Oh, it’s satire? For a second, I couldn’t tell

Initially, only the use of profanity in this hilarious Tweet tipped me off that it was from The Onion. For a split-second, before the four-letter word fully registered, I had thought it was yet another post from the full-time trashers of public education right here in SC:

The Onion

@TheOnionThe Onion

Department Of Education Study Finds Teaching These Little Shits No Longer Worth It http://onion.com/aBvjLR

Except for that one word, this Tweet (and the Onion piece it links to) was indistinguishable from the unrelenting rain of abuse that our governor’s allies, such as SCRG, send down upon public education — against the very notion of public education — on a regular basis. Seriously, compare that to some of the actual, serious-as-a-crutch Tweets we get from SCRG:



Pickens County School District Saddling Students with Debt: http://bit.ly/aBnTzg
1 hour ago via TweetDeck

Is Your Kid’s Tuition Unconstitutional?http://on.wsj.com/clKY0K (via @WSJ)
12 Nov via TweetDeck

Williamsburg Public Schools: Costly Failure Factories – http://bit.ly/crYvyb#education #sctweets #fb
12 Nov via TweetDeck

Academic Achievement for Black Males a “National Catastrophe”:http://bit.ly/bF0Btw
11 Nov via TweetDeck

Election Results: Parents Excited, Bureaucrats Scared: http://bit.ly/dkhfgF
5 Nov via TweetDeck

More and More Grade Inflation:http://bit.ly/awKzWs
5 Nov via TweetDeck

Waste Rises in Pickens County Schools:http://bit.ly/9EmpDH
27 Oct via TweetDeck

See? All that’s missing is the naughty words.

28 thoughts on “Oh, it’s satire? For a second, I couldn’t tell

  1. Doug Ross

    The truth hurts… but let’s not get caught up in facts because public education is the sacred cow about which you can never say anything bad.

    Bad teachers? NEVER.
    Wasteful spending? DOESN’T HAPPEN.
    Disastrous outcomes? WE NEED MORE MONEY TO FIX IT.
    Give parents choice? YOU’RE A CHILD HATING GREEDY S.O.B.

    I got my property tax bill the other day. Over $1000 just for school bonds. A brick never educated a single student. Neither did a football stadium.

  2. Brad

    Doug, you’ve got it exactly backwards: Public education is the eternal whipping boy about which the people running our state NEVER say anything good. And the closest “praise” our incoming governor has to offer public schools is that HER kids’ schools are “like private schools” — apparently, she feels she needs to apologize, or explain, the fact that she sends her kids to public schools to her base.

    But the really appalling thing is that money keeps flowing into our state (and Nikki’s election ensures that it WILL keep flowing, since Sanford being governor was what attracted the money to start with) to fund organizations that exist only to damn public education.

    You are truly living in a dream world if you think SCRG or Sanford or Haley want to fix any problems in public schools. All they want to do is perpetually denigrate them, causing support for the very notion of public schools to evaporate. It works like this: Keep eroding support so that schools get worse, so that support erodes faster, so that they get even worse (or at least APPARENTLY worse, as test scores go down as the kids from homes with motivated parents are rewarded for abandoning the schools), and eventually you get to the real goal — eliminating the thing that state government spends the most money on.

    Oh, and by the way, Doug… It really ironic that you’re complaining about paying for capital costs in your school system. The REASON you’re complaining about that is because you are no longer taxed via the property tax for supporting actual school operations.

    So are you saying that Act 388 didn’t go far enough, that you won’t be happy until you pay nothing at all for schools, even capital costs?

  3. Doug Ross

    No, Brad, the tax offset for the sales tax was only $300. $1000 – $300 = $700.

    I am complaining specifically about paying for bricks and mortar for new schools and new football stadiums and new administration buildings. The majority of these capital costs are a result of poor planning that allowed growth to occur without any real plan for dealing with it.

    Do we really need state of the art high school football stadiums that are used for dozen home games? Do we really need miles and miles of fences around schools while anyone who wants to walk in and out of any school can do so? Do we need fancy electronic license scanners to scan the id’s of the visitors when anyone who wants to avoid using them can do so (like the kid who raped the girl at Spring Valley HS a month ago)?

    You never quite seem to grasp the fact that saying that spending is too high doesn’t automatically mean someone wants to spend zero. It’s a phony argument. Nobody says spend zero on public education – what those of us who actually pay attention to the spending say is: “If you are going to spend the money, spend it wisely. And if the results are not acceptable, provide the taxpayers with other options.”

    The high school dropout rate is unacceptable. That is the true measure of the system. Taxpayers have the obligation and right to demand fiscal stewardship. Are you opposed to that?

  4. Doug Ross

    And that $300 offset isn’t some gift to me. That $300 is then covered by the money I spend in additional sales taxes. Do you want to prove to me that I’m getting some sort of break? I’d love to see it.

  5. Doug Ross

    One more thing – out of my $2500 property tax bill, the only line I do have a complaint about is the one for the school bonds. It represents 42% of my property taxes. Every other line seems reasonable. $160 for public libraries: a bargain. $250 for trash pickup. No complaints there. Fire, parks, etc. all reasonable.

    In fact, I wouldn’t mind paying the same property tax bill if $500 went to bonds and $500 went to fixing the roads or went to paying teacher salaries. It’s the $1000 for the schools that is excessive and I can see that every time I drive past the architectural wonders that now are the norm for Richland 2.

    Have you taken a ride around Northeast Richland county any time in the past decade to see all the schools that have been built? All because the county council just couldn’t control themselves when they thought of how much revenue all those multi-thousand home developments would bring in. No worries about traffic, finding excellent teachers to staff all those new schools, crime, etc. We’ll just try and hit the stupid taxpayers up for “just a little ol’ penny for the children” later on.

  6. Kathryn "Blue" Fenner

    So, Doug–you live in Blythewood, that historic community that hasn’t had a new school built in, oh, a month…so when you and all your neighbors moved out there, you wanted Richland County to bus your kids into Eau Claire or Keenan or Columbia High?

    How exactly are the school districts going to prohibit people from settling in Blythewood or Pontiac or Chapin?

  7. Juan Caruso

    Doug Russ is correct IMHO, we are wasting money on capital spending and school buses in an age when the majority of students could obtain most of their post-primary education online.

    Sure, we will have a long transition period to get 80% of students enrolled online, but the savings will easily pay for any laggards, who will always be with us, just in smaller numbers.

    Will SC be first to step up to the real education improvement plate? Perhaps resident teachers will be tutoring fewer students in local community centers.

    Once a child can read and learns basic writing and math, programmed learning is better suited to students’ individual abilities than hardbacks.

    I once had an unusual opportunity to participate in programmed learning. Progress is made at one’s own speed. Tests are self-administered, and each wrong answer directs the studend backwards to a specific page until mastery is adequately achieved. And yes, Brad, there were still opportunities to ask the instructor questions, if needed.

    We all want every student to read, write and do maths well, do we not?
    Early grades must take care of those.

    This is the non-union-bound wave of the future in education. SC need not be last because it only thinks in the customary box.

  8. Kathryn "Blue" Fenner

    and Doug– $300 is one percent of how much? Do you really spend that much in South Carolina on taxable goods and services?

  9. kc

    It’s good of you to keep tabs on SCOURGE, but damn, I don’t know how you can stand that barrage of baloney.

  10. Juan Caruso

    “It’s good of you to keep tabs on SCOURGE, but damn, I don’t know how you can stand that barrage of baloney.”

    The days of marginalizing your political foes with baseless and sanctimonious statements are pretty well over for you in SC.

    Try offering some substance, say a paragraph or so of facts, before smugly and arrogantly dismissing opinions with which you just instinctively disagree.

    Yes, critical thinking may be required, and perhaps the very thought is so foreign that it strikes fear in you, but in the end not only will you be better for it, brad’s blog will have a larger audience.

  11. Doug Ross


    My food bill is $150 a week for a family of five. That’s $7500 (1% = $75). My two dogs food cost $100 a month. There’s another $12. We haven’t even started talking about clothes, appliances, restaurant food, books.

    Don’t get me started on totalling it up. I’ll get depressed. Suffice to say that I’m not getting any discount of any type. Just paying it penny by penny instead of once a year.

  12. Joanne

    OK. HOW do counties continue to spend monies on football stadiums? What allows this?

    I’m a teacher. I want to know as well. Who’s in charge? It’s not teachers, so don’t blame us.

    Who is instrumental in having the stadia built? Is it really “education”?

  13. Steve Gordy

    In response to Juan Caruso, who apparently expects technology to be the salvation of education: No learning software now available can listen to a student’s attempts to explain his/her answers on a test or exercise AND then explain why the answer is wrong; nor can software perceive problems that don’t appear on the surface. SC schools are “union-bound?” Give me a break! This isn’t Philadelphia or Detroit.

  14. Abba

    It sounds as though Doug is blaming the school system and its “disastrous outcomes” (his term) for population growth over which it had no control. In fact, however, the better job a school district does, the more new students it attracts. But as Doug sees it, most of the capital costs which are showing up on his property tax bill and for which he blames the school district “are a result of poor planning that allowed growth to occur without any real plan for dealing with it.” That blame doesn’t belong to the schools; it belongs to the counties and the State. And if you want your property taxes to go toward teachers’ salaries, then get the General Assembly and the Governor to repeal their Act 388 which prohibits residential property taxes from being used for school operating costs, including teachers’ salaries. Direct your anger and discontent at the culprits who created this situation, the General Assembly and the Governor. Unfortunately, SC just returned those culprits, or their look-alikes, to office, so we’ll have to deal with their short-sightedness for many more years. They seem incapable of seeing beyond the next election.

  15. Mark Stewart

    Juan’s proposal for online elementary education is just about the most depressing thing I have read on this blog.

    A minimally adequate education? Not even that.

    I don’t want to see football stadiums at every high school, nor do I want to see 100 acre campuses. However, I do believe that architecture matters. So do – even more so – libraries, music and art programs, language classes, physical education, sports teams and extracurricular activities. Our schools and our support of them should convey to the next generation that we value them and want to provide all the necessary tools to achieve success. And tomorrows success will be much more challenging than today’s and even more so than yesterday’s needs.

    Getting rid of schools themselves is the solution? I would rather see a repeal of Act 388 with a continuation of the sales tax than continue to destroy our state’s future. Too many people are just plain selfish: Nothing is certain but death and taxes – and some governmental waste. But look at the alternative.

    Widespread quality education brings economic and social prosperity. End of story.

  16. Doug Ross


    The problem is that if Act 388 is repealed, then we’ll have both increasing school costs and increasing capital costs.

    What we DO need is for the legislature to repeal any laws that prevent counties from implementing impact fees on new development. Richland 2 would not have the problems it has had every new home in the late 90’s thru mid-2000’s required an impact fee of $5K-$10K depending on the size of the home. Had that been allowed and the money went directly to infrastructure, the issues we have would be much less of a problem. Fewer homes would have been built and those that were built would have contributed to the costs of new schools, roads.

    But the big home builders are key political lobbyists in this state and will never allow the impact fees to happen.

  17. Doug Ross


    The decisions on building schools and stadiums (sp) come from the district administration and school boards working very closely with the school construction companies. In fact, Richland 2 was paying MB Kahn construction to perform the studies for where schools would be built, when they would be built, and how much they would cost. Nice inside information to have – especially when you’re getting paid tax dollars to provide it.

  18. Doug Ross


    ” Widespread quality education brings economic and social prosperity.”

    No question. But there is no evidence pre-Act 388 and post-Act 388 that quality education is related to how much money is spent. No amount of education spending will fix the social issues that create the greatest barriers to providing everyone a good education.

  19. Kathryn "Blue" Fenner

    Well, I have never had a child in public, or private, schools, but I’m all for more money for schools!

    An educated public is imperative for a quality democracy and a quality economy.

  20. Barry

    I am no fan of fancy stadiums.

    I have no problem with some regulations on building athletic facilities.

  21. Mark Stewart


    So you agree that we have serious social problems that need to be addressed. One of the main ways is through education. That’s probably more “cost-effective” over time than spending more widely on other social problems. Sad that the world’s like that – even sadder that South Carolina remains as she is.

    Let’s at least do what we can for the children and provide a better achievement platform for their future. Leaving a legacy of a stronger educational system and a more progressive governmental institution would seem to me to be the two highest priorities that we should all take on.

  22. Doug Ross


    I’ve only lived in Northeast Columbia since 1990 but I can tell you that what started soon after that with the development of The Summit on Clemson Road changed Richland County forever. The Summit resulted in the creation of a new high school, a new middle school, and multiple elementary schools in a very short period of time. Every new school needs 50-100 teachers. There aren’t that many good ones in to be found so quickly (particularly when you cannot get rid of the bad ones — yes, shockingly there are bad teachers).

    Had every home in the Summit required a $10K impact fee, we would have seen at least one elementary school and one middle school paid for by the people who benefit from them while the rest of the impact would be shared by the other residents. Seems fair to me.

  23. Abba

    @Doug – “there is no evidence pre-Act 388 and post-Act 388 that quality education is related to how much money is spent.”

    First, I do not believe anyone has analyzed the specific effect of Act 388 on the quality of education. Act 388 was not a quality education initiative. Act 388 was simply a tax-shifting device, shifting the tax burden for operating schools from homeowners to the sales tax. It backfired when the economic downturn blew a hole in sales tax collections.

    More to the point, it is not a question of how much money is spent; it’s a question of how money is spent. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but you really have to peel the layers of the onion back to see precisely how the General Assembly, through legislative mandates, requires the money to be spent. You will not like what you find there.

    Unquestionably, “social issues” affect what goes on in classrooms. But children do not get to pick their parents or their living situations. Would you simply give up on those whose social issues create barriers to learning? We know how to counteract some of those adverse circumstances, but that takes a commitment of extra time, extra support, superior quality teachers, none of which come free. Nevertheless, smart investments in education yield good returns; this is a far different thing from “throwing money” at schools.

  24. Juan Caruso

    Mark Stewart,
    “Juan’s proposal for online elementary education is just about the most depressing thing I have read on this blog.”

    It ought to be as it is NOT what I said. To wit: “…the majority of students could obtain most of their post-primary education online.”

    Since when has Post primary meant elementary?

  25. Mark Stewart


    So are we to eject kids from school at 6th grade or 8th grade then? My point still stands.

    Sorry, but I’m just stunned by this train of thought.

  26. Mark Stewart


    And The Summit was built because people like you were moving out to the area. So you and your family were also placing an incremental strain on the then-existing schools just as your follow-on neighbors did.

    My point is just where does it end?

    Or do we do as we did with Act 388 and say everyone moving in the future will pay – but not us who stay put? Because that is just such a poorly thought out model that only leads to massive imbalances in cost allocations between otherwise similar neighbors.

  27. Shannon aka Scout

    To be terribly technical about it Juan, Primary school is often considered K-2, and Elementary school is K-5, so “since when does post-primary mean elementary?” answer: 3rd – 5th.

    But anyway Mark’s point does stand. I need to get out my language skills soapbox for a little while and stand on it just a little bit. What really underlies the crux of the education problem in this state – really what it all comes down to – is a language skills deficit. Everything is built on language skills and our babies start out behind. Poverty and cultural issues converge to impact language skills negatively. Really and truly it comes down to having conversations with children. For whatever reason, quality conversations with young children are not happening like they should – either conversation isn’t valued or people don’t know how because they didn’t experience it or people are just too busy working 3 jobs to do it – take your pick – our kids are behind because they don’t have enough true real quality conversations early on. The entire curriculum is built on language skills, which by and large come from real life interacting with other human beings using language.

    Which is something that teachers do with children every day. And which they need to do even earlier…like for example in, oh I don’t know, universal 4k programs. But anyway, I digress….

    Juan, you want to take our children and further deprive them of the real life human interactions that build language, social, and interpersonal skills? I do not see anything coming from that but disaster. I’m sure employers will welcome a parade of graduates who have no experience actually interacting with others.

    I must agree with Mark and Steve. It is a really bad idea.

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