The South Carolina State Senate will be dealing with a bill soon that addresses whether or not the people of South Carolina can elect the Superintendent of Education who oversees their children’s public schools. The House passed a measure to put to the ballot a constitutional amendment that would make the post of State Superintendent of Education an appointed post under the Governor.
Supporters of the measure say that it will restructure state government and give the Governor greater power on public education in South Carolina. Fair enough. However, we at VUI think the measure is not in the best interests of the people of South Carolina and what they traditionally expect in governing their children’s schools.
Here is why. First, South Carolina is a state filled with people who like to have the most direct control over their children’s education. For that reason, dozens or local school boards are elected around the state to oversee the many school districts that are within the state. The leaders of those school districts are chosen by those elected boards, and the people can oust those boards if they do not like their choices.
The State Board of Education oversees it all. The South Carolina State Board of Education is elected by the members of the South Carolina General Assembly. It is broken down by districts. Board members are often elected by members of the General Assembly as political favors, both right and left, and often without Governor Haley’s beloved on the record voting. It is the good ole boy system at its best.
The saving grace of the supervision of education at the state level is the fact that the people have a voice at the polls to actually elect a Superintendent of Education. Whatever the kickbacks and favors and whatever else that goes into to making up the State Board of Education, the people decide now who will head the Department of Education. There are not Governors or legislators or political favors in play, just the people choosing who they want to oversee one of the state’s most important roles. That is South Carolina. We are a people who want a voice in such things. We are not New Jersey, as some activists would have us become, with a Governor all but an elected dictator.
There are those that say General Zais, the current South Carolina State Superintendent of Education, wants his office appointed. Fair enough. The General, though elected by the people, has considerable political reasons for making that stand. Frankly put, re-appointment is easier than re-election.
And, frankly, that is why South Carolina should keep electing its Superintendent of Education. It ought to be tough to get the job and hold onto the job. There should be no good ole boy appointments and back slapping. The people should decide who gets the job. After all, the role of education in the state is far to big for a Governor or even the legislature to decide who runs it. Big government liberals love that power, not conservatives, not South Carolinans. If you believe in the right of the people to best decide who leads them in big things, as a real conservative would, then you must stand up and say let the people’s voice continue to be heard when it comes to electing the South Carolina Superintendent of Education.