O wad some Power the Internet gie us

Folks who routinely travel beyond state lines return shaking their heads at the image of South Carolina that those from elsewhere hold in their heads. You know the drill: Mark Sanford in Argentina, Joe Wilson shouting “You lie!,” the Confederate flag flying on the lawn of our State House, etc.

If only there were some way to tell objectively what image others truly hold of us (and we’ll suspend for a moment the debate over whether we give a damn what others think; we know that many of you don’t, which is one of the sources of our problems). Well, thanks to the magic of the World Wide Web, we do occasionally get an unbiased glimpse.

For instance, I inadvertently had one this morning. On a press release from the University of South Carolina, I saw that a USC study on breast cancer was cited in a story in The Sacramento Bee. Curious to see whether the study played a prominent role in the piece, I followed the link, and saw that the “South Carolina” in the reference to the University was also in hypertext. So I followed it, and found one of those results pages that provided a mishmash of references, from items that are truly about our state to some that merely mention us in a list.

But my eye was drawn to the graphic element on the page, which provided four images under the heading “Sacbee.com photos.” Each image was itself a link to a news item having to do with South Carolina. Here’s what they were:

  1. The first was a locator map that showed the site of a fatal helicopter crash. A tragedy that could have happened anywhere, which doesn’t reflect upon us particularly one way or another.
  2. The next was a sports photo in a garnet-in-black motif, taken by Mary Ann Chastain of our local AP office, leading to a story headlined, “Gamecocks pull Top 5 surprise, beat Ole Miss 16-10.” Wow. Sometimes it seems like all anybody here talks about is Gamecock football. Now it seems that it’s what people elsewhere talk about, too. Huh.
  3. The next photo didn’t look like much of anything — a few scraps of debris scattered on an unremarkable bank of faded red clay. It led to a story out of Anderson about a man who died, alone and penniless, in a tent on the bank of Lake Hartwell. He was described as a “bright but reclusive Civil War buff” who had lost his job at a local museum. Here I was looking for some universal image about our state as a community, and here was a painfully personal tale of a man who died for lack of community. Read into that what you will.
  4. 7FO13WILSONLTRS.xlgraphic.prod_affiliate.4The fourth, alas, was an image all too familiar. I didn’t particularly want to see what it led to, but I followed the link, which was to a letter to the editor of that newspaper. A letter about us, or at least about one of us. And what do folks in California have on their minds when they take up pen to write about one of us? An excerpt: “Similar vitriol and disrespect was the norm from Southern politicians during the years and months leading up to the American Civil War. I fear we may be headed down a similar path, toward disunion, given the tone of our political dialogue since the 2008 national election.”


So, what has the giftie shown you about how others see us?

66 thoughts on “O wad some Power the Internet gie us

  1. kbfenner


    I wish it were “Smiling faces, beautiful places”–which is truer of more than what seems to get noticed outside our borders…..

  2. Randy E

    I lived in SC from age 15 to age 42. My wife moved to SC for 6 years when we married. She shared a variety of issues she had with some/much of the culture, politics, and provincialism – e.g. the flag, Confederate Day, Sanford.

    When we moved to CT last year, the time away has opened my eyes to what she meant. SC in many ways is the land that time forgot. It’s Joe Wilson, Sanford, Knotts, and Bauer. It’s the flag and Confederate Day. It’s homogeneous population that consists almost entirely of white and black. It’s the gummit is bad simplicity (I debate a SC guy on Facebook who is a tea bagger and a state employee).

    There are many wonderful things about SC, but these negative issues drive the perception. I overhead a guy at Panera Bread talking about how he likes to visit SC but would never want to live there. At the moment, it’s hard to blame him.

  3. martin

    I read the letters in the Bee.
    I think we may be sicker than they can imagine. We seem to have degenerated into that large insane asylum.

  4. kbfenner

    And of course US News loves Columbia.I know I stroll past the Governor’s Mansion all the time and buy sea salt at the Gourmet Shop alongside college students.

    Interesting to see how others see us.

  5. Herb B

    Well, at least the image of our country abroad has improved somewhat in the Middle East (just back after 2 months over there) since the last election. I had to explain to people where South Carolina is on the map, but then I’ve had to explain to southern Californians where to locate London, so it works both ways.

    It was usually something like, “heard of Florida? Just go north, and you hit this place called Columbia that is almost as hot as Djibouti.”

  6. Santee

    South Carolina always has been an interesting place. The Lords Proprietors decided we were too much of a pain in the neck to keep, for good reasons; they dumped us back on the English government. The colonial government was run by a handful of families for their own benefit. They were charming people — large planters and slave traders, pretenders to English aristocracy, living up to and beyond their considerable means by taking advantage of everyone else in sight regardless of race, creed or color. The back country didn’t get into the Revolution until late because they knew the government in Charleston was worse for them than the one in London. Eventually a similar handful of families pushed secession, to hang on to their slaves. After Reconstruction we were unique among southern states in not electing new younger politicians with a vision for the future. SC brought back those old men longing for their lost rice and cotton plantations. The state’s leaders (especially Pitchfork Ben) thought it wise to create a state government that could not fully function other than through a good old boy network, just in case an African-American might be elected Governor. They might not be sure to control who was elected, but they were sure to control the old boy network. The consequences of this history are still with us in mistrust of government, in mistrust of others, in lack of shared purpose, and in general government malfunction. Personally, I’m tired of it, but I see no end in sight.

  7. Libb

    Lee, I’d like your source for the Middle East contributions please.

    Santee, your historical synopsis of this state I was born & raised in hit the nail on the head. The only “remedy” I see for the old boy network are term limits and cap offs on campaign donations.

  8. Lee Muller

    Libb, you already asked, and I already posted them. I even listed name after name of foreign Muslims who laundered over $20,000,000 in illegal campaign donations, including some arrested here in the US.

    The FEC suspects another $200,000,000 in illegal donations from overseas, mostly Palestine, but the Obama campaign refuses to turn over its donation records.

  9. Lee Muller

    Ex-Dem fundraiser sentenced in NYC to 24 years
    AP – September 30, 2009

    In this file photo, Norman Hsu is escorted into a Redwood City, Calif., courtroom, Sept. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, pool) AP – In this file photo, Norman Hsu is escorted into a Redwood City, Calif., courtroom, Sept. 21, 2007. (AP …
    By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer Larry Neumeister, Associated Press Writer – Tue Sep 29, 7:36 pm ET

    NEW YORK – Former Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was sentenced Tuesday to more than 24 years in prison by a judge who accused him of funding his fraud by manipulating the political process in a way that “strikes at the very core of our democracy.”

    U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero sentenced the 58-year-old Hsu, who raised money for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, and others, to 20 years in prison for his guilty plea to fraud charges and another four years and four months in prison for his conviction at trial for breaking campaign finance laws.

  10. Bart

    Santee, you forgot to include one more important point. Those who were running the state determined that educating the general population would serve no good economic purpose and therefore the public education system was never designed to do anything other than teach some rudimentary skills that would assure an undereducated public, providing a cheap labor pool, and an unquestioning voter bloc. Only the “ruling class” or “southern elites” were priviledged enough to attend the better educational instiutions.

    Unfortunately, we still have some who hang on to the old ways as you suggest.

  11. Lee Muller

    Even if your fantastic conspiracy theories were true, the good ole boys obviously failed to create a mediocre school system, judging by all the astronauts, scientists, Nobel laureates, engineers, and graduates of Ivy League schools who came from our public schools in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Maybe those dedicated old timey teachers subverted the system and thwarted the evil schemes of those political villains.

    Maybe the presence of home lives, with two parents, even for the poorest black children, was a major factor then, which is missing today.

  12. Brad Warthen

    Nice review of our history, Santee, but I will offer one amendment. We tend to blame our current form of government on Pitchfork Ben, on account of the constitution of 1895 coming along during his watch. He was a terror, and makes a convenient villain. My journalistic forebears started The State to fight his machine, and one of the newspaper’s founders was shot down by a Tillman (who got away with it).
    My own ancestors despised what he represented, even though he lived next door to my great-grandparents in Kensington, Md., when he was in the Senate. (My great-grandfather was an attorney from SC who had gone to Washington to represent the Treasury and later was one of the men who started the General Accounting Office.) I wrote a column once referring to my grandmother’s memory of having sat on Tillman’s lap as a little girl, which appalled her parents, although she didn’t understand why.

    Anyway, as neat as it is to blame it all on him, the form of government enshrined in the 1895 constitution merely reproduced what we had had since the time of the Lords Proprietors. John Locke devised a system for Lord Anthony Ashley-Cooper that placed diffused power in the hands of the landed, slaveholding gentry. This was maintained through colonial times to make sure the King’s governor had no real power, and the system continued up through 1865.
    Keeping power scattered through the Legislature and away from the governor elected by all the people has always been the South Carolina way. This once served our oligarchy fairly well; it doesn’t serve any of us well any more.

  13. Bart

    Keep believing what you will Lee. I never said it was a conspiracy theory, it was a reaction to a need that had to be met at the time. And yes, I agree that our educational system has produced some fine graduates who went on to success but they would have succeeded whether in SC schools or not.

    I stand by my comments that the educational system in South Carolina has and still lags behind almost every other state due to the early need to keep an undereducated populus available for cheap labor.

    And, yes, South Carolina does have a mediocre school system at best. When we moved back to SC from VA years ago, my daughter was so far ahead of her classmates, it was pitiful. They were in textbooks she used 3 years earlier.

  14. Lee Muller

    Did I hear someone say that the South Carolina astronauts, engineers, scientists, Nobel Laureates and writers would have succeeded regardless of the public schools, regardless of how little or how much taxpayer money is spent?

    Hooray! Welcome on board, Bart.
    Individual effort is the primary factor.

    The schools I went to sent someone to the Ivy League or military academies every year, even mostly black schools coming out of segregation.

    My children’s schools here in Columbia have been rated in the top 100 to top 10 in the nation, year after year, even with scores being dragged down by some urban students who refuse to take advantage of the opportunities.

  15. Maude Lebowski

    “Only the “ruling class” or “southern elites” were priviledged enough to attend the better educational instiutions.”

    Historically this is far from being exclusively a Southern (or for that matter American) practice.

  16. Libb

    Lee, not going to quibble with you, but you never responded to me w/ a list of names, only that your source was the FEC.

  17. Maude Lebowski

    “And, yes, South Carolina does have a mediocre school system at best. When we moved back to SC from VA years ago, my daughter was so far ahead of her classmates, it was pitiful. They were in textbooks she used 3 years earlier.”

    It’s not the system, it’s the student population – primarily generational poverty and a lack of focus on literacy within the family.

    Bart how much time have you spent observing teachers and classes in SC? What district does your daughter attend?

  18. Lee Muller

    No, Libb, I filled up an entire page of this blog listing illegal Muslim donors and the amounts they gave.

    What’s wrong with the FEC site? It is a link to their database of illegal donors to Obama.

    The way Obama ran the illegal donations was multi-faceted.
    1. Rich Democrats laundered donations exceeding their legal limits, through a variety of political action funds, which faked their donor names.

    2. Wealthy Arabs provided the cash to teams who purchased cash cards at Wal-Marts in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. They used these cash cards to make hundreds of thousands of small donations to the Obama web site. All the other campaigns blocked these overseas donations, but Obama 2008 did not.

    3. Muslims in this country were wired millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, which they then used for phony purchases of T-shirts and other trinkets from the Obama website, goods which were never shipped.

    All this is documented on the FEC web site, and in court documents filed in multiple lawsuits by American attorneys who uncovered the massive campaign finance fraud going on in their states.

    Gore received untold millions of illegal donations from Vladimir Putin in 2000.

    Bill Clinton received at least $40,000,000 in illegal donations from the Red Chinese Army in 2004. Scores of Hillary’s and Gore’s aides were convicted or plead guilty to various roles in this election fraud.

  19. Bart

    Maude, when our children were in school, we spent a lot of time, deeply involved in their school activities, including monitoring classes, active members of the APT, and other school organizations.

    I will admit that our children have been out of school for a long time and both have gone on to successful careers. Our daughter has her MBA and our son is working on his while raising a family. So, we are still involved but to a lesser degree.

    “…It’s not the system, it’s the student population – primarily generational poverty and a lack of focus on literacy within the family…”

    Maude, your comment only confirms what I said. The reasons you stated are a direct result of the very point I made.

  20. Maude Lebowski

    True, Bart, but you’re blaming the current education system for not correcting the mistakes of the past quickly enough. I have been out of SC’s public schools for less than 30 years and the differences between my school experience (and I went to some of the best schools in the state) and my childrens’ experience is fairly vast. There have been huge improvements in SC’s public education system in just one generation. I don’t think it’s fair to classify the entire *current* system as mediocre when the historical societal problems they are addressing are so widespread.

  21. Lee Muller

    With Columbia having 4 of the top 100 public schools in the nation, it is obvious that the quality of education varies widely across the state, and it is not due to a lack of money. The “poorest” schools in SC have way more money than the average school had in the 1960s.

  22. Maude Lebowski

    “the quality of education varies widely across the state”

    Yes, thus it is a gross oversimplification to categorize the entire system as mediocre. I don’t particularly like discussing our system in the context of rankings and test scores either – there is much more honesty and accuracy with people who currently spend time in our classrooms and see it first-hand.

  23. Lee Muller

    The inaccurate discussions of education on a gross scales like average SAT scores, or PACT scores, and graduation rates is the primary cause of the problems not being solved. Every school has different problem areas, and needs them addressed differently.

    Many of these problems are concentrated among non-white students, but the politicians, from teachers on up, are afraid to break down the metrics along racial lines.

    They are afraid to break the metrics down along any lines, but they are forced to do it at county levels.

    The solutions to the most serious problems require a radical change in culture and attitudes of African-Americans, in order for them to respect education, aspire to have careers, and resolve the epidemic of illegitimate births, drug and alcohol abuse which doom so many of them to a life of poverty and dependency on welfare.

    None of the so-called leaders, black or white, want to address those issues.

  24. Maude Lebowski

    Lee, have you spent in time in SC public schools recently?

    “Many of these problems are concentrated among non-white students, but the politicians, from teachers on up, are afraid to break down the metrics along racial lines.”

    This is false. There are very candid conversations going on regularly among teachers and administrators about different ways to address and solve the higher illiteracy rate among African American males, for instance, or how to encourage more females to go into science-oriented careers. In many districts there is a lot of improvement in both areas.

    The real elephant in the room is the increasing population of Hispanic students who live in non-English-speaking homes. It is unconscionable to blame the teachers straddled with these students for low test scores, when the real fault lies with politicians for not addressing immigration reform.

  25. doug_ross


    Those “conversations” that are supposedly occurring between among teachers and administrators have been going on at least since my kids started attending public school in 1993 and today. And there isn’t any real difference in the way things are done 16 years later.

    The steps that SHOULD be taken are not taken mainly out of fear of a backlash from the African American community:

    1) Do not promote kids who cannot read / do math at their grade level

    2) Separate kids into classes based on their ability so they can be taught at the same pace.

    3) Don’t allow kids to participate in extracurricular sports if they cannot achieve what was called the “BASIC” level of aptitude on the old PACT tests or have not passed the HSAP exit exams by the end of their junior year.

    4) Create high school tracks that do not force kids down paths that are highly unlikely to motivate them or to develop real world skills. It really is okay if a kid stops doing math after Algebra I if he wants to be a chef, a plumber, a PE teacher, a social worker, a driver for UPS, a librarian, etc. Teach kids to read, think, and communicate and we’ll have a better system all around.

  26. Lee Muller

    Maude, the conversations you allege to be going on in the schools are of no value if they are not public.

    The test scores and other metrics need to be sliced and diced from all directions, including race, and correlated with other factors, such as single parents, felon parents, etc.

    The Hispanic students are mostly illegal freeloaders who have no right to be here. The solution is to deport them and concentrate on the problems of our citizens.

  27. Randy E

    Doug, your points are common suggestions that have flaws.

    There is currently a great deal of tracking and there has been since I was in high school at Spring Valley 25 years ago. Kids who can’t read or do math often do not respond to the same motivations that the middle and upper class decision makers, especially academically. In elementary and middle school, these kids who are low simply do not appreciate the long range cause and effect relationships. Eventually it doesn’t work to have a 16 year old in middle school.

    There has been a great deal of conversation about the achievement gap between races. The test scores have been divided along race-ethnicities for a long time. This is a cultural and socio-economic problem, not just a test score, academics problem. Yet, the naysayers simply point to schools and “educrats” as the problem.

    Finally, Doug, math is a content area ideally suited to help teach critical thinking skills. When we reduce credits in a content area or hold a low bar, we communicate value. E.g. if kids only need algebra 1, then they understand that they simply need to get through it with a 69.5 to move on. That hardly provides an environment for developing critical thinking.

  28. Lee Muller

    We are not ‘naysayers’.
    A lot of us have a lot more sophisticated understanding of the education problems than the teachers and educrats.

    The educrats keep saying they are the solution, and to just give them more money and bigger salaries. They fail over, and over and ask for more and more money.

    The problems lie in the immoral behavior among the parents of failing children. Educrats are afraid to address those real social problems, because they are more concerned with keeping the money coming to themselves.

  29. Maude Lebowski

    Unless you spend time in the schools in some capacity, you cannot have a sophisticated understanding of the challenges that teachers and administrators face every day. What do you suggest they do about the lifestyle choices of their students’ parents?

    Your implication that people who work in public education are in it for the money shows you have no idea what you’re talking about. If the problems lie in the lack of a supportive home life, why are you so critical of teachers and schools?

    “The test scores and other metrics need to be sliced and diced from all directions, including race, and correlated with other factors, such as single parents, felon parents, etc.”

    The only real measure of educational success is individual student progress.

  30. Randy E

    Maude, it’s so easy yet we missed it. Kids fail because their parents engage in immoral behavior!!! EUREKA!!!

    Now the question is what constitutes immoral behavior. If it is sin, then all kids should be failing because we all sin. Perhaps it is adultery yet Chelsea Clinton made top grades. Hmmm…immoral behavior…maybe it’s doing drugs but then anyone born in the 60s and 70s is likely to qualify and therefore MOST of those kids, including me, should be failing students.

    Maude, Lee was a hall monitor for a few years so he is well qualified. You may as well go argue your points with your dog than reply to Lee (although I debate him when I’m bored).

  31. doug_ross

    Wasn’t the subject the achievement gap between blacks and whites?

    It does exist, doesn’t it? What do you teachers think the reason is? And what are you doing about it except having “conversations”? And when can we expect to see results? Haven’t seen any this decade.

  32. Randy E

    Doug, as I wrote this issue is confounded by socio-economic and cultural factors. Here’s one small example. In the Midlands, Lexington 1 is predominantly white and middle class. Richland 1 is predominantly AA and lower economic status. Is Lex 1 doing a better job on the standardized tests simply because their schools are better?

    CT has some of the finest schools and performances on the standardized tests in the nation. We also have the greatest achievement gap in the nation. Because we have a much smaller minority population than SC, our overall test results are impacted less by the achievement gap.

    This is clearly not simply a problem of educators not addressing the problem, as you seem to suggest.

  33. Maude Lebowski

    Doug what “results” would signify to you that the achievement gap has been closed? Do you think it’s the role and responsibility of the public education system to correct hundreds of years of separate and unequal ways of life? If so, how long should it take?
    When we call our schools mediocre, what are we comparing them to? Vermont? Connecticut? Japan? Can we honestly compare the systems when the populations and cultures and history are so different?

    Do you think that the standard of living for African Americans in this state has improved in the 39 years since we fully integrated?

    When I came into the conversation it wasn’t to discuss the achievement gap, it was to correct someone who made an overly simplified blanket statement about SC’s public schools. So what about your kids – have they recieved mediocre educations?

  34. Lee Muller

    The so-called “professional educators” have produced no improvements in the worst schools, nor among the students with those same demographics who happen to attend our best schools, after pouring billions of dollars into dozens of programs and initiatives.

    These efforts are, by any measure, total failures.

    Yet they circle the wagons, and fight to keep out any new ideas, any opening of the books to parents and genuine management experts from other fields, and against any private school competition for their tax monies.

    The standard of living for blacks and whites has improved greatly in the last 40 years. Only someone totally ignorant of the data would dispute that.

    What is the immoral behavior that is the root cause of blacks who have failed to improve their standard of living?
    * having children outside marriage
    * getting pregnant while still in school
    * not making an effort to learn
    * not making an effort to get up and go to work
    * not making an effort to learn a craft or job skill
    * drug abuse
    * alcohol abuse

    Now, show me the school programs targeting those immoral behaviors. Show me any so-called “black leaders” or white liberals forcefully criticizing this immoral behavior which directly leads to a live of poverty and abuse of their unwanted children.

    What I see are schools hiring nurses to tend to the pregnant students before they drop out and go on welfare.

  35. Randy E

    The so-called “professional educators” have produced no improvements in the worst schools, nor among the students – Lee

    Lee, if kids fail because of immoral parents as you stated on this thread, what are educators to do, call the parents in for counseling? (You certainly contradicted yourself.)

  36. doug_ross


    The point is that if educators feel they can’t overcome the socio-economic issues, then let’s stop spending more and more money on education initiatives to try and overcome them. Let’s do something else.

    The fact that educrats have to use the euphemism “achievement gap” is indicative of the fear they have to say exactly what the problem is. Someone who isn’t running for governor needs to lead the education system in this state and start doing more, faster.

    It’s not an “achievement gap”. It’s an effort gap. It’s an attitude gap.

    Again, if it’s not an issue educators can prove they can solve, then just get out of the way and stop taking additional tax dollars to try and solve it.

  37. Lee Muller

    Well put, Doug.

    The education industry has no right to keep asking for more money and higher salaries while producing no improvements, then to blame their failure on parents and the “sorry material we have to work with”.

    That blame game falls short of admitting the social problems, but we can all see through it. The educators don’t want to give up the money so it can be channeled into fixing some root causes which they want to blame.

  38. Maude Lebowski

    Lee, you’re talking in circles. Schools have been increasing character education, which addresses many of the social issues you listed, for years now. One of the problems with it is that conservatives rail against it, saying that schools should teach only academics and leave the character education to parents. So which is it?

    The real blame game is played by people who aren’t involved in public education who have nothing but criticism for the system – people who don’t or won’t admit the many positive aspects of our public schools. (Which is why I asked Doug what kind of education his children have had.) I’ve talked to many teachers and administrators in Midlands schools and none of them, black or white, hesitates to admit that African Americans are behind their white peers in education outcomes. But since they work with these kids every day they know it’s not due to a lack of effort. Oversimplifying the issues facing public education with your opinion that black students don’t do as well as white students because they don’t try as hard does nothing to improve our schools.

    You really don’t know what is going on in schools unless you spend some time there. I haven’t even mentioned the federal requirement to educate all children, even those with severe mental and physical disabilites, and the resources that are needed for that endeavor. It’s easy to play armchair quarterback and those who do are usually the ones who have never really been on the field.

    Doug what would it take from schools to prove to you that the achievement gap is narrowing? And given the gross disparity in available resources for hundreds of years, what do you think is a reasonable timeline for closing the gap?

  39. Lee Muller

    I have some character education textbooks from the 1930s and 1950s. Then it was removed from the schools. A few years ago, Secretary Tennenbaum hired consultants and started a new program.

    With several family members and close friends who teach in SC, or are principals and superintendents, I know a bit more than Maude would like to imagine.

    If you are not out in the business world, you don’t know about real management, Maude.

    Show me a character education course for high school which tells the students their mothers were tramps for having four children out of wedlock and their biological fathers are bums. That is the kind of blunt truth that is necessary. The schools can’t go but so far with that.

    And don’t tell us “the conservatives are blocking character education”. It is the liberals who don’t believe in ethics and morality. It was the liberals who advocated social promotions and “not being judgemental about lifestyles” rife with venereal disease and HIV.

  40. Lee Muller

    Oh, did I forget to mention the federal mandates on schools?

    They are illegal. There is no Constitutional authority for any federal role in education. We need governors who ignore these mandates, who refuse to take federal money with strings attached.

  41. Maude Lebowski

    I’m surprised Sanford hasn’t ordered public schools to ignore the federal mandate requiring them to accept students with disabilities.

    “*not making an effort to learn
    * not making an effort to get up and go to work
    * not making an effort to learn a craft or job skill”

    When our president tried to address these issues with students via schools, the conservative backlash was fast and furious.

    Let me make sure I have this straight: The way to improve our mediocre school system is to take any further funds from schools and give them to another agency who will force black parents to act morally and black students to try harder by telling them that their moms are sluts and their dads are losers.

  42. Lee Muller

    Maude, do you claim to be a teacher, principal or administrator?

    Why do you think promoting morality to restore the family unit and work ethic among black Americans requires spending mountains of taxpayer money, in the schools or in some new agency?

    Do you have any new ideas for solving the problems of education, which are mostly concentrated among the black students? What the educrats have tried has not worked so far.

  43. Lee Muller

    Burl, you act like a child.
    You have nothing to add to any thread except for some not-so-smart aleck comments.

    What’s your excuse for schools run by liberals and socialists failing to educate the children they claim to love so much?

    Liberals have fought to keep morality out of their amoral sex education, making it a how-to class. They brought nurses into every high school to take care of the dozens of pregnant students who took those liberal Sex Ed courses, in order to keep them in school so they could collect the head count money from the state.

  44. Maude Lebowski

    I don’t currently work in the public school system.

    “Why do you think promoting morality to restore the family unit and work ethic among black Americans requires spending mountains of taxpayer money, in the schools or in some new agency?”

    I was referring to the “stop giving schools more money, get out of the way and let someone else solve the problem” comments. You claim that public education is not working to solve the problems of black students, so I’ll ask again: Given the gross disparity in available resources for hundreds of years, what do you think is a reasonable timeline for closing the achievement gap?

    “Liberals have fought to keep morality out of their amoral sex education, making it a how-to class. They brought nurses into every high school to take care of the dozens of pregnant students who took those liberal Sex Ed courses”

    By all means lets go back to labeling those girls sluts and shipping them out of state to give up their babies for adoption while the fathers have no consequences. Or force them to do the moral thing of dropping out of high school and getting married. Or telling teens not to have sex and pretending that they’ll listen to us. (Has that *ever* worked?) When Jocelyn Elders proposed turning those how-to sex ed courses into how-not-to courses (by discussing masturbation) the conservatives flipped out. Hell, even Slick Willy fired her. The thought of someone teaching girls that they didn’t need men for pleasure probably terrified him!

  45. Lee Muller

    I don’t see how the “gross disparities of hundreds of years” have anything to do with a child today not being able to learn.

    We are all born totally ignorant. Today we have the third generation of black children in this state with schools better-funded than any white schools of the 1960s.

    Under segregation, and immediately thereafter, this state produced black scholars who went to Harvard, MIT, Yale, etc. They certainly had fewer advantages than the black children of today.

    I am tired of these lame excuses from white liberals for their failures, and from blacks who make the excuses that white liberals expect them to make.

    Maude, if you Sex Education courses fail to reduce teen pregnancy rates, fail to reduce venereal disease, and fail to reduce HIV rates, don’t you think it’s fair to pronounce them as failures and try something else?

    In fact, most liberal experiments are failures, leaving a trail of human wreckage. But white liberals never admit it, much less apologize. They just demand more money.

  46. Randy E

    Maude, your dog will make more sense than the person you’re debating now.

    Brad, I can’t go back a page to see the previous posts in this thread.

  47. Maude Lebowski

    Randy I think “I don’t see how the ‘gross disparities of hundreds of years’ have anything to do with a child today not being able to learn” was my cue to switch to a discussion about the zen of rawhides.

  48. doug_ross


    I’m on my third (and last) kid finishing up the full K-12 cycle in Richland 2.

    I’ve been in classrooms. I’ve been on field trips. I’ve been a PTO President for a couple years. I ran for school board and lost.

    My kids’ education has varied and the two key factors in 36 combined years are: the quality of the teacher and the discipline of the students in the classroom. I’ve got stories about great teachers and I’ve got stories about awful teachers who shouldn’t be anywhere near a classroom. Parents know this and just end up learning to deal with the dud teachers because the school administrations won’t — and the teachers have “the code” that prevents them from ever saying a bad thing about another teacher.

    Believe me, I’ve heard enough stories from my kids over the past 15 years to get a really good picture of what’s going on in the classrooms – and this is in supposedly “good” schools. I shudder to think what a classroom is like in the bad schools (where we spend thousands of dollars more per student to produce no measurable difference).

    As Lee has said, it doesn’t take 100 years to reverse the sins of the past. It will take honest, open, direct, truthful dialogue with the African American community to get them to take ownership of the problem. The opportunity is there and it won’t require more spending to achieve.

  49. Lee Muller

    So now your excuse for failure is that the great-grandparents didn’t have a good education.

    How many generations do you folks think it will take blacks to catch up? In other words, how many more years of your failure to teach them are we taxpayers supposed to tolerate?

    We’re back to the same old condescending racism of white liberals, telling us that Irish and Jews and Italians and Poles coming to America in dire poverty and becoming educated in one generation is not achievable for blacks.

    You know damn well a voucher system would educate more blacks in five years than the public schools have in fifty.

  50. Maude Lebowski

    “it doesn’t take 100 years to reverse the sins of the past.”

    Did African Americans have equal education opportunities in SC starting in 1910 or did I miss something?

  51. doug_ross


    Neither of my grandparents on my mother’s side had more than a 5th grade education. Both were children of legal immigrants from Finland who spoke no English.

    It only took two generations to produce two college graduates. My mother graduated high school and went to secretarial school. My father graduated high school and after a stint in the Navy and Coast Guard, did some college work but never graduated.

    You have to want something before you can get it usually.

  52. Lee Muller

    “Equal opportunity” is a myth, and a cop out. Every person has different opportunities. Some are very similiar, some are much greater than others. That’s irrelevant.

    What is relevant is that, since the 1950s, blacks in South Carolina have had all the opportunity necessary to achieve each child’s potential. Some were taking advantage of it, but many were not.

    The problem is not lack of facilities or books. It is a lack of effort by those who have the intelligence to learn. There may be some incompetent teachers in the worst schools, but it is only the fault of the education establishment for not replacing them – not the parents’ and not the taxpayers’ fault.

    The liberal teachers who keep saying blacks are incapable of closing the achievement gap in one generation are losers who need to be removed from the schools.

  53. Birch Barlow

    That’s a great family success story, Doug! This country could use more people who are willing to work for a better life — even if they are from a different country, have little education and speak no English.

    I agree with those above who said this is a socio-economic and cultural problem. To be sure, there are issues with our schools — not the right quality of teachers, wasted money, not enough money, disruptive students in the classroom, etc. These things are problems but they are not the problem.

  54. doug_ross


    “This country could use more people who are willing to work for a better life — even if they are from a different country, have little education and speak no English.”

    Absolutely! And we have a process in place to allow people to do that legally.

    It’s the people who have no respect for the rule of law who ruin it for the rest of them.

  55. Burl Burlingame

    Apropos of nothing, my first professional job as a book illustrator was a English-usage textbook for South Carolina in the early ’70s. Essentially, I was supposed to draw cartoons in all the blank spaces. The only criteria was that I give equal space and weight to whites and blacks, which I did happily. Even threw in some Asians and Latinos as well.

  56. Lee Muller

    Wando High School Principal Lucy Beckham received the prestigious honor of 2010 National Principal of the Year. The award, given by MetLife and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), was announced Monday during a surprise assembly at the school. The South Carolina Association of School Administrators named Beckham the 2009 Principal of the Year in South Carolina, which made her a candidate for the national honor.

    Yet, you can bet Wando High School has a significant number of capable students who fail to take advantage of the educational opportunities there, even to flunk out and drop out.

  57. Randy E

    Neither of my grandparents on my mother’s side had more than a 5th grade education…It only took two generations to produce two college graduates. – Doug

    So your family’s history can be generalized into an evaluation of all people from like backgrounds?

    I’m estimating that your parents went to school in the 50s. Life was quite different for people of color at that time – Brown v BOE Topeka was just taking place. The schools for African-Americans were vastly different. The opportunities for getting a job were vastly different. Voting on laws affecting schools and opportunities was vastly different.

    So African-American parents who raising kids in the 50s, as Doug’s parents were, could provide the same opportunies simply by having the motivation? Doug, you contradict this position by citing how the variation in your kids education was due to the quality of teachers. What was the quality like for teachers in the African-American schools in the 50s and 60s?

  58. Randy E

    I’m always intrigued by people who want to dismiss the negative effects of the racial disparity that they believe ended in the 1960s.

    First, it has not ended. Second, in terms of generations, the Civil Rights and Voting Acts were passed only 2 generations ago. This means today’s students have grandparents who were 2nd class citizens and could not even vote in the South. That entrenched cultural situation disappears in 2 generations? That notion is pitifully blind to history.


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