Way to go, Vincent. Can you catch up now, Nikki?

I’m glad to see Vincent Sheheen took my advice. OK, so maybe he didn’t do it because I advised it; likely he figured it out for himself.

In any case, I was glad to see this release come in on my Blackberry today:


“Sheheen calls on Haley for transparency and full disclosure.”

Camden, SC—-Today Vincent Sheheen, candidate for governor, released his legislative emails for the public to review. He released information from both the L Drive and the G Drive for his Senate office.
In releasing his emails, Vincent stated, “ In order to restore trust, honesty and integrity to our state, we as candidates must be transparent in our actions. Today, I have released my legislative emails and I challenge Representative Haley to do the same. Candidates must practice what we preach. It is about a true and open government.”

This keeps Vincent way out ahead of Nikki on the transparency front — you know, the issue that she chose to run on…

She’s probably starting to regret making a big deal of this issue. Today, her campaign released some tax records, although not for the full 10 years that Sheheen has released. And even though she picked the years she released, she has revealed a record of late filings and having to pay fines. From the AP story:

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Republican gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley has repeatedly paid late fees and penalties for not paying her income taxes on time.      Tax records released Wednesday by Haley’s campaign show she and her husband filed more than a year late on two occasions. They have not filed by the usual April 15 deadline since they began owing money five years ago.

No wonder she’s such an anti-tax zealot. She has so much trouble paying them.

The state Democratic Party is of course loving this; they’ve put out a release to chortle:

“Nikki Haley not only refused to release 10 years of tax returns to match Vincent Sheheen’s record of transparency, her attempt to save face has backfired,” said Fowler.  “At no point in the past five years has Ms. Haley paid her taxes on time, but she’s running for office citing her experience as an accountant and claiming to be a fiscal conservative.  If this is how she manages her own books, imagine what she has in store for South Carolina.  This reeks of the worst kind of hypocrisy.”

So now we’re all left waiting to see the rest of those tax records — and the e-mails, of course. There are shoes left to drop in this saga…

40 thoughts on “Way to go, Vincent. Can you catch up now, Nikki?

  1. Karen McLeod

    Are you still on vacation? I hope so. I’m glad Sheheen called her on the “transparency” issue. And I wish he’d keep hammering away about the legitimate issues that divide them.

  2. Doug T

    I’m loving this. Hypocricy is just the start of it. If character counts (and really, I’m not certain it does anymore), Sheheen wins in a landside.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    Okay, all those snarky things some of you said about Vincent’s being a lawyer—Nikki’s a frigging accountant who can’t even FILE on time!

    Yeah, we want her to run government like she runs her personal business….

  4. Juan Caruso

    @ Doug T

    “If character counts…”

    Sorry, can’t see what any of this has to do with either Sheheen’s or Haley’s character.

    Perhaps trust (as in Sheheen appears more trustworthy than Haley) is the applicable issue.

    If I am mistaken would you be good enough to explain why Sheheen is of better character than Haley is?
    They both seem upstanding to me at this point, for two politicians, that is.

  5. Doug Ross

    “We interrupt this vacation to bring you a special report in order to slam Nikki Haley”

    If there is one topic sure to inspire voters to go to the polls, its emails and tax returns. Way to go, Vince. We have been waiting all summer to see what qualities you have to lead this state. What an inspiration your boring emails and tax returns are to people without jobs and with kids in failing schools!
    When is he going to start running for governor?

  6. bud

    Haley is hypocritical to the nth degree but does it matter to the voters? I doubt it, but we’ll see.

  7. kittycatlover

    Haley is Sanford all over again , but in a dress.
    Haley is the worst , absolute worst choice , for Governor.

  8. Doug Ross

    Here’s what we get from the Sheheen campaign:

    “Sheheen Calls for Both Parties to Join Together in Support of Funding for Charleston Harbor Study”


    Uh, who ISN’T supporting this issue from our congressional delegation? Apparently he thinks this is a partisan issue but doesn’t name anyone who is opposed to it.

    Is this what we can expect from Mr. Sheeheen? Cheerleader on the sidelines?

  9. David

    Give me a break, Doug. In another post you were slamming the the “ethically challenged” Waters, Rangel and Kerry for their recent tax issues. And now that it’s Haley, you’re all “no big deal, nothing to see here”. How about a little consistency?

    I’ll agree that I’d like to see more substance out of the Sheheen campaign.

  10. martin

    Based on yesterday’s op-ed and editorial, Jim DeMint is NOT supporting this for fear of being accused of using an earmark to actually do something for the state that allows him to bring in that nice salary.

    It was also unclear if ANY of the Republicans in the delegation support this for the same reason.

    This is exactly the kind of thing a governor, or candidate, should be bringing to the attention of the voters. The port of Charleston is a monumental deal for this state. Other than Jasper, Sanford has let the port of Georgetown rot and Charleston wither away for the last 7 years.

    One day I’m sure we will know why he has been so obsessed with Jasper and I’m sure it will havce something to do with money going into his pocket.

  11. Brad

    FYI, here’s a fund-raising e-mail that just came from the Sheheen campaign:

    Dear Brad –

    Yesterday we learned that Rep. Nikki Haley’s actions don’t match her words. Rep. Haley is a big-talker when it comes to “fiscal discipline” but she can’t even manage to pay her taxes on time.

    As the The State reported, Rep. Haley has been fined nearly $4,500 for failure to pay her taxes, and for two years Rep. Haley filed her taxes 14 months late.

    Perhaps the most troubling part of Rep. Haley’s tax problem is that she touts her profession as an accountant as a reason she should be Governor.

    Unfortunately, the say-one-thing-do-another routine has become all too frequent with Rep. Haley. Let’s call it what it is: Hypocrisy. We need your help to fight the hypocrisy.

    Please make a financial contribution today so South Carolina can finally have a governor whose actions match his words.

    Rep. Haley seems to think hypocrisy is something to run on. She says she wants to shake up the good ‘ole boys network, but won’t commit to trying to hire more qualified women to state jobs. She says she wants more transparency in government, but won’t release her legislative emails.

    South Carolina’s suffered through eight years of a say-one-thing-do-another governor and all we have to show for it is high unemployment, neglected public education and a lot of embarrassment for our state.

    Let’s put an end to this nonsense. It’s time South Carolina had a governor who backs up words with action. It’s time South Carolina had a governor to be proud of. It’s time South Carolina had a governor like Vincent Sheheen.

    It’s time for some honesty in government. Please make a financial contributiontoday.

    Help us move SC Forward!


    Trav Robertson
    Sheheen for Governor

  12. Doug Ross


    She filed late (as all South Carolinians can). There’s a form you can file along with your taxes to request the extension. Anyone can do it.

    She paid fines for any late payments. The total of those fines was approximately 1.5% of Sheheen’s yearly income.

    Kerry tried to avoid paying $500K in taxes.

    Rangel has yet to pay a fine or admit fault. His violations are severe enough to warrant him giving up a chairmanship and potentially force him to resign.

    Waters has yet to admit she did anything to help out the bank her husband sits on the board for. This wasn’t 4.5K in fines, it was millions in bank bailouts.

    What crime did Haley commit? None. She filed late according the the rules that allow that privilege to every resident and she paid the fines. See the difference? One person followed the law, the other three didn’t.

    She also donated a far larger chunk of her income to charity than Sheheen did.

    My point remains: nobody cares. Well, just the anti-Sanford crowd who can’t find a candidate who can campaign on anything but “I’m not Sanford”. Good luck with that!

  13. Elizabeth

    How much will it take for people to see Haley for who she is? How many people will continue to shut their eyes and support her no matter what she does that is inappropriate or unethical? How many rules can she break? I will have no respect for the people in SC if they continue to vote for her and disregard her obvious inability to run the state in an above board manner. Do we really want another 4 yrs of what we have been through for the past 8? We need to save this state before it goes to hell in a hand basket.

  14. Kathryn Fenner

    She filed more than a year late, two years in a row. She’s an accountant.
    What exactly is she good at? Certainly not keeping books or being transparent?

  15. scout


    What crime did Kerry commit? He chose to dock his boat in a state that happens to have lower taxes than another. That is not illegal. If you have a problem with this, be mad at Rhode Island for having lower taxes or with the constitution for allowing states to do their own thing in regard to taxes. As I understand it, Kerry made a perfectly legal fiscally sound business decision about where to dock his boat. He did not break a law.

    You must be looking at different numbers then the ones I’ve seen in the State if you think Haley’s charitable contributions have been greater than Sheheen’s.


  16. scout


    Just wanted to reiterate…no matter how you feel about what Kerry did morally, it is just as equally not a crime as Haley choosing to file her taxes late. Only thing is Kerry’s choice gained him a fiscal advantage and Haley’s incurred fines. Yet she is running on a platform of being fiscally with it. I fully admit I am not a fiscal wizard of any sort, so I could easily be missing something here, but these seeming inconsistencies on Haley’s part give me pause. Is there some hidden advantage to choosing to file your taxes late that I am missing?

  17. bud

    Rangel should resign but his crimes don’t appear too extensive.
    Ditto Maxine Waters.
    All Kerry did was dock his boat in RI. No crime there. Much ado about nada.
    Haley has built her campaign around transparency and ethics. The notion that an accountant can simply not file her tax returns on time doesn’t fit with what she claims to be about. That, along with her failure to turn over the PUBLIC e-mails, is 100% proof that she’s just another politician. A hypocrit to the core. Sheheen has my vote.

    Even though it’s unknowable I now believe Haley did have several extra marital affairs. Her shady dealings are just not conducive to a faithful person.

  18. David

    Thanks for the lesson in filing taxes, Doug.

    Haley’s little tax problem doesn’t bother me. What gets under my skin is people who have different standards for the politicians they support and the ones they don’t.

    The truth is Haley did not follow the law as you say. You say this is just a case of her extending her returns which anyone could do and for which there is no penalty. But she filed two of her returns more than 14 months late — past the extended deadline. That’s why she actually had to pay those penalties, Doug. Duh.

    And then there’s Kerry whom you mention again. You claim that he did not “follow the law”. Wrong again, Doug. He tried to legally avoid taxes. Massachusetts has no right to tax property which was purchased in another state and not used in Massachusetts.

    So there it is. With Kerry — who was in compliance with the law — you are quick to say he is unethical and tried to evade paying taxes (untrue) which you hold as proof that long-time lawmakers are corrupt. With Haley — who was not in compliance with the law — you say “nobody cares”. A clear double standard.

  19. Rose

    So her husband’s business goes under and then he suddenly gets a job with the South Carolina National Guard? Can someone explain how that happened? Because I have friends and relatives in the Guard and I know what their opinions are on that situation and they aren’t good!

    And how the heck do you claim most of your income as deductions!?!?!

  20. Doug Ross

    I’d like to see the Sheheen campaign respond to the just released PASS testing results for the schools in this state.

    Once again, we see the Department of Education cherry pick whatever tiny improvements they can find in the data while ignoring the overall results. We have a CRISIS in the education of students in public schools in this state.

    More than a third of all 8th grade students cannot read at the minimal level, including more than half of the black students in this state.


    Nothing has changed in the past decade. It’s not Sanford’s fault – he hasn’t ever been given the chance to try it his way. How could the results be any worse? How can we continue to sentence children to spend years in failing public schools with no hope of breaking out?

    Will Sheheen tell us we need to do more of the same? Or worse – tell us we need to spend more money on doing all the same things that have failed for decades?

  21. Kathryn Fenner

    @Rose–Hey, look, Nikki’s going to balance our state budget by claiming a lot of tax deductions, see!

  22. Ralph Hightower

    Published in Sunday’s edition of The State:
    Sheheen: Is Haley being open?
    Latest disclosures also raise questions about Haley’s fiscal conservatism

    Nikki Haley also drives a “Government Motors” Cadillac Escalade SUV (http://www.cadillac.com/vehicles/2010/escaladeEsv/overview.do). I think that she also took driving lessons from the Andre Bauer School of Driving because I saw her Escalade SUV weaving in and out of traffic, zipping into parallel parking space sized holes in traffic, signalling only after she had made her lane change.

    I only bring up the issue what brand of car, or SUV, that Nikki drives because she branched out to national politics and railed that the Federal Government should not have bailed out General Motors or Chrysler. I own two GM cars, a Saturn, and a Chevy; for 40 years, except for two Ford Mustangs, the cars that I’ve driven have been GM products.

    Her “Government Motors” Cadillac Escalade SUV is also white, much like many of the female readers of Brad’s blog has pointed out. Come to think about Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard always wore white and also drove a white Cadillac.

    Hmm, that’s an interesting comparison, Boss Hogg and Nikki Haley.

    She also thinks that Joe must go because he voted for the TARP. She probably thinks that Sen. Graham should go also because he voted for TARP and she says that he should not have confirmed Kagan for Supreme Court Justice.

    TARP and saving the American auto industry prevented things from being much worse than they are.

    An accounting major does not put her at the level of expertise with a fellow South Carolinian, Ben Bernanke.

  23. scout

    Gee Doug, I would have thought you’d have been for Jim Rex seeing as how he’s not a career politician. Guess not.

    Your link didn’t work for me, but here are few for you to look at to dispute that “nothing has changed in the past decade” in regards to education:



    The second one is particularly interesting as it explains a point that I think is very little understood about NCLB and state standards and shows that SC’s curriculum standards are some of the more challenging in the nation. This does not excuse that we don’t have enough of our kids meeting them, but it helps explain somewhat why we appear to not be doing as well as some other states. But to say that “nothing has changed” shows an extreme lack of respect for the hard work that many are doing. It shows an unwillingness or lack of ability to grasp the complexity of the issues at hand, and it distracts from addressing the real problems facing education in our state (which largely boil down to poverty).

    The reports I’ve read about the PASS results say we are making slow progress – i.e. doing a little better than last year, but almost negligibly. I didn’t see a lot of cherry picking. But like I said, your link didn’t work for me. I’ve been impressed with Jim Rex for the most part– he doesn’t tend to hide the problems, he acknowledges them – but he also tries to find creative and constructive solutions or at least to understand and explain the situation – which he does well. I think I’ve said before I preferred Jim Rex to Sheheen, though I still like a lot about Vincent.

    What Sanford wanted was for the state to subsidize the private school educations of the students who by and large were not being failed by our public schools anyway. If any of these voucher proposals had made qualification to receive a voucher predicated on whether or not the school had actually failed that particular student, that would have made it interesting – but none did. (i.e. If a public school student has taken the PASS and scored Met or Advanced, then they have not been failed by that school, in my mind). I strongly suspect that under such a requirement, those that would want vouchers would not qualify, and those that would qualify for them would not be accepted by the private schools they’d want to attend and/or there would be no private schools in their area for them to try to attend. None of Sanford’s proposals did anything significant to impact the plight of the most difficult to educate in our state.

    Some other things that have changed, not mentioned in those articles, are the switch to the PASS test which gets results to teachers much faster and in time for them to modify their teaching to address the deficits illuminated by the test. Also, SC has just (like just in July) adopted new curriculum standards which are part of a movement among educators coming together across states (not mandated by the federal government) – but states choosing to adopt challenging universal standards – SC made 25 states so far that have chosen to adopt the same challenging standards. This will help with the apples to oranges comparing states issue. So, yes we have problems, but it is not fair to say “nothing has changed in the past decade.”

    We definitely need to do a better job. We definitely have problems. The most frustrating thing to me as an educator watching the politics of education is attitudes that find it easier to vilify the people who are truly trying to help than to try and understand the real issues. Unfortunately, this situation is facilitated by schools being assessed by confusing, misleading, unrealistic, and basically non-useful metrics. (i.e. You’d perhaps think that if a school in Mississippi did not meet AYP and a school in SC did not meet AYP, that might be an analogous situation – they might be equally bad schools – but no, the SC school could be miles better than the one in MS, it might have even met AYP under the MS system, but you’d never know it – because MS chose to set low standards and SC set more appropriate ones – also, under the current NCLB system, by 2014 no school anywhere will be able to make AYP – how does that help us know which ones really need to improve??). It’d be nice if we had instruments to really tell us where the problems are and people working together on the real issues instead of finding fault and putting up roadblocks.

    I’d very much like to know Sheheen’s position on these things as well, but I guess I have more patience for him telling us to do “more of the same” because I am aware of the details and I know that we are doing something.

  24. Doug Ross


    As a parent of three children in Richland 2 over the past decade plus, I think I can give a perspective from the outside that would differ from an insiders view. I also can look at the numbers and see the results.

    PASS was implemented for one reason: it was starting to get harder and harder to show any progress for all the time spent in the classroom teaching to the test. When the numbers didn’t look good for Rex, they test was dropped.

    There is only one number that should be looked at to assess the performance of the public schools: graduation rate. The rest is all noise. How much improvement has there been since PACT and PASS were implemented? If the system is not creating high school graduates, it is failing. If we are spending more money (and we are) and getting no results, we are wasting money.

    As I said, we have a crisis in education in this state and the only response has been to do more of the same. We need a radical approach to fix this. Literacy is key. To have 52% of the black 8th graders in this state unable to read at a basic level is an unavoidable indicator of the problem with the system. If a kid cannot read, he cannot learn. Stop teaching them science and social studies (which they fail at even higher rates).

    These kids’ school days should be completely focused on reading and writing. Do not pass them along to the next grade unless they can read at their level. Otherwise, what do we get? High school dropouts.

    We need a governor who will address literacy as the foundation for creating a workforce that will attract jobs in this state. Someone who will get tough with educrats who spend too much money with little to show for it and with parents who are not engaged in the education of their children. Someone who will stand up and tell the leaders of the black community that they have failed their constituents and encourage them to get engaged in fixing the root causes of the problem.

  25. Doug Ross

    @Ralph, @Kathryn, and other Sheheen supporters

    Aside from not being Sanford or Haley, what is it that you think will inspire the majority of voters to vote for Sheheen in less than three months? What specific message has he laid out there to demonstrate just how different South Carolina will be four years from now under his administration?

    Wake up from the fantasy. Haley has a built-in majority that Sheheen has to take votes away from. Republicans are going to be motivated (rightly or wrongly) by the first two years of the Obama administration. My sense is that Republicans are much more fired up than Democrats these days. Sheheen has to a) inspire every Democrat to get out to vote for him — including the black community and b) convince a big chunk of Republican voters that his policies are better for them than Haley’s.

    It would be a tough job in any election to do that. Doing it without actually saying anything but “I’m not Haley” isn’t going to cut it. Doing it with a campaign that appears to have the energy and enthusiasm of a guy running for county animal control officer isn’t going to cut it either.

    Face it – Sheheen’s using the same campaign playbook that Barrett, McMaster, and Bauer used (“Look at her, look at her… she’s bad!” — and he’s doing a worse job of it.
    Because he can’t latch on to any of the Republican hot topics without losing his base, he’s stuck in the middle.

    Instead of focusing on Haley, you should start pressing Sheheen to tell us what he will do. I’m not Nikki Haley either but that doesn’t mean I’d be a better governor (well, I would be but that’s a different story).

  26. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Doug–As a parent of three children, you have a statistical sample of three.

    I have no idea why SC voters do what they do–like vote for Sanford TWICE, and Joe Wilson and Demint. That doesn’t have any bearing on whether Sheheen is the better candidate or not. Reports are that Nikki has gone dark, too.

    I can live with it. Most voters have made up their minds already, and those who haven’t have almost three months to do so.

    October surprise?

  27. bud

    Doug, I think you put far too much blame for the low graduation rate onto the school system. There are a myriad other factors that may prevent a student from learning to read. There’s the home environment, peer pressure, cultural trends, economic factors and even the air that we breathe can adversely affect one’s ability to learn. Giving 100% of the blame to the school system is a bit unfair.

  28. Doug Ross


    I didn’t put 100% blame on the school system. I wrote “Someone who will get tough with educrats who spend too much money with little to show for it and with parents who are not engaged in the education of their children.”


    I’ve been a PTO President, run for school board, and have a spouse who has worked in the school system for more than a decade. I’ve actually spent signficant time looking at all the data that is available. How many spreadsheets have you created comparing year over year performance of school districts? How much time have you spent comparing per student spending to peformance? Or do you just wait for the latest press release from Jim Rex to form your opinion?

    I also have the ability to look at data and see what it means. Our graduation rate is horrendous. No amount of spin by the department of education can change that. And no amount of additional spending on the same failed programs will fix it. Democrats have held the highest education position in the state for over a decade. And there is little evidence to show any improvement in the graduation rates. Why? Because they are too caught up in spending money on consultants, technology, and testing instead of putting the money directly into fixing the problem: literacy.

    Oh, and check the numbers on the Hispanic students. They appear to be worse than those of black students and the population is growing. Think that’s going to help or hurt the overall quality of education in the state? The path we’re on is obvious… as the schools keep lowering the bar and lowering the standards, those with the means to do so will remove their kids.

  29. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Doug–How many spreadsheets have I ever created abotu anything–zip. I avoid reading them whenever possible, too! I do know that “the ability to look at data and see what it means” should actually read “the ability to look at data and see what they mean”–besides that, I can comprehend that graduation rates and what the schools are doing are loosely related. Our kids start from so far back in terms of school readiness–the studies that show how a well-educated mother speaks to her child greatly improves
    the child’s readiness, and how a poorly educated one does not, for one.
    I do know that it’s a complex problem, and just whacking the schools is short-sighted. I could read “chapter books” when I started school. I’m not sure I learned anything in school, but cursive handwriting before third grade. Contrast that with children of barely literate (if that) parent(s) who maybe working their butts off just to make ends meet–my mom stayed at home with us….

  30. Doug Ross


    I’m fine with acknowledging that no matter how much money we spend on public schools that it won’t make much of a difference. I agree that the government cannot fix the social and cultural issues that plague our state. We’ve already seen that it doesn’t work. Maybe Vince Sheheen will jump onboard the “personal responsibility” bus.

    Spending twice as much to not educate kids in Allendale who will drop out anyway because they lack the necessary foundation is lunacy.
    Far better to give them all a voucher and let that those parents who have the desire to lift their children out of their situation have an opportunity to do so. It can’t be any worse than it already is.

  31. Kathryn Fenner

    Spending twice as much on *schools* in Allendale may not make a huge difference, but spending a lot to help parents with early childhood education, to help the kids who want help—social workers, tutors–you could make difference–but sending the brightest and best to a seg academy fallen on hard times? We’re not talking Heathwood Hall here…..

  32. Barry

    YOu would think Haley would be the first candidate releasing her tax records, and releasing her office emails. As someone that regrets voting for Mark Sanford twice, I can’t vote for a 3rd Mark Sanford term. It’s time to vote for someone that is willing to work with the General Assembly – at least a little.

  33. Doug Ross


    Of course Palin hates teachers. She has yet to have a child graduate from high school. 0-for-2 so far. She’s a loser. Yes, I know she endorsed Haley. My views on Haley didn’t depend on that endorsement.

    John McCain felt she was qualified to be President. That is the real stunner. And The State newspaper thought McCain should be President. Mind boggling.

  34. scout

    Doug, I’ve made a lot of spreadsheets. I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve lived it. There is a lot you assume that may not be true.

    You say you can “look at the data and see what it means” – maybe, but do the numbers mean what you think they do? Perhaps. But please do find out how they are calculated and what is actually being measured. Graduation rates can be calculated many different ways and are not necessarily comparable across states due to the differing methods used – for example, items like the numbers of students that move in and out of the district during the high school years, that graduate in more than 4 years, that drop out but then earn a GED, the number with disabilities who may take longer to graduate or may complete a vocational program rather than receive a standard diploma, and the number who stay in school and work hard but never pass the exit exam all may be counted differently in different states. (Heck, about half the states don’t even require an exit exam – we do). The point is if the official graduation rate is 70%, that doesn’t necessarily mean 30% dropped out of school and became derelicts. The number of students who receive standard diplomas in 4 years does not equate to the number of students that the school system kept engaged in some way, kept working with even if it took more than four years, and who achieved some functional outcome even if it wasn’t a standard diploma. It would be great if every student could get a standard diploma in 4 years but that number alone does not measure the worth of the school system.

    You say, “PASS was implemented for one reason: it was starting to get harder and harder to show any progress for all the time spent in the classroom teaching to the test. When the numbers didn’t look good for Rex, they test was dropped.” This statement shows how little you understand. PASS and PACT measure the same standards – the standards are challenging and have not changed. SC has not lowered it’s standards and neither test is easy. The format changed from primarily short answer to primarily multiple choice in order to facilitate the speed of grading and getting results back to the teachers faster. Teachers do not teach to the test, they teach to the standards, and the tests assess the student’s mastery of the standards. SC still has some of the more challenging curriculum standards in the country, so again your statement here -“as the schools keep lowering the bar and lowering the standards, those with the means to do so will remove their kids.” is wrong in that there has been no lowering of standards.

    In my direct personal experience, I have seen major improvements in literacy instruction over the past 5-6 years as a result of a Reading First Grant, which was one of many across the state – a lot is going on in literacy, though, true, these changes are not affecting graduation rates yet. But still your contention that nothing new is happening is just wrong.

    You say, “Spending twice as much to not educate kids in Allendale who will drop out anyway because they lack the necessary foundation is lunacy. Far better to give them all a voucher and let that those parents who have the desire to lift their children out of their situation have an opportunity to do so. It can’t be any worse than it already is.”

    It’s not lunacy. Anything we can give them can make a difference. These kids are so starved for attention. Anything that increases the ratio of caring adults in their life is not in vain even if just for the possibly fleeting improvement in their quality of life (in my opinion) – I know that won’t satisfy you because it’s not a test score, but research does show that learning is correlated to the quality of the relationship at it’s core. And I’m not sure that it can’t be any worse. I don’t think we are doing a good job measuring what is being accomplished. True, we are not accomplishing enough, but we are accomplishing something. And we could lose even that. Our kids start so far behind that even when teachers incite significant growth, they can still be far from the goal and our tests just say you made it or you didn’t. I wish our measures gave the public more of an appreciation of students’ progress relative to where they started. I believe if vouchers pulled resources out of schools, this progress, inadequate though it is, would be reduced. It could be worse. Also, not sure that a voucher would give an Allendale student any more opportunity as there do not appear to be many private schools there anyway.

  35. Kathryn Fenner

    @Doug Ross–I think we both agree that something different than just spending more money the same way is needed, especially in Allendale. We disagree on what that is.

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