For several years now, South Carolina has been consistently ranked at the bottom of education. Public schools have worked hard and made a herculean effort to bridge learning experiences for students, and Teacher Exodus has forced the state to consider what it can do to stop the bleeding.
That’s what South Carolina superintendent candidates Lisa Ellis and Ellen Weaver faced when they headed Wednesday into a debate that dove into the state’s ailing public education system to see how both candidates would deal with issues related to education funding, teacher pay, school district consolidation, assessments, and cultural warfare issues such as the presence of critical gender theory in schools and “pornographic material” in libraries.
Elias, representing a fusion of candidates and the Democratic Party as well as the Alliance Party, is a teacher at Blythewood High School and the grassroots advocacy group, SC for Ed. Meanwhile, Weaver, the Republican candidate, currently heads the Palmetto Promise Institute, a non-profit research-based organization and has served as the business representative on the Education Oversight Committee.
For the most part, the views of Ellis and Weaver are diametrically opposed. On the use of rhetoric, the cost and energy perspective.
Here are the key takeaways from the discussion:
Questions about industry
During his opening remarks, Elias emphasized his 22-year experience as a teacher and director of student activities as well as his professional training, which includes two master’s degrees. Meanwhile, Weaver, whose master’s degree has been at the center of controversy, looks to his managerial experience, relationships with lawmakers at the State House and said he has the ability to work with the General Assembly.
More:SC Superintendent’s Race: Business Donors, Teacher Movements, and the Fortunes of Public Schools
“This office is a multibillion dollar state agency with over 1,000 employees,” he said. “And as a leader, the experience I’ve had in managing large budgets and staffs, founding a non-profit and serving on the Education Oversight Committee has given me a front seat to understanding the challenges our education system will face,” he said.
Meanwhile, Elias said that she was a teacher and that teachers were natural problem solvers. “When I think about what I do every day at school for my students. It’s one where we talk about effective communication, critical thinking and all the important things that come with it,” Elias said, adding that as director of student activities, he handled the issues and he saw the decision that the decisions in the statehouse were not helping the students and teachers in the classrooms.
Teachers, their salaries and whether the public education system is underfunded or underfunded?
There, teacher retention is a huge issue. To combat this, the General Assembly raised the minimum wage for teachers from $36,000 to $40,000.
Both candidates agree that it is not enough and teachers need better pay and working conditions.
Elias said lawmakers need to look beyond the traditional lens of the education system. In order to look at the certifications and industry standards needed to assess teacher pay. “We’re no longer competing against other educations. We’re competing against all the businesses that are out there,” Elias said.
“Like a teacher who majors in chemistry, he can go and be a chemistry teacher, or he can go and work for a pharmaceutical company and do it twice,” he said. “From now on you have to look at attracting the best and brightest to pay for it.”
Elias said the General Assembly had an opportunity to do so with surplus funding, but they chose not to.
When it was his turn, Weaver said he saw the wage scale rise eastward, and the best thing he could do was find savings in the economy.
The difference was in the mission when it came to funding. Elias said the public education system has been underfunded since 2008 and that the outcry to support the system has long been ignored, Weaver said it was a “story” of education underfunding. Instead, Weaver said, the system is “disorganized” and hearing and seeing what services are cut could “return money to classrooms.”
Weaver also said there is a need to remove red tape and bureaucracy to improve the working conditions of teachers. Elias said the Education Oversight Committee, of which Weaver is a part, is an arm of the bureaucracy that wanted additional teachers to be removed with Weaver red tape. Weaver, who shares powerful connections about the state of the nation’s debt, was applauded. various works by Gov. Henry McMaster and General this year. He said schools need better mental health equipment in schools and worked in the state.
Weaver also criticized Gov. Henry McMaster’s plan to revamp elementary schools for the sake of interest tests is not as fast as they have been elsewhere in the country, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress.
Elias complained that it was the teachers and public schools that were responsible for the state high school testing not falling as much as in other parts of the nation.
Weaver went after Ellis on the COVID-19 policies, referring to Ellis as someone who was driven by a “far-left union”. He said that Ellis had advised schools not to open early because of “political science” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Elias scoffed and said the weaver kept the word “unions” around, since there is no union in the state of South Carolina. He said his help came mostly from his teachers. “Yes, you can look at all the national politics around. But when you throw out the rhetoric, it’s our students who lose their hand,” Elias said.
Party games, party games, book bans and culture wars
Are board games a party?
Weaver was not so adamant about this answer, saying that if that is what the state law intends, he would be OK with it. He said that there is a need for transparency and correct information to be attached to the candidate. Meanwhile, Elias emphasized that the political parties had no role in the education policy, since the biggest victims of the political struggle were the students.
When asked about critical theory of race and the recent calls for book bans, Elias said that these were issues that were not real problems. CRT, he said, applies a legal lens to analyze systemic oppression in government structures. But that lens is not in the education standards of the state.
Weaver, much like many GOP candidates, said CRT is a catchall phrase for “woke”, leftist ideology, bans on books, Weaver said many are “inconvenient”, pornographic books should not be available for use in school libraries. taxpayer dollar
Several of these books that Weaver had an LGBTQ character in them.
“I would like to know what books the students are forced to read,” Elias said in his response. “Because the teacher, who has taught Latin for many years, many years, our students have always chosen and what they wanted to read. This year, how teaching has evolved, because students and teachers know that students learn best when they see themselves reflected in school. .
Go, then, and ban the books and remove the rights of the citizen, he said. “Because if we talk about banning books and libraries, not everyone has to check out that book. This is a beautiful choice, but to sit there and infringe on my right because of your opinions is really unacceptable and does not allow our students. all education.”