SC

School Choice In SC: Finally

Meet Evan Cobb. According to his mother, Dorothy, he’s an energetic 11-year-old boy currently in fifth grade at Hidden Treasure Christian School – one of the free market schools this website has written about as part of its “Miracle Factories” series. “Evan’s special needs are not immediately apparent upon casually…

Meet Evan Cobb.

According to his mother, Dorothy, he’s an energetic 11-year-old boy currently in fifth grade at Hidden Treasure Christian School – one of the free market schools this website has written about as part of its “Miracle Factories” series.

“Evan’s special needs are not immediately apparent upon casually meeting him – he is outgoing and inquisitive and does not ‘look’ different,” Dorothy explains.

However, Evan’s ongoing struggles with a specific learning disability, issues related to processing speed, and marked ADHD led his parents to seek the individualized education that Hidden Treasure offers.

Has the school been a good fit?

Absolutely …

Evan’s skills in math have jumped dramatically so that he is now working on grade level, and his ability to function as part of his classroom group has dramatically improved. Just a couple of months ago, Evan successfully completed an overnight field trip with his class to the Tennessee Aquarium. Just this month, Evan has made the jump to wanting to complete his homework each night. In fact he is currently working on accumulating enough homework points to earn an invitation to his class’s end-of-year trip to Charleston.

Expanded academic achievement is only part of the equation.

When Evan started Hidden Treasure, the food choices that he would accept were rather limited. After months of “Try It Tuesdays” – plus a healthy dose of positive peer pressure – Evan now enjoys a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as cooked foods that have multiple textures. Socially, Evan is learning to take turns – understanding that it’s okay when others get to go first.

Evan is in his second year at Hidden Treasure, where his family receives financial aid to help pay the cost of tuition.

“We are extremely grateful for the Hidden Treasure financial aid that we receive,” Dorothy says. “While the monthly tuition is still a stretch, there is no way that we could afford the full amount that it costs.”

That’s where Advance Carolina comes in.  One of three scholarship funding organizations operating under South Carolina’s new special needs school choice program, the group has given Evan the Palmetto State’s first-ever school choice scholarship.

“We operate our family with no debt,” Dorothy says.  “We save up and use only cash to do or buy any/everything, including tuition each year for HTCS. Needless to say, it is quite a hefty check to write all at once…and it is a financial stretch for our family.”

It’s substantially easier now, though, which is the whole point of parental choice …

Evan’s mother says her family does not fit the stereotype of “private school” families. She’s a stay-at-home mom and part-time volunteer. Her husband, Paul, is a piping engineer.

They are normal people, in other words … the sort of people who don’t deserve for their exceptional needs child to be stuck in a failed top-down government run school, a place where bureaucrats crank out cookie cutter “individualized education plans” that are more about securing more taxpayer funding than they are about helping children.

Anyway …

We’ve written plenty on that in the past … this post is about a young man whose academic future just got exponentially brighter because of the willingness of state lawmakers to (at long last) grant limited choices to students who need them most.  Let’s hope they expand on those options moving forward.

All great movements begin with one defining moment … and the school choice movement in South Carolina experience such a moment this week.

Godspeed, Evan Cobb. Let’s hope hundreds of thousands of Palmetto State students follow in your footsteps …

Related posts

SC

Roaches And Rats: Midlands, South Carolina Restaurants Battling Pests

Dylan Nolan
SC

Upstate South Carolina Police Investigating Animal Cruelty Allegation

Will Folks
SC

North Charleston Councilman Accuses Cop Of Falsifying Police Report

Will Folks

35 comments

Tom January 23, 2014 at 10:12 am

She is a stay at home mom??? So the reason they cannot afford private school is she chose to do volunteer work instead of getting a job? I guess that is a good reason for the taxpayers to help pick up the tab.
Seems a little odd the personal responsibility people would prefer to use government subsidies to asking parents to work. Now exactly how is the different than the mom who chooses to stay home and ask the government for help feeding her children?

Reply
Training Pants Tom January 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

“Seems a little odd the personal responsibility people would prefer to use government subsidies to asking parents to work.”

So you’re not a “personal responsibility” guy?

” I guess that is a good reason for the taxpayers to help pick up the tab.”

See, none of us get to decide who does, or does not get taxpayer money to educate their kids. We vote for a small group of people that decide for us. So instead of your impotent whining, why not run out and get your slice before there’s no pie left?

Maybe you can grab a slice out of the kid pictured above hands since your so indignant that less than 1 cent of your tax money went to a kid with special needs outside of the public system, probably saving you from having at least 33% more of your 1 cent contribution going to him, you prick.

Reply
Pleaseyoassaurus January 23, 2014 at 10:46 am

You nailed it. The heart of this article is how a mom brazenly stayed home to “volunteer” with her disabled kid, slavering at the idea of hardworking folks like you paying her way. Now she has the audacity to accept a scholarship funded by private donors to non-profits!

Come on, dude. A special needs kid is getting a shot at a better education. That’s your response?

Reply
Terry January 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Hardworking folks are in fact helping this family out. I certainly do not oppose anyone getting a shot at education, but what if there are kids who are more deserving of this money. What if this $5000 went to retrofit a van for a disabled child who cannot walk? What if this $5000 was used to save the life of a poor child dying from cancer? What if we used this $5000 to send 10 special needs kids to summer camp. What if we used this $5000 to provide medication for kids whose family are struggling to pay medical bills? What if we used this $5000 to provide clothes for kids who have no clothes.
You see there are lots of deserving people who could benefit from taxpayer money. So we have to ask ourselves, “Why have we chosen this child over all the others?”

Reply
Justaguy January 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm

That should be an encouragement to expand the program. I don’t know why this child was chosen as the first scholarship recipient, but he will hopefully be the first of many, many special needs kids who can profit from these privately-given donations to get a leg up on their challenges.

Reply
Terry January 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I’m sorry, is the kid profiting or his parents? These are not private donations. These are donations for which people receive a tax “credit”, not a deduction. That means that the taxpayers are paying for these donations, and we are allowing a private organization determine how to spend taxpayer money.
Again, why are we choosing to pay for this when we could be paying for people with greater need? The question should be answered. Are there any limits as to who we should pay for or what we should pay for if it benefits the parents of a special needs child?

justaguy January 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm

My guess is the legislation would provide some of those definitions for you.

Regarding tax credits, didn’t the Supreme Court pretty definitively say that contributors to scholarship granting organizations are spending their own money, not money from other taxpayers? I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.

Another thing to consider is that different scholarship groups are able to focus on students with different disabilities. It isn’t a matter of lining everyone up and saying, “You’re the most disabled person here. Have 5 grand.” It’s about giving each child the opportunity to go to the school where their particular need can be most effectively provided for. Again, as the program grows, we should be able to see that happening.

Terry January 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm

The question for me is why do we feel it is more important to offer tax credits to people who pay money for kids to get a private education than it is to offer a tax credit for people who pay money to save kids dying of cancer or starving. There is only so much money to go around.

Why can’t I get a state tax credit for giving money to the Cancer Society or St. Judes Children’s Hospital. If I am helping foot the bill, and I am; i would rather the money go to the people with the most need not so a mom can stay home from work.

Justaguy January 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm

That should be an encouragement to expand the program. I don’t know why this child was chosen as the first scholarship recipient, but he will hopefully be the first of many, many special needs kids who can profit from these privately-given donations to get a leg up on their challenges.

Reply
Barbarossa January 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

Seriously, why don’t you just STFU!… (1) it’s their child (not yours, or, the state’s), and (2) they’re just trying to recoup some of the expenses for what they already pay for through their (I’m sure, exorbitant) taxes, an education for their son (again, it’s their money they’re seeking to recoup, not yours, the NEA’s, not the SCEA’s, the school board association’s, the state’s, etc, etc,). But again, mainly, just STFU!

Reply
Tom January 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

See Derp, I am a personal responsibility person. I think folks should put forth some effort to pay for their children’s private education before asking the taxpayers to help. But I am willing to take your scenario to the fullest as long as you are willing to acting consistently.
Would you have supported food stamps for Ms. Cobb before her son was of school age, so she could be a stay at home mom? Is it the fact the son is a special needs kid that makes the difference? If so, should we just give money to families with special needs children so parents do not have to work? At what income or asset level should that stop? Should either parent be required to work or should we just give money so both parents do not have to work?
Ms. Cobb could earn more than $5000 working three hours a day at a minimum wage job, while her kid is in school. But instead the taxpayers are giving her $5000 so she does not have to work while her kid is in school.
This is important because the school choice/voucher crowd wants to expand this program to non-special need kids as well. They believe we should provide funding for all private school kids regardless of their abilities or their income.

Reply
Training Pants Tom January 23, 2014 at 11:15 am

Conversely Training Pants Tom, the school monopoly crowd doesn’t want one red cent of their hard earned tax money going anyplace they don’t approve of, do they?

It’s not enough that the taxes are ratcheted up on a continual basis in perpetuity in the face of outright waste, fraud, etc., but you now scream “No!” when a clear option appears that servers EVERYONE WELL, the student, the taxpayer, EVERYONE!

And why do you do it! IDEOLOGY! They very thing you claim the extremists, Tea Baggers, etc. are guilty of.

What a hypocritical sack of shit you are.

Reply
Tom January 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

You see Derp, the problem is you are a victim of the Voucher Crowd disinformation campaign. The average taxpayer in SC pays less than $1500 per year for public education. Almost certainly this family pays in that range. So they are asking the rest of the money to come from everyone else, including people who have their children in public school and people with no children in school.
And no Derp, this does not benefit the Taxpayer. The Taxpayer is still paying the same thing for public education they were before plus $5,000 for private school.
Lets just stop pretending this is not an welfare program, just like food stamps. Its just a question of who is getting the subsidy and whether they are the kind of people you want to give the subsidy to, and what the requirements should be.
Do I have a strong biased against helping parents with special needs kids. No, I don’t. But I think there needs to be a logical way of determining who we are going to help and what we are going to help them with; and stop pretending this is not costing the taxpayer money. We need to treat this like food stamps, Medicaid, or any other similar program. Which is what it is. We sure as heck should not allow some fly by night charity decide who gets the taxpayer dollars.

Training Pants Tom January 23, 2014 at 11:44 am

Great! Let’s get right down the number Training Pants, let’s start off by reaching one you and I agree is accurate(if we can).

The SC Dept of Ed. last issued a report showing an average of $11,500 per student cost over the state to “educate” a student per year.

They are not the “voucher crowd” by any stretch.

Do you agree with what I just posted, or do you disagree?

Tom January 23, 2014 at 11:58 am

Just because the state spends an average of $11,500 per child on education, does not mean that it spends that on every child, or that removing a child from public school will reduce the cost by that amount. It will not. Tied up in that number is infrastructure that must be there regardless of the presence of a child. Likewise we cannot fire a teacher, because one or two students from a school go elsewhere.
Further, in this case; as in every case I have seen thus far, this has nothing to do with public education. This money is going to people whose children are already in private school. So once again this will not reduce the cost of public education one red cent.

Training Pants Tom January 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

“Just because the state spends an average of $11,500 per child on education, does not mean that it spends that on every child, or that removing a child from public school will reduce the cost by that amount.”

Wrong, you are wrong. You know it. That’s why it took you so long to respond.

You can deduct out whatever reasonable overhead you like from the $11,500, you’re still not coming anywhere close to a $5k check for a special needs kid who I guarantee you probably at least doubles the SC system cost above an beyond their base rate of $11,500.

Your shell game is done loser.

This is a clear case of the “right” thing being done and the school monopolists still aren’t happy.

Tom January 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm

First of all I want to apologize to Derp. For some reason he was showing up as the person writing these responses to me.
Second, I am not wrong. Taking a few kids out of a school will not materially reduce the cost of operating that school, and giving money to the parents of kids who are already in private school will have zero impact on the cost of public education.
Third, the right thing being done???. What does that even mean? Why is this the right thing to do, but helping poor people pay for food or health care is not the right thing to do?
I welcome a proper debate on the right thing to do with taxpayer money. As I said, I am willing to support giving money to families with special needs children, as long as we have a fair and reasonable way to decide what we are paying for, who gets the taxpayer money, and what we are requiring of them in return. Letting a private organization decide how to spend taxpayer dollars is nuts. Why is this family more deserving of $5000 taxpayer dollars than say the family of a child who is too disabled for school, but who cost the family a lot of money for caregivers?

SCBlueWoman January 23, 2014 at 12:22 pm

According to the right it’s not a welfare program, only 4% of the 45 students are minority.

Tax Credits aren't Vouchers January 23, 2014 at 1:52 pm

These “scholarships” come from individual and business contributions, right? Then they get a tax credit (their own money back) for up to 60% of their state income tax liability. You view that as money coming out of your pocket? Maybe if it were a straight-up voucher, but it clearly isn’t

Tom January 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Wrong, there is no difference to the taxpayers of the state between credits and vouchers. They each cost the taxpayers the exact same thing. Only the people who want the money see a difference.

This is a government subsidy and someone has to pay for it. Whether you collect the $5000 and pay it out, or never collect the $5000 in the first place, the taxpayers of the state who do not get a credit or who do not get a voucher have to make up the lost revenue.

Smirks January 23, 2014 at 10:54 am

Now imagine all of the single mothers with deadbeat ex-husbands, having to slave away at multiple jobs, working 60-80 hours per week to scrape by and barely take care of their kids.

Oh, the gnashing of teeth when such a poor soul has the audacity to ask for government assistance to put food on the table for her kids. We should cut programs like that.

Reply
Dummy January 23, 2014 at 10:56 am

and do you know what any of that has to do with the state cutting a 1/3 of its cost to give a kid a better education than SOP?

Nothing Mr. Smirks rhymes with Jerks, nothing at all.

Take your red herring elsewhere chump.

Reply
Smirks January 23, 2014 at 11:05 am

Mr. Smirks rhymes with Jerks

Thanks for chiming in, Dr. Seuss.

Reply
Dummy January 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

You’re welcome Mayor Augustus May Who

Derp January 23, 2014 at 10:26 am

The best choice in schools would be one outside of the south eastern US.

Reply
Smirks January 23, 2014 at 10:46 am

Funding for children with special needs to get specialized education? Okay, sure.

Starting some voucher bullshit mostly designed to refund money to upper-middle class families who already send their kids to private school and pretending it will mean thousands upon thousands of at-risk youths receiving inadequate public education will somehow miraculously find themselves in prestigious private schools, receive the best education possible, and turn into honor students overnight? Uh, no.

School Choice™ presented by ALEC and Howard Rich is not responsible for the contents of this comment.

Reply
Godslayer January 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Why do you want to prevent retarded kids from learning about Creationism? They’re the perfect audience for it!

Reply
BrigidBernadette January 23, 2014 at 10:50 am

C’mon FITS, tell us about the DSS hearing yesterday!

Reply
Jesus H. Christ! January 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Socialism for me but not for thee.

Reply
euwe max January 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm

ok timmy, settle down – you’re too stupid to have your own opinion about the existence of God. Repeat after me – “Our Father…”

Reply
BIN News Editorial Staff January 24, 2014 at 12:27 am

“Frog fart.” That’s how our Funding Editor described sic(k) willie’s latest post supporting Howie the Voucher Clown’s latest approach to his voucher scam.

What a voucher slut to pander to our sympathy for special needs kids.

This frog fart is just another bait and switch scam to trick folks into supporting what everyone knows is a voucher scam to rob from the kids who need help the most.

S.C. has had school choice forever. Send you kids to any school you want. Public schools is SC are everywhere. If you choose a private school, pay for it yourself.

Don’t rob public schools of public money to support private schools.

BIN News Editorial Staff
Flair, Flare and Balanced

Reply
Gillon January 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

Seems to me that if the lady is “a stay home mom”, the ideal solution would be for her to homeschool the kid, and thus free up the grant money for another child whose mother has to work and is more needy. Is there no income test for the recipients of the grants?

Reply
Tom January 26, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Yes, but apparently you can lower your income by choosing not to work. Again, how is this different from the stay at home mom who asks the government to help feed her children?

Reply
west_rhino January 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

So in summary, from those opposed to leveling the field for those according to their needs, where the public skulez are mandated to provide for those needs; we have an underlying question of should those that have no children, thus no burden on the education unions, do they deserve a complete rebate of their taxes levied by unchecked school boards?
Theft from grandma and grandpa is still theft.

Reply
Anonymous January 25, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I’m glad they found a private school that works. Working is also a good idea for the stay at home mom. Then she would not need additional funds to remain debt free. IN other words, get a job mom.

Reply

Leave a Comment