More on defeat of vouchers

Here’s the AP story on what happened. As I said before, dramatic stuff. It was truly a case of Capt. Smith of the 218th Brigade to the rescue of public schools:

{BC-SOU-XGR-Legislator-Guardsman, 1st Ld-Writethru,0321}
{SC legislator, Guardsman on leave from training casts key vote}
{Eds: Will be updated.}
{AP Photos SCMC101-103}
{Associated Press Writer}=
   COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A proposal that would help parents pay for private school tuition with public money was defeated Thursday by South Carolina lawmakers, the third consecutive year the idea has failed.
   The effort to defeat the plan was energized by a House legislator who flew home from Army National Guard training to argue against the proposal.
Captsmith   Army Capt. James Smith, on leave from Fort Riley, Kansas, told colleagues that voters decided in November they didn’t want school vouchers when they elected a Democrat to head the Education Department.
   Smith, a Democrat, is set to deploy to Afghanistan in a couple of months.
   "I’m here solely for the voucher vote," he said.
   Smith said he told his battalion commander Lt. Col. John Nagl that it was an important vote and was granted a day’s leave.
   "He said he didn’t want to stand in the way of Democracy," Smith said at the Statehouse, where he was flanked by his 11-year-old son, Thomas.
   House Minority Leader Harry Ott said he called Smith on Wednesday after Republicans proposed a plan that would allow students to transfer to private schools. The idea came as legislators debated a proposal to let parents enroll their children in any public school regardless of attendance lines.
   "I said, ‘Get home. We need your vote,"’ Ott, D-St. Matthews, said he told Smith.
   Smith told colleagues that when voters chose Education Superintendent Jim Rex – the only Democrat elected to statewide office – it showed they did not want public money going to private schools. Rex wants to give parents more choice by allowing them to send their student to any public school.
   Advocates of private school choice thought they had the votes Wednesday night, but Smith’s presence likely renewed Democrats’ efforts, said Denver Merrill, spokesman for South Carolinians for Responsible Government.
   "We’re inching along, and we’re not going anywhere," Merrill said.

The libertarian impulse doesn’t stand up all that well in the face of a
man so willing to lay his life on the line for the greater good. That’s
just a little too much moral force, I guess.

167 thoughts on “More on defeat of vouchers

  1. Doug Ross

    I’m sure the kids in Allendale will be holding a parade for Captain Smith. Assuming they can spell “hero”.
    A clear victory for business as usual and the education establishment that has created the failing system we have today.
    Someday you gotta do a little introspective self-analysis of your military fetish.

  2. Randy E

    Doug, I believe the “military fetish” comment is petty.
    How would this bill have helped the kids in Allendale? I’m not saying it wouldn’t, I’d like to explore the issue.

  3. Lee

    Jim Rex’s Phony School Choice
    * He knows the federal courts will help the status quo sue to block it as an unwinding of their racial redistricting
    * There is no room in the good schools, and the public school gang has no intention of supplying customer demand. If they did, they would fix the broken schools.
    * The poor students have no way to get from their bad schools to the good ones, and GovCo has no intention of supplying transportation.

  4. Doug Ross

    Brad’s “fascination” with the military is evident across many of the posts in this blog. It’s sort of like the guy who says “I coulda played in the major leagues if I hadn’t hurt my arm in high school”.

  5. Doug Ross

    Lee’s nailed it. Jim Rex’s school choice plan is going to consist of some very carefully selected pilot programs which will be deemed successful no matter what and a whole lot of nothing for the majority of kids in the state.

  6. Randy E

    What about Allendate students and private school choice? I have some doubts about a private school providing much relief in this county. The 1st link below shows a map of the county. AFHS is in Fairfax – on one end of the county. Where and how will a private school operate?
    This is a POOR county. The high school has ONE page on it’s website. That’s the second link. The census info is the 3rd link. The median household income is nearly half of the state median and the poverty level is nearly double.
    I agree with your willingness to redistribute the wealth of our state towards those in need, but think we need to do MORE. We can’t simply pass the responsibility over those in need to private entities.
    Campbell Jr. is the ONLY one who addressed dealing with these poor communities as a whole. I think we should explore this avenue.

  7. ed

    Brad, am I missing something? If this vote was close enough that one guy had to fly home to singlehandedly cast the winning vote, it seems to me that at LEAST a small part of the reporting on this story ought to be about how the tide in South Carolina has turned. This is a direct echo of what happened in November, when Rex won by one half of an RCH (red chest hair). Supporters of vouchers are only losing these battles by the thinnest razors’ edge margins, and if present trends continue it seems to me that eventually they’ll win. It might look better for you down at the paper of record if at some point you had done at least a little reporting of that. Ed

  8. Randy E

    Ed may make a good point about today’s vote, BUT the vote in November must be taken in context.
    The ONLY dem elected to state wide office was Rex. He didn’t enter the race until May. Floyd was in the race for a year and a half. She had big name endorsements. She had a serious campaign operation. She also had the exposure of the Republican primary. Rex wasn’t even discussed by Brad until the end of the summer.

  9. chris

    So…if the military man had voted the other way…would he be a hero? Was the vote defeated by one vote?
    Jezzz…I am sure the guy is a great fellow…but gimme a break.
    Dont worry about the kids in Allendale…thy were represented well today…serving Jim Rex in his private dinning room at the Summit Club…in a room full of overpaid educrats.
    Yep…the Educrats are doing well…and the kids are hoping for a tip. Status quo…

  10. LexWolf

    This is so sad. Brad and the rest of the big government ideologues are whooping it up over this “victory” while our kids are condemned to yet another year without real reform and real accountability. But who cares about the kids as long as the big government monster continues to be fed?

  11. Doug Ross

    Wait til you read Rex’s “plan”…. In addition to mandatory 4 year old kindergarten, he wants to add 3 year old kindergarten for poor kids. Why don’t we just make these kids wards of the state and keep them on the government dole from cradle to grave?
    3 and 4 year old kindergarten is simply glorified day care… at the taxpayers expense.

  12. Randy E

    Let’s summarize the posts:
    Chris offers nothing in the way of a suggestion. It’s easier to sit on the side line and criticize.
    Lex favors diverting $8,000+ in tax payer dollars towards private schools for these poor families who certainly don’t pay that much in taxes yet decries big government which he admitted would oversee these very same private schools. Let’s see, we’ll send tax payer dollars to pay for the education of these same kids and will have the same government oversight.
    Doug offers similar demogoguery but has yet to explain how this plan would have served the kids in Allendale as asked repeatedly. Someone’s dodging…again.
    Let’s all peck away at our computers in our ivory towers because it’s easier to tear down what we have than to offer meaningful reform ourselves.
    Lex and Doug, let’s hear you actually defend and explain this private school plan. How would this plan help the kids in Allendale? DETAILS!

  13. Randy E

    I predict neither can support this private school choice plan so they will attack me instead.

  14. Paul DeMarco

    Ed and Chris,
    The vote for the public school choice bill (H3124) was 69-53, so Capt. Smith’s vote wasn’t critical. A number of Republican legislators crossed over to allow passage of the bill.
    To me this bill is mostly symbolic.. School choice (public of private) will do little to improve education. All the districts in Marion County practice school choice-we allow students who to transfer in and out of our districts at will, with very few exceptions.
    My guess is that Rex is trying to frame the debate. He wants to establish public school choice as the only “choice” option. I suspect he’s hoping that will send a strong enough signal to Howard Rich and the other SCRG types that SC is no longer promising territory and that they should waste their money pushing a voucher proposal in some other state.
    The pro-voucher groups have only polarized the public school debate in SC without adding anything valuable. The sooner they are gone the sooner we can get back to addressing school problems in a saner and more congenial way.
    Rex knows that the most significant change he could make would be to change the way schools are funded. I believe that unless we move to a Vermont style system in which all school revenue is first sent from school districts to Columbia and then redistributed on a per pupil basis so that every student in the state is supported by the same amount of money (with adjustments for special needs, poverty weighting, etc.) that our inequality will be locked in.
    I hope that he is laying some groundwork in the General Assembly for this kind of fundamental change. This victory in the House is a good start.
    One of Jim Rex’s most appealing qualities is his lack of partisanship. He advocates making the Superintendent’s election non-partisan. His efforts are directed to what he thinks will work and what is doable. He’s not interested in scoring political points.

  15. Randy E

    I don’t see initiatives from Rex to address Allendale-Fairfax, Eau Claire etc.
    As a teacher it pains me to see the data from schools like this. AFHS is around 75% free and reduced lunch. They keep only 2/3 of their teachers each year. Not a single student qualified for the Life Scholarship – FREE COLLEGE!!!
    I’m waiting for the voucher crowd to explain how their plan will provide for the poor kids in Allendale. I assume they can thumb their way across the county to the new private school.
    Again, the ONLY person I’ve seen address the problem of poor rural schools in depth is Campbell.

  16. kc

    I am pleased to hear that the government of South Carolina will not be taking my money and redistributing it to the likes of the pseudo-libertarian LexWolf.

  17. Mark Whittington

    Trick question:
    We wave a magic wand, and suddenly all people in South Carolina achieve perfect SAT scores and earn advanced degrees. What effect will this have on poverty as a relative measure?
    Correct answer: Nothing whatsoever given the same tax structure. A particular distribution of wealth has to develop in capitalism for a given tax structure. A poor educational system doesn’t create poverty: it’s the other way around.
    Why are all of these kids on the free lunch program? What happened to the good paying manufacturing jobs that these children’s parents used to have?
    We’ll never be able to solve serious problems in the framework of neo-liberalism. My suggestion is to get our ineffectual congressmen to actually do something about the thirty years of free trade agreements that have ravaged South Carolina, the South, and the Midwest into near penury. Education should be federally funded on an equal basis for all Americans, as should be healthcare and pensions.

  18. Doug Ross

    Here’s the contents of the bill that passed..
    2007-08: Gather statewide input on public school choice and help school districts enact voluntary choice programs
    2008-09: All school districts must offer at least one school choice for resident students at each of the elementary, middle and high school levels.
    2009-10: Statewide open enrollment begins, meaning students can apply to attend any school in the state regardless of where they live. Districts must accept a number of out-of-district students equal to one half of a percentage point of a district’s highest average enrollment during the past 10 years. Every year, the number of students who must be accepted will increase by half a percentage point until reaching 3 percent. Schools only must accept out-of-district students if they have capacity, meaning overcrowded schools would not have to accept transfers.

    This is how government works:
    First year, make a plan… second year, implement a minor piece of the plan…
    Years three and four, assume the public has
    forgotten about the original plan and come up with a new plan.
    What is about government educrats that it takes a year to come up with a plan? Isn’t there anybody in the Department of Education capable of coming up with a plan in three months? Not when you’re living off the tax dollars and have no need to be accountable to anyone.
    Notice the percentage caps on the number of choice slots that will be available. One half of one percent and then it will take FIVE more years to reach the 3% maximum.
    For Richland 2, that means 105 slots three years from now spread across 25 schools…
    WOW!!! That is bold innovation that Rex is putting out there… What a visionary!!!
    Again, this is typical government efficiency. Someone pulls a number out of an orifice and turns it into a ten year plan… and I guarantee there will be people who will be paid out of our tax dollars to monitor the .5% — except there will be no consequences for not providing those slots. Just claim overcrowding and you’re off the hook.
    You think a district like Richland 2 is going to open up slots at the best schools? No way. If they open up any slots, it will be at the schools where enrollment is dropping (Decker Blvd area).
    You get the government you deserve…. P.T. Barnum was sort of right – there’s a sucker born every minute and he lives in South Carolina.

  19. Randy E

    Doug, if you can’t answer the question about Allendale, just say so. You’re not the only one.
    Of course, this undermines your criticism of the defeat of the bill. If you can’t offer a shred of evidence of how this bill would have been effective, then it should have been defeated.
    So I’ll answer it for you. Allendale would not benefit in the least from ANY type of choice. Your contention that they could “car pool” if they wanted an alternative choice badly enough [sic] is hardly realistic. I’ll cite the #s for you again. There is ONE public high school in Allendale County. It’s in Fairfax on the east side. They have DOUBLE the poverty rate of SC in general.
    Here are a couple more questions the public school haters will dodge. How would the $4500 for the poor enable these poor kids to attend a private school? Allendale loses 1/3 of their faculty every year. How will the school in this poor county be staffed? How many teachers will be knocking down the door to teach here, unless you bump up the salary? Then you’re talking about a great deal more spending than the pittance provided in this bill.
    These are tough questions so I expect the hate mongers to take the easy route and focus on their demogoguery.

  20. Randy E

    Mark, I disagree. My son should not receive the same funding as kids in Allendale. They need more. Spring Valley, for example, has a school foundation that pulls in a great deal of money beyond public funding. Allendale probably has car washes.

  21. ed

    Mark, I’m not so impressed with your trick question as I am with your trick premises and trick assumptions. If “something was done” about 30 years of free trade agreements as you suggest, (which I guess means do away with them, you conveniently weren’t specific about exactly what you think should be done), then that would mean we’d still have people employed in South Carolina making textile products that cost 40-200% more to produce than the same products made elsewhere. What then? Is your idea for the U.S. government to force americans to buy the more expensive products? Because certainly no one will of their own volition. Or would you simply have the government stop these cheaper products from entering this country? Or maybe we could just slap a tax or tariff on cheaper foreign goods so that the cost is the same to the U.S. consumer no matter which he buys. Who gets screwed under that scheme? And might not that plan really tick off the countries we trade with? What would stop them from doing the same thing to any product we make cheaper than their domestic equivalent? Your ideas are old, have been tried repeatedly, and have been deonstrated beyond an atom of doubt NOT to work Mark. I agree with you that our representatives in government are inneffectual. I also concur that liberlism, not just “neo” but liberalism in ANY form isn’t the answer. But attempting to rig markets and distort prices and costs so that our more expensive products can somehow “compete” is nuts…it hasn’t worked and won’t now. Especially now. I don’t think your ideas about healthcare and pensions are good ones either, but that’s another topic. Ed

  22. Steve Gordy

    GOP diehards who rant endlessly about how narrow Rex’s victory last November was seem to forget that W won the popular vote in Florida in 2000 by about the same number of votes. This, in a state with 4 times our population.
    Give Rex a chance before you start spouting the usual raft of partisan slogans.

  23. Reed Swearingen

    To label a “school” as failing is not addressing the problem. I taught at Eau Claire High School in the early 90s. Eau Claire is considered a failing school, even though I found many of the teachers to be qualified and dedicated to their profession. But how is a school (public or private) to overcome what a student may face at home – an absent parent (perhaps a single parent who has a job) and/or a parent who is illiterate? And what about the child who arrives to 5k not knowing how to count or to say the ABCs? This child is behind from day one, and I’ve yet to meet many 5-year olds capable of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.
    Our public school system is segregated along socioeconomic lines. Most parents choose to live in the best school district that they can afford, which results in poorer children, who are more likely to face the obstacles described herein, being grouped into the same school. In effect, the school itself is behind from day one. Public school choice should help with the grouping problem and early intervention in the form of 4k would help address the under-preparedness problem. No system will be perfect.
    Regarding private school vouchers, I fail to see how funneling money outside of the public system will help improve public schools. Nor am I convinced that the private schools want the oversight that should be attached to public funds. And what about the students located in our poor rural areas? I’ve not seen many private schools located here. These students face a different set of problems, which includes unqualified teachers (my apologies, but it needs to be said). A solution to help poor rural schools? Double teacher salaries in these areas to make it more attractive for a teacher to commute or perhaps live in these areas.

  24. Doug Ross

    Why are public school sycophants afraid to even try giving kids in Allendale $4500 to see what happens? What’s the worse thing that could happen — they end up back in a horrible public school?

  25. Doug Ross

    Then how do you expect the kids in Allendale to escape the shackles of failed government schools? Houdini couldn’t get out of that one…

  26. BoardBuzz: NSBA's Daily Weblog

    Voucher action heats up in the states

    Lots of activity in state legislatures this week on private school vouchers. Here’s the rundown: South Carolina: The House again rejected a school voucher/tuition tax credit plan. Several votes on voucher amendments, including a 70-49 vote to table the…

  27. Lee

    If Randy wants to give more to the poor children of Allendale County, I am sure he knows how to mail a personal check down there to the school board.
    I personally don’t want to waste my money by flushing it down the same system that has failed for the last 40 years.
    I want to see some analysis of the root causes of lack of improvement in education in Allendale, and some projects to remedy the situation within ONE YEAR. Anything else is just leaving the children in the same sorry condition.
    You “liberals” who don’t have the intellectual honest and intestinal fortitude to recognize, admit and address the causes, please be quiet and get out of our way.

  28. Randy E

    It’s Lex, Doug, and Chris defending this private choice bill. Amusingly, none of them can explain how it would benefit those students. Demogoguery is the simpleton’s way out.
    This bill would have sent tax dollars ($4500) to Allendale in the form of a voucher in a county with a median household income of $21k and 28% below poverty level.
    Many of the “big government” hating, self-proclaimed libertarians on this blog want the government to redistribute wealth in this manner. More power to them and welcome aboard!

  29. Randy E

    What would happen after sending $4500 to Allendale? Some of us would find out that they can’t use car pools like parents from middle class neighborhoods in NE Columbia. We’d be back to square one – years later – after the diversion.
    The choice issue is nothing but a big fat red herring taking time, energy, and resources from addressing these problems.
    Reed offers an interesting idea about getting qualified teachers into these schools by increasing their pay. He’s addressing what’s happening inside the classroom. I believe the biggest problems rest with the pedagogy and curriculum.

  30. Dave

    OK, under Rex’s new plan, starting in 2009, a poor kid in Marion County schools can “apply” to transfer to Spring Valley. This one is funny. What are the odds that come 2009 every top notch public school in the state will be maxed out on capacity, thus nullifying any transfers. But they will be able to get into Dillon or Lee Central. Is that progress?

  31. Randy E

    It’s no better than a private school popping up in Allendale and the students (if they can afford the difference between the $4500 and the cost for fees, tuition, books etc.) thumbing a ride to school because they now have to provide their own transportation.
    Choice as a panacea is a red herring!

  32. Doug Ross

    Since there don’t appear to be any grade level restrictions on this phony school choice program, it opens the door for a great athletic recruitment opportunity. Wanna bet that a lot of those open slots for “disadvantaged” students go to 6’2, 220 running backs and 6’9 power forwards?
    Who is going to decide which students get in if more apply than the number of slots available? This Rex program is so full of holes, it’s laughable.
    Oh, and Randy, it’s comforting to know that you automatically assume that the parents in Allendale lack the initiative to form a carpool if given a real opportunity to maybe get their kids out of failing schools. I think the phrase that comes to mind is “the soft bigotry of lowered expectations”. You don’t even want to give them the chance… not a single one of them.

  33. Lee

    Randy offers nothing be excuses for why keeping the status quo.
    They are phony excuses, too, since he doesn’t even buy them. For example, since public schools cost $10,000 to $12,000 per pupil, it doesn’t “cost the taxpayers” anything to spend $4,500 paying for private education instead. That SAVES $5,500 to $7,500 per pupil.

  34. Ready to Hurl

    Ever heard of sunk costs, Lee?
    As an all-’round expert you should understand marginal costs.
    But, like the Wizard of Oz, when we pull back the curtain and examine your statements then we find them so much uninformed blather.

  35. Lee

    Throwing out terms you don’t understand, like “sunk costs”, does not constitute arguing a point.
    After you have done enough study to formulate an explanation of why you think a specific aspect of private education will not work, I will explain why you are wrong, with examples from the real world.
    The bottom line is that socialism is illegitimate in America. It is government which is supposed to justify its every expenditure to the taxpayers, not private individuals and businesses justifying their plans to a bunch of incompetent dolts who don’t care.

  36. some guy

    Can Doug Ross or Lee or LexWolf or anyone else name a private school in Allendale County that will accept poor students who are struggling academically?
    Is Lex working on getting those kinds of kids into Heathwood Hall?
    That said, I wouldn’t necessarily oppose a private school voucher plan that was targeted just at poor kids in struggling schools. And I also think the public school, open enrollment plan has some difficult issues to be worked out, some of which have been discussed here.
    But it seems awfully far-fetched to me to think that private schools are going to fix the problems in Allendale or Clarendon or wherever.

  37. Doug Ross

    I’m sure there isn’t one right now in Allendale… but if you made the voucher into a REAL voucher at the current per pupil spending (about $12K in Allendale), there might be someone willing to take the chance on starting one. Or one in a neighboring county that might think they could provide education and transportation for $12K.
    We’ll never know if vouchers can work until the educrats give it a chance. There is zero downside to trying something different for those kids. The only “downside” is that it might work and educrats would look even more foolish than they already do.

  38. Lee

    Hey some guy, I can’t name a circus in Allendale, but if you gave vouchers for amusement rides to the children of Allendale, I bet someone would build a theme park there mighty quickly.
    The same is true with schools or any other business.
    Exactly what is your objection?
    * Don’t want your money going to another county?
    * Don’t want your money going to any children but your own?
    * Don’t want anyone’s money going to help black children who are being shortchanged by the government schools?

  39. Randy E

    Doug, what type of car pooling do you think you’ll see in a county with DOUBLE the poverty rate of the state? The phrase that comes to mind is “We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.” Allendale is not Richland 2. Again, AFHS is the ONE school in the county and it’s on the east side in Fairfax.
    “some guy” makes a good point that’s misguided to think that there is simply a bad school out there and all the citizens of Allendale need is a good private school to make things better.
    As for “zero downside to trying a voucher plan”, I think that’s W’s justification for the surge – it’s the only plan out there. Choice is nothing but a big fat stinky red herring diverting our time and energy from comprehensive solutions.

  40. Randy E

    I think your points about accountability are on the money! IMO, this is the direction to pursue.

  41. LexWolf

    The real red herring out there is all this educrat caterwauling about how vouchers wouldn’t work because of poverty, lack of currently existing private schools (never mind that public schools could also compete for those vouchers), lack of transportation yadda yadda yadda.
    I would like to see Randy and his ilk explain to us exactly how the current educracy is suddenly going to solve all those problems they haven’t been able to solve for decades, despite trying every imaginable “plan” or “reform”, despite all that ballyhooed “accountability” and despite many, many $billions thrown at the problem. After all, it is incumbent on them to prove that sticking with the current failed system will somehow miraculously solve all those problems. When will they truly be held accountable, by losing their jobs when they fail yet again with the current Rex boondoggle?
    Let’s see Randy justify why his educrats should continue to gobble up many $billions, despite having failed virtually everywhere. Yet he has the nerve to demand that school choice solve all those problems that he and his compadres haven’t been able to even make a dent in. The educrats should have to explain why they have been failing for so long rather than be allowed to demand perfection from school choice!

  42. Lee

    Either they have no intention of solving the problems in public education, or they just don’t have a clue where to begin.

  43. LexWolf

    Allendale is a perfect example for why school choice should be tried ASAP.
    Here we have a school district that’s been at the bottom for a very long time. It is so horrible that the state took over the district in 1999 and ran it until a year or two ago. Despite pouring resources into the district like there’s no tomorrow it is still exactly where it was 7 years ago. In our words, the educracy has done everything it could think of to improve that district and still their approach failed abysmally. If that’s not enough reason to try a fresh, new approach, I don’t know what is.
    Let’s try school choice for Allendale for at least 6 years, at least as long as the state educrats tried to save the district. Funding should be the same $12K now being spent per kid in Allendale. Then let’s see if all those dire calamities predicted by Randy’s ilk will actually happen. But even if things don’t work out perfectly, let’s not compare things against some perfect school but rather against the pathetic system in place now. Even mediocre school choice can’t possibly be any worse than that!

  44. LexWolf

    “Many of the “big government” hating, self-proclaimed libertarians on this blog want the government to redistribute wealth in this manner.”
    Nice try, Randy, but that train left the station a long time ago. For better or worse we are already spending massive amounts of money on education. The only question right now is not whether we should spend that money but rather who gets to decide where it’s spent: parents or educrats!

  45. Doug Ross

    Allendale H.S. is 29.2 miles from Williston-Elko H.S.- a high school rated excellent in 2006 in neighboring Barnwell county.
    Allendale has about 100 students, 99% black.
    Williston-Elko has only 75 students and is about 50/50 white and black.
    Someone who wasn’t locked into the government school mindset might wonder why students from Allendale who wanted a chance at a real education couldn’t be transported to Williston-Elko. Start school choice THIS August, not three years from now. Pay for a couple school busses
    and see what happens.
    29.2 miles between failure and excellence.
    Randy thinks that’s too far…

  46. Randy E

    Lex and Doug, come on out of that ivory tower and look around.
    Have either of you been to Allendale County?I’ll bet the ranch the answer is NO!
    The notion that 29 miles is a hop, skip, and a jump is laughable. The idea that the families in Ulmer scoot around in their SUVs, partaking in car pools like the Ross’ in Blythewood is fantasy.

  47. LexWolf

    Randy would think that 0.1 miles would be too far if it meant that parents would have a real choice and get real accountability.
    By the way, here is a great example of how teachers and their unions will do anything, legal or illegal, to retard progress towards real performance and real accountability even in a district in which their performance has been abysmally poor. Why shouldn’t those kids get a chance at a better future? You know the teacher unions have a problem when even the far-left LA Times is getting on their case.

  48. Randy E

    Lex, the train that left the station was your voucher “plan”.
    I can’t imagine why your suggestion that directing an insufficient amount of tax payer money to private schools with government oversight was brushed aside AGAIN.
    Demagoguery and simplistic explanations for complex issues is the way to go – not to mention misinformation like AFHS having only 100 students.

  49. LexWolf

    Randy, why don’t you just let the parents in Allandale worry about that 29.2 miles? Give them the vouchers, maybe even use state school buses to get the kids there, and if some still can’t manage even that, then by all means let them stay in the pathetic current system. Where’s the downside, Randy? Inquiring minds want to know! What could possibly be worse than the current hellhole?

  50. Randy E

    LOL, Lex is back to his jokes about he teacher unions controlling the country. Hey, tell that one again about the NEA being as powerful as the NRA!

  51. Randy E

    So let’s get this straight.
    Lex posted a link to a report on the Utah voucher plan to justify his voucher “plan”. In Utah, POOR students will get $3500 to pay for private education AND the GOVERNMENT will have oversight – the same government this “libertarian” despised.
    He also cited how NYC will give $1000 scholarships to poor kids to attend private school.
    He also wants POOR kids in Allendale to be left on their own to travel 29 miles to school.
    Again, I can’t imagine why this REPUBLICAN legislature and our REPUBLICAN governor, backed by big money from New York City won’t pass his “plan”. I’m SHOCKED!

  52. LexWolf

    “I can’t imagine why your suggestion that directing an insufficient amount of tax payer money to private schools with government oversight was brushed aside AGAIN.”
    I never suggested an “insufficient amount of tax payer money”. I have been very clear all along that school choice should entail an amount equal to whatever the public schools are currently spending per student. Spending should be exactly as it is now – the only difference would be that parents rather than self-interested educrats would get to decide where the money is spent.
    It’s educrats like YOU who have been doing their dangdest to keep that amount as insufficient as possible just so they could then claim that the choice schools were doing a poor job. Put school vouchers and public schools on an even playing field and I have no doubt whatsoever that public schools would have their heads handed to them! Even with “insufficient” funding they usually manage to do at least as good a job as the public schools. Imagine what they could do with full funding, the same as you guys get!

  53. Randy E

    Lex, you have yet to explain the logistics of your “plan” aside from some fanatical belief that Adam Smith’s hand will push it through.
    For example, when asked an important and meaningful question about transporting students in such a rural district as Allendale you respond with “let the Allendale parents worry about that”.
    Is that the best you can offer?

  54. LexWolf

    “In Utah, POOR students will get $3500 to pay for private education AND the GOVERNMENT will have oversight – the same government this “libertarian” despised.”
    Obviously $3,500 is insufficient and government oversight should be minimized. Will you support me on that? Or will you continue carping against how a little something is better than nothing? We know the answer to that, of course. For you, any choice whatsoever is anathema so why do you even quibble about the details? Ditto the NYC plan – again, something is better than nothing.
    “He also wants POOR kids in Allendale to be left on their own to travel 29 miles to school.”
    Do I really? Why not have state school buses take them those 29.2 miles? After all, that’s what our school buses are for, aren’t they? Establish maybe 5 or 6 major pickups for the students and the the buses can take them the rest of the 29.2 miles. Besides, those buses already probably travel a circuit of 10 to 20 miles to get the kids to the current failing schools. Or are they only to provide transportation to schools approved by your educrats rather than parents?
    Hate to tell ya, Randy, but the NEA is far more powerful than the NRA. If they weren’t, and given the educracy’s poor performance, we would have had full school choice a decade or two ago. Your continued denial doesn’t change that one bit.
    What exactly do you have against parental choice, Randy? It’s the utmost in accountability and I fail to see how an educrat is better qualified to decide what’s best for a student. Enlighten us, Randy! Why should your educrat compadres decide what’s best for our children rather than we parents?

  55. LexWolf

    Randy, I have yet to hear your plan how YOU would fix the Allendale problem. Your guys have failed abysmally but instead of telling us what YOU would do to fix the problem you keep demanding perfection from school choice. Why is that? Where is your solution?
    Why should parents have to get their own transportation in the first place? It’s provided for kids going to the schools designated by your educrats so why shouldn’t it be provided to the schools designated by parents?
    You can mock Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” all you want but the undeniable fact is that it would do a far better job than your “educrat hand”. Give me the “invisible hand” any old day over the dead hand of the educracy!

  56. Randy E

    Randy, why don’t you just let the parents in Allandale worry about that 29.2 miles?
    Posted by: LexWolf | Mar 31, 2007 8:49:44 PM
    “He also wants POOR kids in Allendale to be left on their own to travel 29 miles to school.”
    Do I really?

    Posted by: LexWolf | Mar 31, 2007 9:34:06 PM

  57. Randy E

    once again you dance around the issue of how this voucher “plan” will work. You don’t have any idea, do you?
    The REPUBLICAN legislature and governor didn’t pass even a watered down version of the plan ($4500 – chicken feed) AGAIN.
    So you have no details for your “plan” and the SC government won’t pass your “plan” anyway.
    I’ve posted plenty on how to address the problems in education. Because it wasn’t exactly what you prescribe, you disregard it out of hand.
    Maybe you should move to Utah and take them up on the $3500 to pay for the $12000 yearly tuition and accept all of that government oversight even they propose.
    Oh, NRA weaker than the NEA, what flavor is that kool-aid?

  58. Lee

    It is up to professional free market educators to make vouchers work.
    We have no obligation to predict the market or map the details to some socialist central planners, who happen to be unable to come up with any plans so for public schools that have worked.

  59. Ready to Hurl

    Is that really the way private enterprise works?
    Exec #1: Let’s launch a new line of products.
    Exec #2: Is there a market for it? Will we make any money even if they do buy it?
    Exec #1: You central planning socialist! We have no obligation to predict the market or map the details…

  60. LexWolf

    As usual, it’s you, Randy, who is dancing around the issue. The central issue is why exactly the educracy, which has failed so abysmally for decades, should get another red cent in tax money. Justify that!

  61. LexWolf

    Is that really the way RTH thinks private enterprise works?
    Exec #1: Let’s launch a new line of products.
    Monopolistic competitor: Is there a market for it? Will you make any money even if they do buy it?
    Exec #1: You central planning socialist! We have no obligation to predict the market or map the details…

  62. Ready to Hurl

    What business school did you go to, Lexie?
    I want to make sure that my son doesn’t end up there.
    Any enterprise that doesn’t critically evaluate the probability of a proposed venture’s success is either incredibly lucky, a monopoly or out of business.

  63. Steve Gordy

    Challenge: The first believer in school choice who comes up with a business plan showing how to establish a successful, profitable private school, accessible to students in Allendale County, wins. Oh yes – the plan must be signed-off by one of the Small Business Development Centers around SC (there’s a good one here at USCA). Also, no cheating, like assuming that school bus transportation will be provided at no extra cost. Assumptions (like the ones I made in my business plan before I submitted to the SBDC) must be substantiated.

  64. LexWolf

    Heh. I would like to see the educracy’s business plan which will finally solve all those problems they haven’t been able to get a handle on for decades.

  65. Randy E

    Don’t forget the “let the Allendale parents worry about how to get their kids to private school”.
    Or the “it’s only 29 miles to get to the school of choice”. I’m sure the Blythewood parents would have no trouble with driving 60 miles round trip twice a day.

  66. Lee

    How private schools provide the education that public schools do not provide is only the business of those schools and their customers.
    If the public school educrats cannot solve their own problems, they certainly are not qualifed to judge the business plans of private schools.

  67. some guy

    Are you people really serious about this Allendale-to-Williston (or wherever….29 miles) plan?
    What are the people of Williston gonna say when they hear those struggling black students from Allendale are coming over to their school?
    Great question, I think, since I guess LexWolf doesn’t seem willing to answer whether he’d support opening up Heathwood Hall to poor students who have made failing grades in the public school system! I mean, if the folks in Williston will take on the struggling students from Allendale, then certainly LexWolf would advocate letting the same kind of kids into Heathwood Hall, right?
    Also, how big is that school in Williston? Have they got anywhere near enough room for the students from Allendale? How many millions are you school-choicers willing to spend to create enough room at Williston-Elko?
    Details can be a drag, eh?

  68. Steve Gordy

    As usual, for Lee, name-calling is a lot easier than putting his money where his mouth is.

  69. Doug Ross

    >Or the “it’s only 29 miles to get to the >school of choice”. I’m sure the Blythewood >parents would have no trouble with driving 60 >miles round trip twice a day.
    Randy, my family has been doing 40 mile round trips for three years. From one side of Blythewood to the other to pick another kid up, then down to E.L. Wright and then back to Blythewood H.S. If you want to be in a magnet program in Richland 2, you have to provide your own transportation if the school is not in your zone. We’ve driven one or more of our three kids to middle school magnet programs for eight years now.
    Would we do it if it was 29.2 miles — absolutely. Your foolish generalizations about parents is telling. Try coming up out of your classroom/cave and talking to parents who DO make sacrifices for their kids sometime. There are literally hundreds of parents across all economic levels in this district alone who manage to manage the transportation issue.
    Parents will do what they think is best for their kids. You’re implied bigotry that says Allendale parents won’t do it if given the opportunity speaks volumes. You don’t want to give a single kid in Allendale a chance… not one. Because you KNOW what those parents can and cannot do.

  70. Lee

    Steve Gordy doesn’t know what “name calling” is. I think any government educrats who have being in the job for decades and still have no plan for fixing their schools are, by definition, incompetent, or even worse, intentionally not delivering education to some students.
    If you know the real reason for their failure, please share it.

  71. Dave

    “Where have you gone, Paul DeMarco?” – our state turns it’s lonely eyes to you!!!!!!!

  72. Steve Gordy

    Q.E.D. As to why Paul DeMarco doesn’t contribute any more, perhaps he didn’t like Lee telling him (a doctor) that he wasn’t qualified to talk about providing health care.

  73. Randy E

    Doug, you are absolutely right, a middle class Blythewood parent driving his kids around Richland 2 shows that poor families in Allendale can do the same.
    Have you ever visited Allendale? (talk about me coming out of my cave, step out of that ivory tower)
    You stated there are 100 kids at AFHS, you were only off by 150%. How will WEHS, with 50 students, expand to accomodate all these poor kids who will car pool [sic] to this school 29 miles away as you suggest?
    Lex, so how about some guy’s question. You support HH taking in the poor kids and allowing the to sit in your daughter’s classes? I assume these kids aren’t the same “idiots from public school” you wanted your daughter to avoid.
    Have you generated any details for your “plan” aside from “let the Allendale parents figure out how to get their kids to the private school?”

  74. LexWolf

    Henry Ford: “I will build cars so cheaply that within 2 decades all Americans can afford one.”
    Buggy whip manufacturer: “But how will you do that? How will people get those cars to move without buggy whips? How will they get gas? Who will build the gas stations? Where will you get the workers to produce the cars and to run the gas stations? How will people get transportation to the car dealers so they can buy those cars? What about the poor who couldn’t care less about your cars? We have many more questions and we want detailed answers proving your plan will work. Otherwise we will not permit you to implement it.”
    We all know how that turned out in the end, with or without the permission of the buggy whip guys. Sooner or later it will be the same for our kids’ education. The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the educracy is obvious and more and more people are getting fed up. Maybe another year or two or five, or another election but the stonewall will break down eventually.

  75. Doug Ross

    According to Randy, cars don’t exist in Allendale. Or if they do, they are unable to drive across the border. And every single parent in Allendale would reject an opportunity to provide their kids with a better education than the substandard government school they have now. Because apparently they are either lazy or don’t care.
    Every kid who carpools in Richland County is not middle class or higher no matter how you try to spin it. Do you really want me to give you names of kids who come from poor homes but have parents who make the effort to get their kids to a magnet program so you’ll stop making baseless claims?
    You keep making these ridiculous statements
    and ignore the simple truth: you don’t want to give kids in Allendale anything more than what they have right now. Not a single one of them. The mantra of government schools is “Take it or leave it”. Luckily, you’re in a position to leave it by sending your child to a private school. Too bad you don’t want to give Allendale parents the same chance.

  76. LexWolf

    Randy, where there’s a will there’s a way. Just because you don’t have the will to give them a chance doesn’t mean that many parents in Allendale and elsewhere don’t have the will to use such a chance if offered. Many make tremendous sacrifices in time and money to get their kids off your educrat plantation. Give them a chance with full school choice and you’d be amazed at how many will find a way.
    Unfortunately you don’t want to let parents decide where to send their kids to school even though you, as a public school teacher, know enough about the horrors of public education to send your own kid to private school! Randy, hypocrisy is thy name!
    The only saving grace for you is that you are just one of the 21.5% of public school teachers nationwide who won’t partake of their own cooking and rather send their kids to private schools, all while fighting tooth and nail to deny poor kids that same opportunity.

  77. Randy E

    I’ll keep asking:
    Doug, have you ever been to Allendale?
    Lex, would you support these poor kids being placed in your daughter’s classroom? Where will the teachers and money to build schools come from? Adam Smith’s magic act?

  78. Randy E

    Here is my “ridiculous” position on choice in Allendale.
    This is a county with a twice the poverty rate of the state and half the median household income. I saw this first hand while driving through there recently.
    Based on this, I have trouble accepting the suggestion by Doug that these Allendale parents could simply carpool the 1 1/2 hours round trip TWICE a day to Williston-Elko HS. Even his example of middle class parents in Richland 2 driving 40 minutes didn’t sway me.
    Lex’s suggestion that we “let Allendale parents worry about transportation” certainly didn’t persuade me.
    Yes, that’s pretty strong evidence that I “don’t want to give these kids a chance”. It’s the same logic that paints Lindsay Graham a liberal – because he doesn’t toe the conservative party line at all costs.
    This doesn’t even include the persuasive argument Doug makes about how Williston-Elko High School will expand to accomodate all these transfers…well, he didn’t actually explain these logistics but why worry about details when you have ideology.

  79. LexWolf

    Let’s be quite honest here, Randy. You have a very strong vested interest in the status quo in that you might not have a job if the educracy didn’t keep the kids penned up on your plantation. It would probably be very fair to say that nothing, absolutely nothing will EVER persuade you of the merits of school choice. Maybe after you retire and start looking at the big picture instead of the trough in front of you, but by then another 2 generations of kids will have had to suffer through a substandard “education”.
    If I were in your situation I might have a certain self-interest as well but there can be no doubt that your position is based above all on your own well-being rather than the best interests of the students.

  80. LexWolf

    “Where will the teachers and money to build schools come from?”
    The same places as Hnery Ford got his workers and capital from.
    “Adam Smith’s magic act?”
    Yup! It’s worked every time it’s been tried. Especially in AMerica, if there’s a buck to be made, entrepreneurs will find ways to make it.
    Your mindset is exactly what’s wrong with the educracy (and leftists generally). You are so convinced that those poor saps in Allendale can’t make it and won’t make it that you’re not even willing to give them a chance to try! What ever happened to the Can Do spirit of this country? It certainly doesn’t exist in the educracy anymore and that’s a major loss by itself. If your attitude had prevailed, the 13 colonies would still be subjects of Britain. For shame!

  81. Randy E

    absolutely nothing will EVER persuade you of the merits of school choice. – Lex
    You are surprised your dearth of details has not been convincing?
    Let’s discuss capitalism as the panacea for our education problems. The driving force is the bottom line. Using your burger analogies, BK and McD’s build stores where they can make money. I did not see any BKs in Ulmer, Fairfax, nor Sycamore in Allendale County. Those are not profitable locations (this is a small example).
    Similarly, private schools, looking to make money, will go where they can make money. Clearly, there will be some locations which are not conducive to making a profit. As BK has no moral obligation to service Fairfax, these private schools have no moral obligation. When a private school bails on a community, it will be up to the government to fill the void. And don’t bother blindly suggesting that a private school will definitely appear to service ALL communities.
    Furthermore, as “some guy”, Steve Gordon, and RTH have pointed out, business plans and details are part of the process. To suggest otherwise is silly. You have offered ZILTCH in the way of logistics, aside from “let the Allendale parents worry about how to get to the private schools”. If there is a child of a single parent with no car, we don’t shrug off the fact that this kid can’t get to private school 29 miles away.
    The bottom line is you can’t even begin to explain any details for you “plan” yet you criticize me for not drinking the koolaid you offer. Come up with some actual details and maybe people will actually take you seriously.

  82. LexWolf

    Current conditions with no school choice at all obviously have no predictive value for situations where $10K per kid or more may be available so what was your point again?
    I never made any BK or Mickey D analogies (your usual fare?) but since you did I will make the bold prediction that if Allendale residents had $10K to use at burger joints you would see them spring up by the dozens!
    The bottom line is once again, what are you afraid of? If no private schools spring up in Allendale, so what? The kids would just be back in the same failing schools. So why not give it a try? Unless you know darn well that many of those parents would find a way to get their kids to those newly established private schools.
    Twist and squirm all you want but that’s the nub of the issue. If you’re so sure it won’t work just agree to a trial. The fact that you utterly refuse school choice even for the kids in the worst school district in the state speaks volumes about all your educrat rhetoric, and don’t think that more and more people aren’t catching on.
    After all, if the public schools were doing such a great job, they would have nothing whatsoever to fear from school choice. Clearly parents would recognize your great job and happily leave their kids in public schools so why all the long faces about money being “drained” from public schools and “funneled” to private schools? (Don’t you just love those loaded words?) Unless of course you know you’re failing on a monumental scale and that many parents would leave in a heartbeat if they only could afford it. Unlike you, many can’t and that’s a shame.

  83. Randy E

    According to Lex, there will be a chicken in every pot, and it not, we’ll let the parents worry about it.
    Who needs details when you have ideology.

  84. Doug Ross

    What’s the maximum distance you think a poor black parent will consider driving to get their kid out of Allendale schools?
    If 29.2 miles is too far, what distance would you accept? You’re the one setting the boundaries, let’s hear what you think these people are capable of doing.
    Also, in case you didn’t realize it, I threw out the Williston-Elko example to show how ridiculous Jim Rex’s “bold” plan for public school choice will be (assuming it ever gets off the ground three years from now for one half of one percent of the enrollment in a district that is not self proclaimed “overcrowded”).
    According to Rex’s “plan/pipedream”, Williston-Elko will be REQUIRED to open their doors to Allendale students (or anyone else for that matter). Are you going to let Jim Rex know that it’s a plan doomed from the start because you know what Allendale parents are capable of?
    Repeatedly, you ignore the simple question of what the downside would be to offering a voucher plan to Allendale parents. What is the worst case scenario? The status quo.
    Where’s the “business plan” for Allendale public schools to demonstrate they can accomplish the task of teaching students?
    They don’t have to produce one. They can fail, fail, and fail again and then what happens? MORE money is poured into the system. It’s like increasing my kids’ allowance after they failed to do their chores. The behavior will match the rewards.

  85. Doug Ross

    Today’s headline in The State:
    ‘Another year of lost children’
    They may as well keep that one handy for 2008, 2009, 2010… which will then be followed by the headline:
    ‘Rex wins re-election with ‘No Vouchers’ pledge’

  86. Lee

    Where are the business plans for public schools to fix their problems in Allendale?
    Where are the analyses of all the public school programs which failed our children for the last 30 years, the admitted failures, the programs which were abandoned?
    How about a list of names of the public school administrators who were demoted and fired because of all those failed programs?

  87. Doug Ross

    Here’s an easier problem for Randy to solve.
    C.A. Johnson H.S. is 12 miles from Randy’s own Ridge View H.S. C.A. Johnson is 99% black with at least four consecutive years of Unsatisfactory performance according to the school report cards.
    How many students from C.A. Johnson do you think would come to Ridge View if given the chance? How many would you try to convince your principal to take into the school? I mean we’re talking about PUBLIC schools, right… why not let the public use them… especially now that the sales tax (not property tax) implemented last year pays for the operating costs…
    12 miles. Too far?

  88. LexWolf

    From the article Doug cited: “Sixteen schools face sanctions from the state Department of Education for failing to meet minimum achievement goals between 2003 and 2006.”
    Looks to me as if those are sixteen more schools that are ripe for full school choice.

  89. Lee

    Doug just identified a major reason “liberals” oppose school choice in any form. They have attempted to segregate themselves by buying into neighbors and schools like themselves. They don’t want outsiders coming into their schools.

  90. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, is that why Lexie won’t volunteer how many students from failing schools that Heathwood Hall will accept?

  91. Lee

    Heathwood Hall was one of the first schools in South Carolina to become racially integrated (before World War II), so you made a rather poor choice for diversion.
    Try to discuss using vouchers to give students at C.A. Johnson the choice of classes at Ridgeview. If you cannot discuss the school system you know the most about, you certainly can’t discuss any other schools.

  92. Randy E

    Doug and Lex, do you have any specifics to offer on how choice will work? That is beyond “let Allendale parents worry about transportation 1 1/2 hours twice a day” because “where there’s a will there’s a way”.
    Details? Any? Of will you resort to attacking me because you have none?

  93. LexWolf

    Randy, do you have any specifics, or maybe a business plan, for how you educrats will fix Allendale and those sixteen failing schools?? Details? Any? Or will you continue to demand perfection from school choice while your own educracy wallows in a morass of utter failure?

  94. Doug Ross

    We’re not attacking you. We’re attacking your weak arguments. If you can’t defend the status quo, that’s too bad. If you can’t defend your “research” that not a single person in Allendale will drive their kids to school, that’s too bad.
    Here’s the details of my voucher plan:
    1) Give parents a voucher equal to the amount the district spends per pupil
    2) See what happens
    How many C.A. Johnson kids will you advise your principal and the school board to accept into Ridge View? More than one half of one percent three years from now?

  95. Randy E

    Gee, I can’t imagine why the REPUBLICAN legislature won’t pass a voucher plan with such persuasive arguments as
    “Let the Allendale parents figure out the transportation to private schools” – Lex
    “Give out vouchers and see what happens” – Doug
    Talk about “weak arguments”.

  96. some guy

    Wow, you guys really go round-and-round about this stuff…..
    I think what’s missing here is an acknowledgment of WHY kids fail in school.
    The deal is — and anyone with a clue (and I suspect this includes Lee and LexWolf and Doug Ross and Joshua Gross and Will Folks and Mark Sanford, in all honesy) — that, nationwide, poor kids from dysfunctional homes perform poorly in school. This is a societal matter at its core. Not one of private schools vs. public schools, “educrats” vs. whomever. It’s just a societal reality. I think it would seem that pro-family conservatives would be the first to acknowledge this.
    Well-to-do children from stable homes, meanwhile, generally do fine in school. Whether they go to private or public schools, they usually get along. Some foul it up, and some who make it through are better prepared for college than others. But the middle-class kids from “good” homes who drop out of high school are few and far between, I would think.
    Now, regarding those from poor and dysfunctional home, are there success stories? Are there methods that seem to work better than other methods? Are there examples of schools and programs outside the “system” and the “status quo” that seem to put a greater dent in the problem? Yes, yes, and yes. Of course.
    So….if that means vouchers could be consider FOR THE POOR, STRUGGLING STUDENTS, then fine. Maybe that’s one of the possible solutions.
    But the notion that it’s a simple answer or the ONLY answer….well, I think it’s just preposterous. The deal is that poor students who show up on DAY ONE academically behind are challenging to teach. The deal is that kids from screwed up homes who have emotional problems can frustrate even the most compassionate, hard-working teachers. The deal is that there are some transient kids with unstable family situations who aren’t in one place long enough for ANY school to make a huge difference.
    It might be, MAYBE, that putting money in the form of vouchers in the “marketplace” would lead to the formation of some new schools that are strong. But the notion that this will turn things around in counties that ALREADY have trouble attracting teachers, not to mention other stable businesses, seems pretty far-fetched to me. And, Doug, anyone who denies that transportation is a major issue for poor families seems to me to be almost helplessly out of touch with reality.
    The deal is that a lot of parents — not “educrats” but PARENTS — in both private and public schools don’t want too many of these kinds of kids in school with their own children….I can only wonder if LexWolf’s refusal to say whether he’d push for bringing poor, academically struggling kids into Heathwood Hall doesn’t speak volumes about this particular issue.
    Anyway, I guess it’s fun for people to rant and rave and talk past one another.

  97. Paul DeMarco

    Well put. I suspect you have expressed the “silent majority” position on this issue. I wonder how many people read this blog regularly and never comment because of the pointless, smash mouth bickering exemplified by the last 50 or so comments.
    If you are out there and agree with “some guy,” post a quick comment. It would be interesting to get a better sense of the blog’s readership.
    Are you able to monitor how many folks are accessing the blog? Do you have any idea of the impact you are making?

  98. Randy E

    Paul, education is an important issue but I believe that the voucher debate has sucked the life out of meaningful dialogue.
    Yes, I’m one of the smash mouthers but I take my profession very seriously and take issue with the demogoguery directed at public schools.
    I have also made repeated posts detailing problems I see in our schools along with possible solutions. Unfortunately, education is not a sexy topic unless it involves choice, SAT scores, or bond referendums.
    The sec of ed election centered almost exclusively on choice. I found this appalling because there are so many serious issues that simply were not addressed. Sadly, the major issue Rex has pushed so far is choice which is exactly what started this blog brawl.
    Some guy makes excellent points and these are the points I’m making – we have not seen any comprehensive reforms that are going to help these students in poor rural counties. Again, the only person to address this was Campbell but poor people issues fly under the radar. That is shameful.

  99. Brad Warthen

    Paul, I don’t know. It gets about 5,000-6,000 page views in a week, more like 13,000 peak (election week). I have no idea how many of those are unique. Obviously, we have a view who read it constantly.
    I’d rather see a greater number reading than more comments of the sort that we too often get.

  100. LexWolf

    What is it with school choice opponents that they always have to throw up these preposterous strawmen? Who ever said that school choice was a “simple answer or the ONLY answer”, or that school choice was a panacea that would solve all problems for all students yadda yadda yadda?
    Nothing is perfect and that obviously includes school choice. However, it’s IMO undeniable that school choice would be a vast improvement for many students and that public schools as a whole have done a very poor job for decades. Clearly not all would benefit from school choice but neither do all students benefit from public schools when 50% drop out before graduation and many of the graduates are functional illiterates and innumerates. Why this double standard of expecting perfection from school choice while even the very worst public schools are given a pass?

  101. LexWolf

    “Obviously, we have a view [sic] who read it constantly.”
    And those few probably provide 90% of your pageviews.

  102. Ready to Hurl

    Heathwood Hall was one of the first schools in South Carolina to become racially integrated (before World War II), so you made a rather poor choice for diversion.

    I wrote “students from failing schools.”
    Lee read “black students.”
    Just a slip, Lee?

  103. Paul DeMarco

    I’m on your team. I have great respect for public school teachers in general and for you in particular for your concern for your students and willingness to speak up for them.
    I wouldn’t be too down on Rex for his choice of priorities so far. Public school choice was mostly a strategic maneuver to beat back the private school choice folks. The problems in Allendale and other poor rural districts run deep. I have been heartened by Rex’s attention to those areas (he’s made numerous visits to the corridor of shame districts). They are on his radar screen, but there will be no easy answers.

  104. LexWolf

    “Public school choice was mostly a strategic maneuver to beat back the private school choice folks.”
    And don’t we know it, Paul, don’t we know it!
    The agenda clearly is to, by hook or by crook, present the Folks with a Model-A choice: you can have any choice you want as long as it’s the public school your educrats deem fit for you!
    You have no idea how nauseating your comment is.

  105. Dave

    Brad (and Paul), You both must be aware that in all likelihood as much as 90% of the citizens of SC do not spend two minutes a year thinking or acting on the problems in the public education system. These are the people, who, when they had kids in school, never attended a school function other than catching a football game on occasion. So on this blog where you have interested and sometimes passionate thinkers on all sides of the arguments, you harp on the civility thing once again. I.e., strong opinions are unwelcome. I guess life would be so much simpler if 100% of the citizenry would just let Rex and his cohorts do what they want and stay out of the way. Ignorance is bliss in that case.

  106. Lee

    I heard on national news that Rep. Smith’s son attends Heathwood Hall.
    Why doesn’t The State report the whole story?

  107. Paul DeMarco

    Come on brother. Based on all the bile that’s been spewed on this blog, I’d have thought you had a stronger stomach.
    We disagree on vouchers. I think we both understand the arguments clearly and we have come to differing conclusions. I don’t know why that should elicit such a strong reaction in someone who seems to have such a tough skin.
    That being said, I’ll be glad to call you in a prescription for Phenergan if you give me a pharmacy number.

  108. Doug Ross

    Can you offer a reasonable defense of Rex’s school choice plan? The one that will not be implemented until the 2009-2010 school year and then with slots for only 0.5% of enrollment at districts that are not “overcrowded”? Do you feel that is a reasonable timetable with reasonable goals? How will the transportation issue be handled for Rex’s plan? Who will decide which students get to fill the slots?
    Maybe I’m missing the detailed version of the way Rex’s plan will work. If there is a more comprehensive version, can you provide a pointer?

  109. Doug Ross

    Interesting that Brad will pop in to comment on the “civility” of the entries in this topic but can’t seem to find the time to defend the actual contents of the bill that passed. How about it Brad? What is it about Rex’s plan that inspires you to believe public education in SC will be noticeably different four years from now?

  110. Doug Ross

    Here’s the best thing I’ve read all day… Thanks, Lee…
    “Then Rep. Smith arrived. He held a press conference Thursday flanked by his 11-year-old son at which he declared that by electing voucher opponent Democrat Jim Rex as state education superintendent last year, the voters had rejected school choice. Mr. Rex won his election by just 455 votes out of more than a million cast, but before long the House was voting down giving poor parents the same choice Mr. Smith exercises in sending his son to the expensive private Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia”
    I can see the MasterCard commercial now:
    “Chartered plane paid for by educrat lobby: $3000.000”
    “Lunch in Five Points to celebrate defeat of voucher bill: $200.00”
    “Sending your kid to private school while claiming to be a defender of public schools?

  111. Ready to Hurl

    Wait. I thought that Lexie’s kid went to HH. Does that disqualify him from having an opinion on the state subsidizing upper middle class kids going to private schools, also?
    I’m hesitant to accept any aspect of a WSJ editorial as fact without confirming it independently (the conclusions are almost always errant, of course). However, this factoid jumped out at me: 200,000 SC students are “trapped” in failing public schools. 117,000 of them are minorities.
    Yet, Lee automatically thinks kids from failing schools would be black.
    I wonder why.

  112. Doug Ross

    I’ve got three kids with a combined thirty years of public school experience… both my brothers, my parents, and my seven nieces and nephews attended or currently attend public schools. And here I am debating with a public school teacher who sends his kid to private school over whether other kids in failing schools should have an opportunity to use public tax dollars to try and help them escape the endless cycle of hopelessness. The irony is interesting…
    Captain Smith should explain to his constituents what he thinks is so wrong with the public schools in his district
    that he would pay for something he could get for “free”.

  113. Lee

    Allendale county schools are almost 95% black, according to the SC Dept of Education. These schools are listed as being in trouble, with large dropout rates, low graduation rates, and low test scores.
    Rep. Smith sends his children to private school, yet denies Allendale students access to other schools of their choice.
    Maybe the white liberals who oppose school choice are right in their opinion that these students cannot be helped by another school. We’ll never know as long as we keep them in Allendale.

  114. LexWolf

    Paul, your let-them-eat-cake elitist attitude is coming through loud and clear. Thanks. Too bad thousands of kids will have to suffer for your smugness.

  115. some guy

    Thanks for the kind comments, Paul. I, too, think there probably is a “silent majority” that has similar views on all this stuff, and I appreciate your suggesting that that’s indeed the case.
    Lex — I don’t think I’m attacking a “strawman” at all. The hardliners around here and elsewhere use pretty extreme language talking about public schools. If I’m not mistaken, guys like Lex and Lee and Joshua Gross ROUTINELY label “educrats” incompetent at best and criminal at worst….you guys routinely make incendiary remarks such as public school teachers wanting to keep poor kids on a “plantation”……you guys routinely dismiss public education reform proposals as being unsatisfactory because after all it’s a “failed system”… guys routinely assert, I think, that the free market system is infallible.
    So, no, I don’t think I’m attacking a “strawman” at all…..I think I’m responding in a very measured way to the actual claims made by you and Lee and others in the hardcore school choice camp. Indeed, I think my comments are pretty balanced: I acknowledged that private school choice TARGETED for low-income students might be one option worth considering, particularly IF there’s transportation provided and IF there’s a good chance private schools exist or will start up that will have doors open for struggling students.
    But, so is old-fashioned involvement and accountability. And by accountability, I don’t necessarily mean state “standards” and all that. I mean involvement by the citizenry….pushing school board members and state representative — who are all DEMOCRATICALLY elected, by the way — to do what’s right for kids, to deal with slack administrators, to spend money wisely. Community INVOLVEMENT in schools can make a major impact, too…..tutoring students, volunteering in after-school programs….donating money to strong after-school programs, etc.

  116. Doug Ross

    Some guy,
    An educrat is someone who comes up with a plan that takes three years to allow 0.5% slots to be available in public schools and calls that a school choice program.
    An educrat is the someone who creates a program called PACT and claims that it makes schools accountable yet it doesn’t use the standards it tests for to a) determine whether students are ready to move on to middle school or high school b) determine whether teachers are effective or not. Where’s the accountability?
    An educrat is someone who spends months coming up with a policy for cellphones in schools and then sits idly by while the policy is ignored by students and teachers.
    An educrat is someone who PAYS one of the primary school construction companies to develop a ten year building plan for a school district.
    An educrat is someone who will never admit to a problem existing in any public school that can’t be solved by spending more money.
    How does the community overcome that type of bureaucratic nonsense? The voters are generally ignorant and vote for school board members who put out the most signs.

  117. some guy

    Here we go again, Lee and Lex.
    You’re worried about the suffering of poor children, but you’ve talked about them having to “figure out” (is that the correct quote?) transportation issues on their own. You’ve still not said whether you’d support letting poor, academically struggling, “suffering” students into Heathwood Hall.
    Lee’s talking about denying opportunity to poor black students in Allendale. But he’s not pointed out which of Allendale’s private schools is going to take in those students. On the other hand, those same kids could easily lose money from their schools if tax credits are given to those in Allendale who ALREADY have their kids in private schools. So, who’s really on the side of those poor kids in Allendale?
    I know, I know….if you float voucher money into the free market, then new schools will start….the invisible hand and all that. I’ve already conceded that new schools MIGHT start if there’s money available. But it’s no cinch — tuition money doesn’t necessarily cover the cost of facilities, at least not good one, and that’s a major consideration. And it also doesn’t ensure that more good teachers are going to move to a rural county that’s already having trouble attracting teachers and business owners.
    Anyway, I guess that’s enough for now….I doubt anything I say will slow down the routine ranting of Lee, Lex, and others.

  118. Doug Ross

    Some Guy,
    Is the concept of a schoolbus patented by the government?
    Have you ever seen the short busses and vans that come to the public schools in the afternoon to take kids to private afterschool daycare? Somehow, they were able to fit that cost into their free market model.
    At $8000 per student, I bet there’d be someone willing to figure out a transportation plan. What about churches that already have the infrastructure in place? My church is in downtown Columbia and has about 20 classrooms, a full commercial kitchen that can feed hundreds, and a gym. I bet someone could come up with a transportation plan to get 100 kids from downtown Columbia to the church every day for $8000 per student. They already have a couple small busses sitting idle mostly during the week. I know, but that would mean public dollars going to religious institutions and we can’t have that horror inflicted upon children…

  119. some guy

    Indeed, transportation and other issues in urban areas are, I think, easier to overcome.
    There’s public transportation, and in some cities it’s cheap and efficient.
    Churches in cities (if public monies would go to them) may have more in the way of facilities, staff, and busses. There may be more storefronts for small schools. So on and so forth.
    In rural counties like Allendale and others, all these issues are tougher to deal with, I would think. Churches are often smaller and much poorer and have less in the way of facilities, wheels, staff, and so on. Communities may have fewer available storefronts or other buildings, not to mention talented people or “education entrepreneurs” to start and maintain schools.
    And distances for travel are often far greater, making the transportation issue more expensive and complicated.
    So, as I’ve said time and again, I’m not ruling out vouchers for the poor. But I do think folks should be realistic about the challenges and the legitimate questions.

  120. Lee

    Some guy doesn’t understand the basics of market economics. When the state lets parents keep their own money for education, or gives poor families control of the government tax money allocated for their children, smarter and more industrious teachers will go into business and create new schools.
    It is not ridiculous for those who cannot justify the existing public schools and failed programs to demand details of how the market will fill that service gap.
    Anyone who cannot explain why their government programs failed are unlikely to be able to understand something designed by superior intellects, even after they see it, much less as a plan.

  121. some guy

    Lee is a real humdinger.
    That’s probably all that needs to be said.
    But, alas, it seems to me that he’s apparently ignored my comments on the “failure” of students in public schools and on realistic “market” issues concerning the start-up of new schools in urban environments vs. rural ones. Oh, well.

  122. Doug Ross

    C’mon… there’s got to be SOMEONE out there who can defend Jim Rex’s landmark public school choice plan that was so important, private school parent/legislator Captain Smith flew back on a chartered plane to make sure it passed.
    2009-2010 will see a huge influx of one half of one percent of students (sure, probably only running backs and point guards, but still!) into schools that don’t think they’re overcrowded. Isn’t that awesome!?!?
    Anyone? C’mon, 50.00001% of you voted for Rex. Now’s your chance to applaud his bold vision.

  123. some guy

    Doug Ross, I will say, has a reasonable point here. The public school choice proposal now out there has both limitations and flaws. How will schools that want smaller-than-normal class sizes be affected? How will schools make choices — or can they — about whom to admit?
    It’s not a simple equation.
    But if I’m not mistaken, there were GOP lawmakers talking about such a plan well before Jim Rex won in November.
    Also, was it this particular bill that Rep. Smith came back to vote on? I thought it was a bill related something else but that some school choicers had attached stuff to….Maybe I’m wrong. I honestly am not sure.
    And, finally, I do think choice within the public system, while limited and fraught with challenges, can offer some possibilities to folks who aren’t thrilled with their neighborhood schools. Again, it’s limited, but there is certainly some possibility for significant movement, I think…..especially in more populous counties, where, again, all fomrs of choice are easier might have an easier time of working, I think.

  124. Herb Brasher

    Some guy,
    Lee ignores anything anybody else says that he disagrees with, and expresses his utter disdain for them, as well as his own great superiority. He respects no one.
    I would suggest it is time we give his comments the respect they therefore deserve, which is none.

  125. Doug Ross

    Brad? Still trying to formulate a response that can praise Captain Smith’s valiant service in light of his apparent hypocrisy when it comes to his own personal view on public schools? Kind of a downer, ain’t it… it’s tough being an idealist in a world full of politicians.

  126. Paul DeMarco

    Brother Lex,
    Loosen up, my friend.
    I’m not sure how you’ve made me out as an elitist. I’ve chosen to practice medicine in one of the poorest rural areas of the state. I’ve volunteered thousands of hours for Marion County’s Habitat for Humanity chapter which has built 28 homes over the past 12 years for working poor families. I serve on our local school board. I care deeply about this community and particularly about its most vulnerable residents.
    You and I simply have a gentlemen’s disagreement over vouchers. I have no inherent opposition to them. I just have not yet seen a plan offered in the legislature that attempts to serve poor students well or that would have a reasonable chance to work in Marion County.
    And although Lee worries that his “superior intellect” will have difficulty getting down to my level, I’ll do my best to comprehend his business plan for a successful private voucher school in Marion. Let’s start with an easy one-where do you plan on finding teachers?
    I’m not bowled over by Rex’s choice plan either. I think it is mostly symbolic-a way to define choice in SC (for another year at least) as public school (and therefore not private school) choice. I’m skeptical that many parents will want to avail themselves of the choices offered and even more skeptical that high-performing schools will have much room to accommodate them.
    Significant progress will only come on the back of equitable funding.

  127. Lee

    Herb is right that I actually ignore every personal attack and emotional outburst. Even when I respond, as I am doing now, it is to try to make them aware that their amateur attempts at rhetorical diversion are ineffective against any fact-based argument, in hopes that they will try to mature, or at least stop making noise so the rest of us who are serious about SOLUTIONS can discuss the pros and cons of various approaches.

  128. some guy

    I didn’t know I’d really ATTACKED Lee personally……I did call him a “humdinger,” I admit. Maybe that’s what he’s referring to.
    But, generally, I think my discussion of the pros and cons of various choice scenarios, and my points about practical hurdles to private school choice in rural counties have been quite measured and polite….Yet, Lee, it seems to me, has ignored all of that.
    In any case, I appreciate Paul’s comments and input here. Great stuff.

  129. Lee

    I didn’t know “some guy” was really “Herb”, either.
    I did address all your excuses for denial of school choice to poor children, as did others here. Have you come up with any new ones?
    We are still waiting to see the post mortem analysis of the failed programs of public schools for the last 30 years, what they learned from their failures, and the list of those responsible who were demoted and fired.

  130. LexWolf

    My man Paul,
    Living in a poor, rural county and volunteering doesn’t change the fact that you are an elitist.
    Significant progress will only come on the back of real accountability, not the fake variety we have now. When parents have full control over where the education money for their kids is spent, that’s when we will see real progress.
    I also promise you that I’ll do my best to comprehend your business plan for a successful public school in Marion.

  131. Doug Ross

    Lee writes:
    “We are still waiting to see the post mortem analysis of the failed…”
    I’m just waiting on Brad’s mea culpa on his Captain Smith love letter in light of the facts. You know where he called private school parent Captain Smith’s chartered flight to save Jim Rex’s phony school choice program:
    “The libertarian impulse doesn’t stand up all that well in the face of a man so willing to lay his life on the line for the greater good. That’s just a little too much moral force, I guess.”
    Did you make a typo there and mean “moral farce” instead?
    Funny how the facts have driven the anti-voucher zealots into the weeds.

  132. some guy

    Doug Ross, do you really think that? “Owned”?
    You honestly think that?
    I thought you were a little more rational than that.

  133. Randy E

    And here I am debating with a public school teacher who sends his kid to private school over whether other kids in failing schools should have an opportunity to use public tax dollars to try and help them escape the endless cycle of hopelessness. The irony is interesting… – Doug
    Let’s straighten out these disparaging comments in your hate mongering.
    First, I will be working a second job to send my son to Catholic school for reasons of FAITH. I’m sorry that concept is lost on you.
    Second, the idea that $4500 is sufficient for Allendale parents is laughable. I’ve asked you repeatedly about how this will work and you haven’t a clue. You can’t offer a single detail. Even sillier is the notion that carpooling in Allendale would be the same as in Richland 2. Poor single parents in Allendale will simply drive 1 1/2 hours twice a day to get their kids to Williston Elko as you stated.
    Third, your hate mongering and petty comments reveal that you offer little more than a vendetta against public schools. Why you couldn’t garner enough votes to be elected to the school board is obvious. Even spending two weeks teaching a computer camp has taught you little about what happens in the classrooms. How is the view from the ivory tower?
    This is not a pleasant post – the type Paul and Brad find discouraging. If you and your pal, Lex W. olf want to sit in your little SCouRge meeting bashing schools, go ahead. Spare us on this blog. You add nothing to the issue of fixing schools.

  134. Lee

    How do you know that $4,500 is insufficient for Allendale parents to purchase private education for their children? You don’t have any idea what some entrepreneur might charge.
    $4,500 per pupil
    x 20 students per class
    =$90,000 to rent a room and pay a teacher.
    vs $240,000 spent on the same class in public schools

  135. Randy E

    for which district are you a board member? How familiar are you with the Virtual School in terms of how it’s being used in other districts or even your own?
    I’m lobbying to take the initiative to target poor rural and other poor schools and make the Virtual School readily available.
    For example, if there’s a kid in Allendale who could take algebra 1 honors but the school can’t make this course available we can provide access.
    I’m pushing for us to take the step from the state level to reach out in lieu of waiting for districts to approach us. Many might not understand what’s available.
    What do you think?

  136. Doug Ross

    Thanks Randy for the insightful comments on Jim Rex’s school choice plan.
    P.S. Make sure you take off your hall monitor t-shirt at the end of the day.

  137. Doug Ross

    Oh, and Randy, can you provide the details of what makes me a public school “hater”?
    Is it my opinion on trumped up school awards? useless PACT tests? excessive spending on technology? I’m perfectly fine with being labeled a public school bureacracy hater.
    And some facts on my school board loss:
    My campaign started in August. Seven weeks to try and get 10,000 votes.
    I only spent my own money on signs ($500) which was between 1/10 and 1/20 of what was spent by the eventual winners (and some of the losers)
    There are three factors that impact the ability to win a school board seat: being an incumbent, spending money on signs, and being a yes-man or woman when it comes to supporting the administration policies.
    I got over 3000 votes.. I finished high enough in some precincts to make the board (not surprisingly in the precincts where people knew me). I had plenty of support from teachers at the school where I was PTO President. Evidently, I was able to hide my hatred for public schools very well from them. What I learned is that there is a very common attitude among teachers that it’s not a good idea to express an opinion contrary to the administration.

  138. LexWolf

    Confounding the anti-choicers’ constant bleating about who would build those private schools, here’s one way to find facilities for them. Surely an entrepreneur who is willing to provide classroom facilities for freelancers would also be able to provide facilities for a private school!
    New store offers classrooms for rent
    Now you can window-shop for knowledge at Experience It!! — a new “classes” store that has opened on Saint Andrews Road in the Quail Valley shopping center near Irmo High School.
    Experience It!! rents classroom space where instructors can hold a variety of classes. The company advertises for the classes and books eager students.
    Owner Christina Curtissaid she has been planning the business for a few years now. She said a life experience prompted her to offer a place where people could come together and learn.
    “I want people to realize there are alternative ways to do everything. And there are ways to expand the mind,” Curtis said.
    Located at 6801 St. Andrews Road, Suite 11-B, Experience It!! receives 50 percent of the participation fees for instructors’ classes.
    Curtis said the current roster of classes include break dancing, nutrition and CPR training. For more information on classes, call (803) 732-9551.

  139. Randy E

    Doug, in the 2002 election you came in 10th out of 11 candidates. At least you beat the write in candidate.

  140. Paul DeMarco

    I’m on the Marion 1 Board. I don’t oppose the virtual school program. I think it has the potential to offer well-motivated students opportunities to take AP and other courses not available at their home school. But I am skeptical it offers much to most underachieving children who need more guidance and support than the on-line environment provides.

  141. Doug Ross

    >Doug, in the 2002 election you came in 10th
    >out of 11 candidates. At least you beat the
    >write in candidate.
    And your point is what? Who did you vote for in that election? What were the factors that influenced your vote? Do you have the guts to tell us what you think of the school board members? Do you have the guts to challenge your district administration policies? I was threatened with my wife being fired if I won a spot on the board (by someone who reports to the superintendent) and I ran anyway because I believed in what I stood for. I have no regrets about sticking to my principles.
    I also learned a great deal about how the district works and what the board members are really like. One current board member was so scared about speaking at the public forums, she spent the entire time in the bathroom throwing up. But her husband spent the most money on the most signs and used his political connections to utilize a phone bank to make multiple calls to parents in the district. This is who wins school board elections.
    At least I had the guts to put my money where my mouth was. You have to toe the district line and don’t dare to question anything that might get your principal mad at you. Enjoy your life as an edu-lackey.
    Just hang in there til you can collect your pension. That’s what it’s all about.
    Oh, yeah, you frequently try and drag the Spring Valley Foundation into your weak arguments. If you drop me an email, I’ll give you the name of someone who was one of the Foundation leaders who actively supported my campaign through emails and calls. I’m sure you’ll recognize the name.
    Guess I had her fooled too. Your opinions of me are so misguided it’s laughable… but I have come to expect nothing more from you because whenever you start losing an argument, you change the subject to whine about how awful parents who want to see improvement in public education are.
    Maybe when you develop some debating skills you can address the topic of Jim Rex’s school choice plan and whether it has merit or not. Can you do that or do you need to ask permission from your principal first?

  142. Randy E

    Maybe I will refine my debating skills by supporting my position with claims like poor Allendale parents can carpool 1 1/2 hours twice a day because middle class parents in Richland 2 drive 40 minutes carpooling.
    Regarding changing the subject, you brought this into the mix. YOU boasted about up your run for the board. YOU boasted of 6 teachers supporting you. The idea that a SV Foundation member voted for you is moot, you were 10th out of 11.

  143. Randy E

    This thread has become excessively nasty and I’m partially to blame. I’ll move on to more another thread.

  144. LexWolf

    You’re mostly to blame with your insistence on penning up our kids on your plantation. Maybe you should move to another blog entirely instead of just another thread.

  145. some guy

    Hey LexWolf, When the poor, academically struggling students get off Randy’s “plantation” (!!), you gonna help them get into your kid’s school, Heathwood Hall?

  146. LexWolf

    Not my job, Bubba. My aim is to change the system so all parents have the opportunity and wherewithal to choose their preferred school(s). The application process to any particular school is their responsibility. And, of course, if they decide to stay with their current public schools, that’s entirely their prerogative as well.

  147. Lee

    Randy has served his usefulness here as a prototypical liberal, denying school choice to poor students who might want to attend the same private school of his choice.

  148. Herb Brasher

    Brad, if you are still reading this, I’m assuming you notice that we have the equivalent of a troll gang here. Lexwolf and Lee are happy to chase off anybody they can, and gloat over it, as if they had actually won an argument. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Mary Rosh has to go, and Lee and Lex stay. It’s the same anonymous put down and snobbery–a bit more subtle, perhaps, but nonetheless condescending ridicule of all those they disagree with. Sometimes they have a point, but often their contributions are simply toxic.
    It would be pointless to read this blog, I think, were it not for the thoughtful contributions of Paul, Claudia, Phillip, Randy, Bill, and a few others, especially the occasional new contributor, like Annee. Even the extremist Dave can laugh at himself and admit a mistake. But I think I am out of here. I’m sure Lee will be glad.

  149. Lee

    Herb, if you don’t bring any facts to the discussion, only liberal propaganda, myth, and personal invective, you can expect me to hammer you with facts, and my opinion based on those facts.
    If you find the truth toxic, you need a system overhaul.
    Begin by stopping with the whining and insults , and take on piece of information which upsets you. Don’t blame us for shocking you with the truth. Blame the propagandists in public schools and the socialist media for filling your head with years of disinformation.

  150. Steve Gordy

    Herb, you just provided substantiation for a (favorable) comment I made about you on another thread.

  151. Lee

    I answered your praise for Herb’s bashing, too, with another challenge for you folks to get on topic and post facts. Stop hijacking the threads with personal attacks.

  152. Steve Gordy

    Back in your cave, troll. Lee doesn’t recognize a fact unless it’s vetted by Rush or Sean or Ann.

  153. Steve Gordy

    Lee, find it for yourself. I’m not going to enable your childish “get the last word in” mentality.

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