Issue Position: Education in South Carolina
We continue to believe passionately that a parent ought to be able to decide what school works best for their child, and as a consequence believe in the need for choice in education and market based solutions to education. It therefore strikes me that as we deal with education funding this year in the wake of property tax reform - we have two readily achievable outcomes in this area.
One, I think moving toward a single weighted funding formula is not only something we can do, but it would also move us toward greater educational equality in South Carolina and open avenues by which more educational choices could become available in South Carolina.
Two, let's recognize our wide-ranging school district sizes and structures for what they are - in some cases a throwback to the era of segregation, and so let's instead move toward a system of one district per county.
A small but significant step towards new thinking on education was represented by the passage in 2007 of the Virtual Schools Act, providing students across the state with more learning options. In 2006 we also helped jumpstart the first-in-the-nation statewide charter school district.
Much more work needs to be done. Many public schools in South Carolina have been failing for decades despite ever-increasing sums being allocated to the public education system. We think it's vital to bring competition into that system by introducing more charter schools, by allowing parents to enroll their children in the programs they think best, and by providing tax credits and vouchers to parents of children in failing schools.
These are some of our principal accomplishments and goals. The people in this administration are dedicated to the idea that we don't serve ourselves: we're employed by, and we serve, the people of South Carolina.