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SC Power Struggle Over “Minimally Adequate” Government-Run Schools




There’s a battle brewing between South Carolina’s legislative and executive branches of government over the state’s worst-in-the-nation government-run schools.

Last fall, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled that the Palmetto State’s government-run education system (an effective monopoly in most corners of the state) was not fulfilling its constitutional duty to provide a “minimally adequate” education in poor, rural districts.  Surprisingly, the court also stated – explicitly – what we’ve been saying for years, namely that throwing more money at this failed system has not worked.

How did the S.C. General Assembly respond to the court’s ruling?  Easy: By throwing more money at the same failed system.

Oh, and ignoring proven reforms like parental choice …

We’ve addressed the constitutionality of this ruling previously (arguing against the court) but there is no denying the conclusion reached by the justices regarding government-run “education” in South Carolina.

If anything, they didn’t go far enough …

“It goes without saying South Carolina’s government-run schools are not ‘minimally adequate,’” we wrote.  “They are totally inadequate – despite receiving billions upon billions of dollars in new money over the past few decades.”

Now the S.C. Supreme Court is attempting to impose a deadline of February 1 – at which time the S.C. General Assembly is supposed to present its plan for addressing the ruling.

Legislative leaders are having none of that, though …

“Arbitrary deadlines that seek to hijack the legislative process and meaningless approval from an unrealistic super-panel will not reform South Carolina’s education delivery system,” S.C. Speaker of the House Jay Lucas said in a statement.  “Achieving actual improvement requires extensive study and input from those most familiar with the issues.”

Lucas and liberal S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman have filed a motion before the high court asking it to reconsider its latest ruling.

“The court’s attempt to overstep its judicial authority further complicates the lawmaking process,” Lucas said.  “More importantly, it negates the significant progress made by the House Education Task Force over the last ten months.  Every child in every part of our state deserves access to a 21st century education. Because we must preserve the diligent work already completed by our task force, we think it is imperative that the Supreme Court vacate their most recent order and remove themselves from the legislative process.”

Our thoughts?

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Until South Carolina’s leaders – in all three branches of government – recognize the futility of pumping more money into a failed monopoly, there will never be real reform.

From our latest treatment of this issue …

If our state ever hopes to achieve real economic progress (as opposed to bribing companies to come here with your tax dollars), then South Carolina’s future generations can no longer be held hostage by our failed “one size fits none” government education system.  That means our leaders must – at long last – start putting the needs of individual children first, not continue bowing down to the bureaucrats holding all of us back.

Lawmakers must expand school choice.  Dramatically.  And make it part of permanent state law.

Only then will be begin to see the sort of academic gains that money clearly couldn’t buy …

Sadly, our guess is the state’s liberal mainstream media – which has always been hostile to parental choice – will continue focusing on the political battle between the legislative and judicial branches.

That’s a shame …

It’s so obvious what needs to be done here.  In fact it’s been obvious for years, but South Carolina’s leaders apparently prefer to continue playing games and wasting money rather than doing what works.