Five staunch conservatives determined to show their support for Superintendent of the State Dept. of Education Mick Zais drove to Columbia for the state school board meeting.
Zais was easily elected on a platform of refusing federal funding because of the many federal mandates attached. Today South Carolina is the only state that has not applied for the money. About 50 people picketed outside the office building Monday, angry that South Carolina would not share in the extra $$$ even though we have contributed to it through taxes.
Two of us (Bill Bates from the Goose Creek 9.12 and myself) spoke of the support Dr. Zais has from the LowCountry, Goose Creek and Mt. Pleasant 9/12 Projects as well as the Charleston Tea Party, and thanked him for standing on his principles as he represents us.
Once the board meeting began, however, it was quickly clear that the board was determined to chastise Dr. Zais. Board member Tim Moore (Aiken) proposed an amendment that will require Dr. Zais to actively search for all outside sources of funding, apply for them, and give the board a regular accounting of his actions toward this end. This was passed.
Phillip Bowers (Seneca) was the only board member (out of 13) who seemed supportive of the Superintendent. He asked the board to ask themselves whether a different person would be treated in the same way. He suggested that this was a personal reprimand, and the 5 of us who were watching and really knew nothing about anyone’s backgrounds or politics had to agree that it certainly appeared so.
By the end of the afternoon, we witnessed many proposals put on the floor for approval; Mr. Bowers suggested amendments that seemed to be sensible to us, and no one would even second them so the amendments could be discussed. This is clearly a board with problems.
During second reading for approval of the state standards for social studies, Mr. Bowers asked forcefully that the many references to global warming be modified so that it does not read as though global warming is an accepted fact. There are as many experts who do not believe in global warming as there are those who do, he said.
Bowers also stated that the references that say that the “Constitution is evolving” be stricken, since the Constitution has not changed in 200 years. Chairman Dr. Gerrita Postlewait noted that the Constitution has been amended. However, Bowers is correct; the Constitution does not evolve.
We intend to go back next month and speak out on these 2 issues, although I have to say, I felt the negativity in the room, both to ourselves and to Mr. Bowers. Speaking to him afterwards, Bowers said that he is a Republican in a room full of Democrats in spite of this being a Republican state. Normally, he said, he has 2 other board members who tend to agree with him. One of them is our own representative, Larry Kabrovsky, who unfortunately was not there.
In a side note, the board agreed to change references from mentally challenged to intellectually challenged. Another fine example of time and probably money wasted on a politically correct non-issue.
–Linda, Aug. 18, 2011