opinionPlease keep Open Letters focused on local topics and to no more than 650 words. Letters are edited for grammar, and may be edited for objectionable content. Opinions and disagreements are welcome, personal attacks against specific individuals are not. Every attempt is made to print letters in the order they are received. Please include your name, town and phone number with your submission. Phone numbers will not be published.

Only one candidate qualified for State Superintendent of Education

 

On Tuesday, June 24th voters will have the opportunity to select the Republican candidate for the office of State Superintendent of Education. In my opinion that is one of the most important choices that we have to make at the polls that day. The choice to be made is between Molly Spearman and Sally Atwater, six other hopefuls were eliminated in the primary election after a campaign that at times seemed like a single issue (Common Core State Standards) matter. Although the Common Core may deserve some measure of attention no candidate should be defined by that single issue—neither Ms. Spearman nor Ms. Atwater. The responsibilities of the State Superintendent go far beyond the single issue of the Common Core.

The Department of Education is responsible for administering a multitude of state and federally mandated programs that for the current fiscal year involves a staff of 570 and a budget of approximately of $3.8 billion. A large portion of the budget consists of “flow-through” monies to school districts.

In view of the size of the agency and the number of programs which it administers, it should be clear that in addition to being an experienced and knowledgeable educator the State Superintendent should be an experienced administrator. Of the two candidates, Ms. Spearman appears to be the only one that satisfies both criteria. She has many years of teaching experience, service as an assistant principal, was Deputy State Superintendent for Governmental Relations in the Department of Education, and for the past nine (9) years has served as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators—an organization of over 3,000 members.

Although Ms. Atwater has some experience as a teacher and may be a nice person, I am not aware of any of her experiences that could equip her to effectively administer an agency as large and as complex as the Department of Education.

 

Paul Sandifer

Chapin

 

Support Sally Atwater June 24

 

South Carolina voters have a very distinct choice ahead of them in the runoff on June 24th.

Voters can choose to support Sally Atwater, a life-long Republican who has a Masters degree in Special Education from Winthrop University. This is someone who has over 12 years experience in the classroom as a Special Needs teacher in mostly rural counties in South Carolina. A person who lost her husband to brain cancer in 1991 and was forced to raise their three daughters all by herself. A woman that was appointed to high level federal government positions by President Reagan, President George HW Bush and President George W. Bush. Or voters can choose Molly Spearman….

Molly Spearman can be described as a flip flop genius. She started out as a Democrat, then became a Republican, switched back to the Democrat party to work for Obama appointee Inez Tenenbaum and now claims she is a Republican again.

Molly has ardently fought against school choice at every turn. While we fight the federal government’s overreach, Spearman’s state association she runs (School Administrators), which is largely funded by school districts with our tax dollars, actively supports common core standards and other government snares. (Molly actually filed a lawsuit forcing Mark Sanford to take Obama’s stimulus money.) And, as director of her association, she continues to push for more tax increases. Molly Spearman even kept records from the public related to her association’s activities, which are to be available to the public under SCFOIA Act, until the Supreme Court ruled against her. (Rocky Disabato vs SC Association of School Administrators)

So, regardless of where you stood in the primary, the choice is now crystal clear. You can vote for Sally Atwater, an advocate for taxpayers and students and who believes our resources should be used to directly impact children in the classroom or Molly Spearman, a political chameleon who has been the most powerful opponent of school choice.

Sally Atwater will support school choice and represent the conservative core education principles we all care about. Please join me and so many others in voting for Sally Atwater on Tuesday, June 24th!

 

Sincerely,

Kim Murphy

Chapin

Acts Metro – Empowering District 5 families in crisis

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” If this is true, then why do we continue to struggle with issues related to poverty and dependence?

There are many organizations that assist families in crisis in our community with basic needs like shelter, food and clothing. There are others that help with bills, employment, health care, education, child care, etc. Yet the poverty rates in our area are increasing. Why? Because all the fishing poles, bait and fishing classes in the world aren’t enough if these resources and skills are never applied.

That’s where Acts Metro comes in. Application is our specialty. Working with social workers in the Lexington/ Richland 5 schools, Acts Metro pairs families in crisis with trained mentors who walk with them for a year. We assist with basic needs, but we also empower them socially, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s our goal that through the influence of their mentor, the individualized action plans they make every 60 days and a new community of support, that our families will break through the barrier of despair and dependence to a life of hope and self-sufficiency.

Empowering long term change is not a quick or simple process. Yet we have seen many of our families make life transforming, trajectory altering changes during their year in Acts Metro. We’ve had families that have moved from homelessness to a stable living environment; from joblessness to a career; from financial crisis to fiscal stability; from standing alone to being surrounded by a caring community and from emotional despair to enduring hope.

These are such life altering changes that we’re seeing parents who came through Acts Metro volunteering to be mentors. Once you’ve been taught how to fish, you can’t help but want to teach others!

To contribute to this cause call me at 401-663-4284.

Sincerely,

Mark Pouliot

What’s In A Name?

Dr. Jed N. Snyder,
President, Jesus Every Day Ministries, Inc.
www.jedministries.com,
It has been passed along to me that my name was deliberately selected by my mother. She had given birth to Joseph, John, Joy, Faith and Hope and I was about to be born. That was long before the days of ultra-sound technology. She was expecting a girl and planned to name her “Charity.” But I am a boy, and a boy could not be satisfactorily called “Love.” So the search was on for a name that meant “love” but could be used for a boy. I never heard the details, but somehow she came across the name in the Old Testament, “Jedidiah.” Jedidiah means “beloved of Jehovah.” For some unknown reason she shortened that great name to “Jedy.”
I was Jedy until I became a teen and could dictate, more or less, how I was to be called. Then I became “Jed.” However, at 21 I needed a passport and “low and behold” the physician who assisted my mother had never recorded my birth. So, somehow, I was able to track him down (he had moved from Pennsylvania to California) and get him to finally record my birth. I then named myself the name which he placed on the “duplicate” birth certificate. I took my full Biblical name, Jedidiah, and added my father’s middle name thus having for the first time a complete name and one that I chose for myself.
While my naming process is unique, it also does draw our attention to the name of Jesus Christ. “…the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
What a name! “God with us!” Now there is a name with meaningful content for all of us.
Happy thinking about names.