It seems like a lifetime since Republican Governor Carroll Campbell made improving public education a centerpiece of his agenda as Governor. Governors David Beasley and Jim Hodges carried on that legacy. That all changed with Governor Mark Sanford and now Governor Nikki Haley and the Republican leadership, once champions of public education for economic development, now stand by helpless as school districts issue cuts left and right that make little sense to the people.
A couple of years ago, South Carolina shifted the weight of funding public education from local levels to the statewide level. What has ensued is school districts around the state coming up short and laying off people left and right, all in the name of budget cuts.
Of course, that is all well and good until one considers how nonsensical some of the layoffs are. Layoffs are being made for petty and political reasons around the state in the name of budget cuts. Old scores are being settled by school board members who want to show who is boss over old rivals. Even dumber is the notion that folks in education, be they teachers, administrators or support staff who are retired, should be laid off because they are already retired.
Firing such folks seems sensible to those who know little. Politicians can scream about how some employee who is retired is drawing a pension and a paycheck. The problem with their logic is that the people who have retired are paying into the retirement system as they remain employed. Laying them off puts them on the retirement roll without them working and contributing to the system. It might sound good to the ignorant, but in the end, it will cost more money. Stupid is as stupid does, as Forrest Gump puts it.
Then there are other factors, things that are just flat insulting. People who have worked their entire lives serving the public in the education system are getting notice via things like email and text messages that their services are no longer needed. Frankly put, that is the piss ant world we live in. Real men and women look a man or woman in the eye and tell them face to face that their services are no longer needed. Think about it, after thirty years or so of service, a man or woman gets an email or text message saying they are no longer needed. That is not how to treat or appreciate people. But, that is the world we live in today. But, we will not fire you if you create an atmosphere that allows your employee to file a false inspection report on an amusement ride that failed and killed a child. That is Nikki Haley’s South Carolina and the world we live in.
And, that world is because of the culture created by our leadership. Say what they will, our state leaders do not care about public education, because most the of kids in public education are children of people not like them. They speak outside of one side of their mouths about how they support public education and out the other side about how those who have years of experience are “educrats” and need to go. Make no mistake, far too many of our state leaders, at all levels, are scared to death of the politics the Howard Rich money can make for them. As such, they will put good men and women out to pasture with an email or text message to make sure they have the taxpayer money to pay for Rich/Haley crowd’s tax subsidies to prop up failing private schools. After all, their kids are not in a public school in Ware Shoals or Iva or Branchville or Great Falls or Allendale.
Such is wrong. Such is not conservative. It is just big government working for those who pay for it. And it is big government that insults people who have given their lives to public service. It is an atmosphere created by our state leaders that allows old scores to be settled while state leaders smile about putting some career educator out to pasture. Indeed, it is anti conservative. State and local government is being used to carry out an agenda that seems bought for by a man from New York. And, it is being done in a piss ant way, which seems typical of that crowd and those who hide behind them.