By Kelly Payne
I am a mother, a teacher and a conservative American. Over my 15 years as a teacher, and the past several months as your candidate for State Superintendent of Education, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand how our Constitution, conservative principles, and tax dollars are fairing in the public education system. Our Founding Fathers knew that freedom depends on proper restraint against the accumulation of power. Today we are gathering all over the state and across the country because that system of restraints has been ignored. Our government has invaded the constitutional borders of our state and local communities and polluted our schools, thus creating a centralized authority that is out of touch with America and out of control.
Now, from what I am witnessing today, and hearing as I travel up and down the state, we are no longer going to allow our freedoms to vanish into the political atmosphere through out of control government bureaucracies. For years we have allowed the government to claim responsibility for educating our children, and last time I checked, that was unconstitutional. Education is one of the powers reserved to the States by the Tenth Amendment. We have allowed federal and state bureaucracies to flood our public school system as if the citizens of South Carolina and our local communities are not competent enough to educate our own children. Since when did a group of politicians become qualified to tell our teachers and students how to teach and what to think?
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. HOW MUCH LONGER WILL WE ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN?
It is no longer acceptable to simply highlight the recklessness of our out of control government or play the political blame game. That approach will not fix our broken system. We do not need education reform, because reform is a mere change of an existing system and the existing system is eternally flawed. What we need is a TRANSFORMATION to an educational system that is guided by the Constitution and individual liberties.
We all agree that education is one of the most vital issues facing our Nation. However, my view regarding the nature of the problem is far different from my Republican and Democrat opponents. The status quo administrators in this race define the education dilemma in terms of a lack of resources. Not enough funding is getting to the classroom, too many teachers are being let go because of economic hardships, or more state policies are needed to reform education.
I do not classify the problems of our public education system with a lack of resources, but with a lack of quality and standards of achievement. My opponents are looking to the State House for resources and new policies. They are committed to working with the Legislature to regain control of the system. It is that status quo, ineffective strategy that has gotten us into this mess. While my opponents will promise substantial activity, I can offer an opportunity for real progress. I am committed to working with local school boards, superintendents, teachers, parents and individual citizens to Transform Education Through Achievement!
I know firsthand the problems facing our public school system and they are enormous. Our children are not learning how to think, but are being told what to think. The public education system is more concerned with how things are taught and less focused on the substance of what is being taught. Our teachers are forced to comply with bureaucratic standards that were created by politicians that put parameters on how and what a child can learn. Our ability to overcome this dilemma will define the future of this Republic.
As your State Superintendent of Education, I will not look to the State House for a solution. More government is the problem. It is not the government’s job to educate our children that is our responsibility. It is time to remove politics from education. It is time to put OUR KIDS FIRST. It is time to eliminate the bureaucratic handcuffs limiting our how our teachers and students achieve. It is time to teach American History and the Constitution. It is time to master the fundamentals by creating a more personalized learning system. It is time to transform education through achievement.
This November there exists a window of opportunity to restore our Republic. I am not interested in empowering the public education system, but committed to weakening its bureaucratic stranglehold on our children’s future by returning control to local schools and individuals. I will not be working with the Legislature to pass new laws or incorporate new policies, but rather encourage them to eliminate current ineffective programs and policies that impose unwarranted burdens on our schools.
No single challenge that we are facing today is more crucial to restoring our Republic and advancing our freedoms than the transformation of our education system.