“REPUBLICANS” GET RHETORIC RIGHT ON SCHOOL CHOICE
There’s a lot not to like about the 2016 “Republican” party platform (.pdf). Just ask South Carolina’s libertarian-leaning State Senator, Tom Davis.
Of course there was some redeeming language included in the document, too – especially as it relates to the issue of education.
“Republicans” are broadly – and specifically – calling for expanded parental choice in education. They are also openly acknowledging the failure of over-funded “one size fits none” government-run schools.
“We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools,” the GOP platform stated. “We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.”
Not only that, the platform says expanding access to a more diverse array of learning environments is “one of the greatest civil rights challenges of our time.”
We concur … wholeheartedly.
“A young person’s ability to succeed in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, ZIP code, or economic status,” the platform stated – arguing that “enormous amounts of money are being spent for K-12 public education with overall results that do not justify that spending level.”
South Carolina readers will recall a 2014 S.C. Supreme Court decision which similarly concluded that state government was failing to provide a “minimally adequate” education to low income students in certain rural districts.
In its ruling, the court expressly noted that mountains of new taxpayer money had failed to improve this situation.
“Spending fails to provide students with the opportunity to obtain a minimally adequate education,” the court found. “Rather, the evidence demonstrates that there is a clear disconnect between spending and results.”
Indeed. South Carolina pumps billions of dollars into its government-run system each year … yet receives diminishing returns on that investment.
How much money are we talking about? Well, not including tax-hiking bond referendums (such as this corrupt scam up in Spartanburg, S.C.), annual spending on South Carolina’s failed government-run system has soared from $7.4 billion to $9.8 billion over the past six years.
That’s a whopping 32.4 percent increase …
Astoundingly, “conservative” South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has responded to the state’s increasingly costly academic slippage by proposing … wait for it … more government. Specifically, Haley has outlined a massive new spending spree for government-run schools – one that would be financed by constitutionally-dubious borrowing.
In advancing such a proposal, Haley is literally throwing good money after bad … and doing so in direct contravention of her own party’s platform.
Sadly, GOP party platform language has never been accompanied by real reform – especially not in South Carolina. After all, the Palmetto State’s “Republican” platform has consistently called for expanded parental choice – yet the state’s “Republican-controlled” government has consistently failed to make good on that promise.
And let’s not forget who “Republican” voters just chose as the state’s new education superintendent …
Bottom line: Expanded parental choice is a civil right …
Our hope is GOP leaders in the Palmetto State will start treating it like one … and stop treating it like something that needs to be eradicated.