Decisions made regarding the education of our children should hinge on one question - "What is best for the students?" When examining the education situation of the 5th Congressional District however, we see that students have been missing from the equation. Fifty percent of all South Carolina students dropout of school before receiving their high school diploma; 13 of 14 counties in our district have drop out rates higher than the state average. We must recognize that today's young people are not only competing with their fellow classmates or against students from the next town over. They are competing with students from throughout America and millions more from around the globe. Yet we continue to send our children out into the 21st century workforce by way of 20th century schools. By doing this we not only disappoint our children but we endanger our future as a prosperous nation as well. Education holds a critical function in a free society, and I am committed to taking bold steps to improve schools in South Carolina. It's time for a change in Washington, and with fresh ideas and principled leadership we can work together to make America's education system a source of national pride once again.