose a charter school or a better public school that’s outside of their school zone. Would you be in favor of letting parents do that?

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Any public schools teach IRS agents to persecute Freedom and Constitution supporters????
That’s what I’m BEGGING to hear you leftist “Thought Arbiters” opine about…
Like Lizenby has been front and Center, lead vocalist, for the Abortion-Birth Control Crusades…
Yet when a Roach named Dr. Gosnel crawled out from her movement, Lisenby was mute…
Now she finta tell us how to run education, as Obama targets pro-Americans using a Terrorist Government agency. …LMAO….

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Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Stay on the subject here – just like Nikki Haley – taking any opportunity possible to bash Obama – when you declare you are a Republican – you have ALL your common sense sucked out.

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I’ll ask the same of you Leftists…about staying on subject…
The IRS, under Obama’s Iron Hand, has been caught Terrorizing political enemies…Why are talking about education????

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'Bama's Fault May 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

This post is on school choice?

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Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

At point in this process do we require parental participation. It has been shown that students whose parents are involved – at least in homework participation – students do better. Even in a failing school – if parents are involved in their child’s education process chances of their success is greater. Maybe we show take any school choice monies and have classes to teach our parents how to help their children succeed in school???

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GrandTango May 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Got to find the daddies first..and get the mamas out the club….
Good luck with that…

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A Friend May 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm

And when parents are absent or are working two jobs, then what do we do? You are assuming all kids have parents who can or want to be involved. That’s just not the case.

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nitrat May 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Why do you think all parents have the skills themselves or basic intellect to help with “homework participation”?
The old bell curve indicates that about 20% of the population has IQs of under 90 (low normal) and above 70 (cut off for mental retardation).
You may want more from these people than they are able to do. In those cases, do you think it is to society’s benefit to help their “normal” children reach their maximum potential? Or, just continue in a vicious circle?

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Maggie Mae May 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

At point in this process do we require parental participation. It has been shown that students whose parents are involved – at least in homework participation – students do better. Even in a failing school – if parents are involved in their child’s education process chances of their success is greater. Maybe we show take any school choice monies and have classes to teach our parents how to help their children succeed in school???

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A Friend May 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm

And when parents are absent or are working two jobs, then what do we do? You are assuming all kids have parents who can or want to be involved. That’s just not the case.

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nitrat May 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Why do you think all parents have the skills themselves or basic intellect to help with “homework participation”?
The old bell curve indicates that about 20% of the population has IQs of under 90 (low normal) and above 70 (cut off for mental retardation).
You may want more from these people than they are able to do. In those cases, do you think it is to society’s benefit to help their “normal” children reach their maximum potential? Or, just continue in a vicious circle?

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Jan May 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

Like all of of Howie Riches other voucher clowns and “school choice” folks your arguments are nonsense. There is absolutely no evidence giving money to rich people to send their kids to private school will help anyone except rich people who are already sending their kids to private school, and the scholarship proposal is a joke.

Why should the rest of us have to pay a higher share of the state’s tax burden than those people who are sending their kids to private school? There is no good reason.

While you may profess you are independent of Mr. Rich, I doubt it. Otherwise you would not have written such a weak argument of we must do something, so lets do this even though this has been done over and over and has never helped anyone except the people getting the money from the state. This is not a step in the right direction it is a step in the wrong direction. It is one step on the road to abandoning public education, and the quality of a child’s education wholly dependent on how wealthy his parents are. All these people want to do is get their money and leave the poor and middle income kids who cannot get into a good private schools to get by in crappy public schools. These people do not care about these children or the state of public education. If the private schools wants public dollars they should have to take all those who want into their school.

Do we need to fix public education? Absolutely. Will this help? Absolutely not. Fix the public schools!! Don’t let a few abandon them and leave the rest to suffer with broken schools that will never be fixed, because those who could do something about it don’t care.

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So May 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Where did she talk about giving money to rich kids to go to private schools? Her whole argument was abut poor kids. She said that people who say the current amendment does nothing for poor kids are right (basically quoting from last paragraph). Did you read it or are you just coming on here with your same old talking points?
We’ve been trying to “fix” the public ed system for decades and it’s still crappy in most places in SC. Why not try something new? Why not give the poor kids a way to go to the better public schools that the rich kids already go to because their parents can buy a house in the right neighborhood?

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Jan May 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Giving tax breaks and vouchers to people with kids in private schools has been tried over and over in other states and has done nothing to improve public education in those states. It was tried in Georgia and in Wisconsin. Both states reported no improvement in public education. Just taxpayer money going to people who were already in private school. Wisconsin was testing private schools to see if students who went their performed better on tests. When the results showed no improvement, they discontinued the tests.

While Ms. Lazenby says this bill will not help, she says it is a step in the right direction. She is wrong. This bill is designed to do nothing more than give money to people who are already sending their kids to private school, at the cost of everyone else. It will hurt, not help the education of the average SC child. The next step will be to move from tax deductions to tax credits, with the goal of the taxpayer paying 100% of private school tuition. Even though most of those taxpayers could not get their kids in those schools no matter how hard they tried.

Finally, I never said I opposed allowing kids in bad public schools to go to good public schools. Of course they should be able to do that. I also have no problem with the public paying for poor children in bad public schools to go to a “better” private school, until their public school improves or until a good public school is available nearby. But these are all things designed to help public education or kids in public schools. The school choice people have no interest in this. They simply want to pull their money out and walk away from public education, and the kids who attend those schools.

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So May 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Her argument was basically your last paragraph, so it sounds like some school choice people do have an interest in allowing kids in bad public schools to go to good public schools. Like I said to Shifty above, I like the idea of keeping all options on the table. Everyone agrees that what we have isn’t working. Innovation in this area is not a bad thing, and it could actually help these kids.

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Jan May 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

Like all of of Howie Riches other voucher clowns and “school choice” folks your arguments are nonsense. There is absolutely no evidence giving money to rich people to send their kids to private school will help anyone except rich people who are already sending their kids to private school, and the scholarship proposal is a joke.

Why should the rest of us have to pay a higher share of the state’s tax burden than those people who are sending their kids to private school? There is no good reason.

While you may profess you are independent of Mr. Rich, I doubt it. Otherwise you would not have written such a weak argument of we must do something, so lets do this even though this has been done over and over and has never helped anyone except the people getting the money from the state. This is not a step in the right direction it is a step in the wrong direction. It is one step on the road to abandoning public education, and the quality of a child’s education wholly dependent on how wealthy his parents are. All these people want to do is get their money and leave the poor and middle income kids who cannot get into a good private schools to get by in crappy public schools. These people do not care about these children or the state of public education. If the private schools wants public dollars they should have to take all those who want into their school.

Do we need to fix public education? Absolutely. Will this help? Absolutely not. Fix the public schools!! Don’t let a few abandon them and leave the rest to suffer with broken schools that will never be fixed, because those who could do something about it don’t care.

Reply
So May 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Where did she talk about giving money to rich kids to go to private schools? Her whole argument was abut poor kids. She said that people who say the current amendment does nothing for poor kids are right (basically quoting from last paragraph). Did you read it or are you just coming on here with your same old talking points?
We’ve been trying to “fix” the public ed system for decades and it’s still crappy in most places in SC. Why not try something new? Why not give the poor kids a way to go to the better public schools that the rich kids already go to because their parents can buy a house in the right neighborhood?

Reply
Jan May 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Giving tax breaks and vouchers to people with kids in private schools has been tried over and over in other states and has done nothing to improve public education in those states. It was tried in Georgia and in Wisconsin. Both states reported no improvement in public education. Just taxpayer money going to people who were already in private school. Wisconsin was testing private schools to see if students who went their performed better on tests. When the results showed no improvement, they discontinued the tests.

While Ms. Lazenby says this bill will not help, she says it is a step in the right direction. She is wrong. This bill is designed to do nothing more than give money to people who are already sending their kids to private school, at the cost of everyone else. It will hurt, not help the education of the average SC child. The next step will be to move from tax deductions to tax credits, with the goal of the taxpayer paying 100% of private school tuition. Even though most of those taxpayers could not get their kids in those schools no matter how hard they tried.

Finally, I never said I opposed allowing kids in bad public schools to go to good public schools. Of course they should be able to do that. I also have no problem with the public paying for poor children in bad public schools to go to a “better” private school, until their public school improves or until a good public school is available nearby. But these are all things designed to help public education or kids in public schools. The school choice people have no interest in this. They simply want to pull their money out and walk away from public education, and the kids who attend those schools.

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So May 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Her argument was basically your last paragraph, so it sounds like some school choice people do have an interest in allowing kids in bad public schools to go to good public schools. Like I said to Shifty above, I like the idea of keeping all options on the table. Everyone agrees that what we have isn’t working. Innovation in this area is not a bad thing, and it could actually help these kids.

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Hands off my wallet May 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Lady, you HAVE a choice. You want to send your kids to a private school, YOU pay for it.

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Hands off my wallet May 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Lady, you HAVE a choice. You want to send your kids to a private school, YOU pay for it.

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Hands off my wallet May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Did Howie pay for this?

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Hands off my wallet May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Did Howie pay for this?

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BIN News May 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

…a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose…

Look it up, sic(k) one; we work to improve your education.

…a rose is a rose… but, vouchers are cr@p…

Actually, vouchers are (s)crap. Scrap from years of being sent down the toilet.

Vouchers do nothing to help those who need help the most.

Howie the Voucher Clown is cutting back on his attempts to buy SC elected officials and paid political voucher clowns like sic(k) willie.

Looks like he is finally getting tired of pouring his voucher scam money in the toilet.

Listen for the giant sucking sound again this year as the voucher scam goes into the toilet again.

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So May 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

You have anything other than cute poems to offer, or do you actually have some solutions? Also, Sic Willie didn’t write this. Do you have any evidence that this lady was paid by Howard Rich to write this?

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BIN News May 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

“So,” so another Voucher Pimp.

The Voucher Scam would not even be an issue if not for the brazillions of dollars Howie the Voucher Clown spends to buy the SC Legislature. Look for voucher scam yes votes to find bought and paid for voucher pimps.

As for “this lady?” Who knows.

Remember what Forrest Gump said: “Life is like a box of chocolate.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJh59vZ8ccc

You never know how many nuts there are out there.

…..or, something like that. :)

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BIN News May 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

…a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose…

Look it up, sic(k) one; we work to improve your education.

…a rose is a rose… but, vouchers are cr@p…

Actually, vouchers are (s)crap. Scrap from years of being sent down the toilet.

Vouchers do nothing to help those who need help the most.

Howie the Voucher Clown is cutting back on his attempts to buy SC elected officials and paid political voucher clowns like sic(k) willie.

Looks like he is finally getting tired of pouring his voucher scam money in the toilet.

Listen for the giant sucking sound again this year as the voucher scam goes into the toilet again.

Reply
So May 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

You have anything other than cute poems to offer, or do you actually have some solutions? Also, Sic Willie didn’t write this. Do you have any evidence that this lady was paid by Howard Rich to write this?

Reply
BIN News May 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

“So,” so another Voucher Pimp.

The Voucher Scam would not even be an issue if not for the brazillions of dollars Howie the Voucher Clown spends to buy the SC Legislature. Look for voucher scam yes votes to find bought and paid for voucher pimps.

As for “this lady?” Who knows.

Remember what Forrest Gump said: “Life is like a box of chocolate.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJh59vZ8ccc

You never know how many nuts there are out there.

…..or, something like that. :)

Reply

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