Sunday, May 3, 2009

Goodbye Minimally Adequate Guest Post

Is it a guest post if the guest doesn't know he's posting? I don't

This is written by Jim Rex, the SC Superintendent of Education. Gotta
love him.

"Our state constitution’s language is not unique. At one time or another, 48 of the 50 state constitutions have included a requirement that required them to provide not good schools, just free ones. But some of those states – states who are our competitors for high-skilled and high-paying jobs – have decided to raise the bar for themselves.

Take Florida, whose constitution required “a uniform system of free public schools.” Ten years ago, Florida’s voters amended their state constitution to read this way: “The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to
obtain a high quality education…”

Florida isn’t alone. Virginia and Illinois also set a new state requirement for “high-quality” schools, and Maryland decided to require that its schools be “thorough and efficient.” South Carolina schools, meanwhile, are required to be free and minimally adequate.Fortunately, we no longer have to be saddled with such a self-defeating standard. Senate bill 1136 proposes a constitutional amendment that would require a system of “high-quality” public schools. I think this proposal is worthy of a thorough discussion in the General Assembly.

Will a constitutional amendment solve the deep-seated problems of public education in South Carolina? Of course not. But significant improvements have been made and nationally recognized, and more improvements are on the way. In the meantime, South Carolina needs a constitutional standard that defines our goals and aspirations better than “minimally adequate.” And I believe voters should define that standard, not judges. In Florida, parents, taxpayers and business
people jumped at the chance to strengthen their state’s constitution.

Seventy-one percent of the voters in Florida’s 1998 constitutional
referendum approved the new language that made high-quality public schools a “paramount duty” of the state.

I believe South Carolinians would make just as strong a commitment. Our children deserve it, and our future demands it."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Now that it is Not Tax Season, Fridays are my "day off." I probably shouldn't tell anyone that. I should tell everyone I'm going to work. I should get dressed, drive off, and then come back after everyone is gone and go back to bed. Or not.

This week we have Gabe and Brendon, which makes best laid plans seem like cloudy wisps of outlines of what I might have done if I hadn't had to hold Brendon and Gabe all day.

OK, it wasn't that bad. Brendon is fine in his swing if it's in the kitchen where I am cleaning and blogging. Gabe has some really cool wooden blocks on the kitchen floor. They make a really great noise when he throws them in the cast iron crab pot. And let's face it, I'd rather hold the babies than wash dishes anyway.

So today, I have cleaned a little. And of course, we all took a long nap (not long enough for me, let me tell you.)

This week, I will:

  • clean my room
  • sort clothes
  • sort socks while thinking of Shawn's alternate sock universe
  • move the bird bath to the back and plant some butterfly bushes around it
  • do whatever it is I need to do at work (that's another list)
  • walk at least ONCE
  • eat the angel way at least three days (OK, I'm in restart mode and moving slowly)
  • take the initial steps for a huge fundraising gala for Carolina School for Inquiry in the fall

As always, wish me good luck.