The Greenville County School Board has approved a tax increase in order to fund the much-needed construction of new schools. Though the phrase “tax increase” strikes fear among most people, this “increase” will result in roughly $33 more per year in taxes for the owner of a $180,000 home. Our children are certainly worth 9 cents more per day.
Yikes! Today’s The State (June 26, 2017) reports that thousands of South Carolina teachers might quit next year (on top of the 6,500 who didn’t return to classrooms for the 2016-2017 school year). One culprit is the elimination of the TERI program. Another main cause? Public sector salaries in South Carolina have been deemed “uncompetitive.” That will come as no surprise to the countless teachers who are among our most dedicated public servants.
Today’s The State (June25, 2017) reports that South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) thinks that the House should be dismissed from the suit (Abbeville v. South Carolina) to address the needs of the state’s poorest school districts. He claims, “‘I believe our work achieves a higher standard than the court’s definition of minimally adequate education.'” And yet the The State indicates that “few of the House proposals … have become law.” That would seem to be lower (not higher) than the court’s definition (which is already unacceptably low).
In the current issue of Education Week (June 21, 2017), Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Thule Lubienski report that mounting research suggests that students who use vouchers to attend private schools actually suffer from academic declines (not gains), especially in math (“Why School Vouchers Aren’t Working,” p. 22). That news is bad enough. Nevertheless, an additional problem with school vouchers is that they violate the doctrine of church/state separation when they are used to send students to religious schools (despite what a closely divided Supreme Court ruled in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris ). It’s irrelevant that we aren’t forcing students to attend such schools (as voucher proponents argue); rather, it’s the fact that tax dollars are being used to support a sectarian educational enterprise (regardless of whether one supports the creeds/dogmas at issue). To put it another way, would we permit tax dollars to support a particular church even though the individuals who attended that church weren’t forced to do so? Of course not.
Today’s Greenville News indicates that the Carolina Music Museum will be re-locating from Easley to the Coca-Cola building on Heritage Green in downtown Greenville. The museum’s large collection of musical instruments will be a valuable cultural resource that will help maintain Heritage Green as a key educational destination for scholars, students, and the general public. (Photo: Tom Strange)