School Choice killed with only 5 total votes?

There were two things today that surprised me (and one is sure to get main stream media press) so I figured I’d write about my Education and Public Works K-12 Subcommittee Hearing today and the surprise there.

For four years we’ve debated School Choice in South Carolina and I’m starting to think this might just be the “third rail” of state government.

When I say School Choice, don’t just assume the “Vouchers/PPIC” version of choice which often gets all the press. We’ve had Public School Choice versions as well ( and actually approved a House version last year but then the Governor vetoed it and the veto was sustained).

I’ll admit I don’t know if either one is the “silver bullet” to fix what ails us but I do know we need to at least TRY something, anything. When you’re at the bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up!

Today, Public School Choice came up again (subcommittee) and for the life of me, I don’t know how we (elected officials) can sit back and do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. That’s the definition of insanity.

That’s exactly what we did today. The subcommittee adjourned debate (which in political terms usually means “killed the bill). Rather than send the bill to the full Education and Public Works Committee tomorrow, only five subcommittee members voted on the bill.

I often say Education shouldn’t have an “R” or a “D” beside it and that’s because…it shouldn’t. Unfortunately, there appears to be two camps around here…those that support Public Choice only….and those that support Private Choice/Vouchers only.

Me? I support giving our kids any option for a chance to TRY something different in order to keep from dropping out, help them graduate, maybe even do better on the SAT, and help pull us out of the national cellar in educational rankings.

We heard various reasons for defeating the bill today but the one that bothered me most was that there was a fear that “(the pro Voucher Crowd) would try to ammend it with tax credits” for their version.

What? We’re afraid to pass bills because we’re afraid of what amendments might come up?

We’re afraid to support Public School Choice because Private School Choice might be debated?

We’re afraid to take up this “third rail” because of primaries and general elections this year?

Those opinions really bothered me. Well, actually the other news today bothered me more but at least we might can fix that tomorrow…anyway….

Let’s have the debate on the floor (again) so that our state can see that we, as elected officials, are aware changes should be made and let’s try to come together as to what those changes should be. We can’t keep avoiding the issue and/or not agreeing to do SOMETHING.

Here’s the kicker today…..the bill was the State Superintendent of Education’s bill (D) …..sponsored by a (R)Republican….approved by the State Department of Education (D) who also spoke at the subcommittee and yet it was only one person (Republican – me) who voted in favor of sending to full committee.