SC Politics

School Choice In South Carolina: Pushing Bigger, Better Proposals

“They’re your tax dollars …”

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Earlier this week we published a guest column from Randan Steinhauser, who is currently serving as national school choice director for Young Americans for Liberty.

 “From enhanced educational outcomes to notable emotional improvements for children who participate in choice programs, the results are more than just a statistic or a test score,” Steinhauser wrote. “Lives are forever changed by the power of school choice.”

If you have followed this news outlet for any significant period of time, you know we believe this wholeheartedly.

As I have often noted, choice is the “silver bullet” in education – the key to unlocking academic achievement, stimulating innovation and creating the only accountability that’s worth a damn, the accountability of the marketplace.

Unfortunately, school choice in South Carolina is a shadow of what it should be … and of what it is in other states which have decided to prioritize the issue. And while the program is on the cusp of an expansion in the Palmetto State, “Republican” leaders – who continue to defy their stated conservative principles on multiple fronts – remain slavishly devoted to the status quo.

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How do we know this? Because the state’s failed government-run system – which continues to fall further behind the rest of the nation – keeps receiving massive increases in taxpayer funding. Per pupil funding on South Carolina’s failed government-run system is pushing $18,000 per child, per year … totaling nearly $14 billion annually. And that’s not counting carry-forward balances hoarded by districts, federal “stimulus” funding or proceeds from local bond referendums.

Meanwhile, meaningful (and not-so-meaningful) choice expansions continue to be shot down.

According to Steinhauser, the simplest way to put parents back in charge of their children’s education is to allow them access to “100 percent” of the money the state is spending so they can pursue alternatives in the free market.

“They’re your tax dollars, they’re your child,” Steinhauser told me. “You’re already paying property taxes and in South Carolina we know there’s a lot of room for improvement in the amount of money government is already taking from us. So let’s give it back to the parents (and) allow them that freedom to choose how their child is educated.”

Amen to that, people.

To watch my full conversation with Steinhauser, click here.

Also, keep an eye on her group in the coming weeks and months as it gets involved in the ongoing battle for the heart and soul of the state’s bitterly divided “Republican” party.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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2 comments

Observer April 14, 2023 at 11:14 am

Have anyone explained to the parent and students how these proposals would end up killing high school football and other sports?

Wonder how that will go do in the South?

Reply
Ralph Hightower Top fan April 14, 2023 at 1:05 pm

It’s my tax dollars also; they’re your kids. My wife and I didn’t have children; back then in-vitro was science fiction. If school choice is not based on income requirements, then we deserve a tax break also because we didn’t use “the system”.

But what about those parents in Allendale County that want to send their kids to private school? The only thing in Allendale is pre-K. Will private schools be required to provide bus services outside of their area?

If public money is diverted to private schools, then there should be public oversight.

Reply

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