State Education Superintendent Mick Zais soon might realize his ultimate goal of gutting South Carolina public education like a fish. Zais is proposing changes to Regulation 43-205, “Administrative and Professional Personnel Qualifications, Duties, and Workloads,” which regulates class size, what personnel are authorized in the schools, work hours for teachers, what core subjects are and teacher and administrator qualifications.
The proposed changes do away with all of the above.
Currently, a regular classroom is limited to a maximum of 35 students. Under the proposed rules, all caps on class size are stricken out. There is nothing to prevent 50 students in your child’s first grade class.
Music and P.E. classes may have 80 or 90 students.
Teachers will have no planning period, and they can be worked unlimited hours.
The new rules would do away with many guidance counselors and librarians; small schools would not have them. Aids also are cut out.
Schools with fewer than 400 students are authorized only a part-time principal and no assistant.
The definition of core subject areas is completely nullified. There is no core subject designation whatsoever.
Certification requirements for teachers are all but erased. The only reference to a certification requirement is that districts will have to file a waiver form if they want to hire an uncertified teacher.
Zais will disguise his intent by saying that the new rules are meant only to give districts more flexibility. He will say that districts will be able to hire teachers and administrators, structure class sizes and set teacher hours any way they choose. This is a smokescreen for the next step, where a radical Legislature will decide that those positions are not required, so they will cut funding accordingly.
Zais and his allies in the Legislature have already laid the groundwork for killing off public schools while covering their tracks. For example, they make a point of demanding “top talent” in South Carolina classrooms while cutting and eroding teacher salaries to the point where “top talent” would be insane to join the profession.
Undoubtedly, some guy from York will write the paper and claim I don’t love God because I wrote this. Still others will take the incomprehensible position that this will “improve” education. They will point to charter schools, home schooling and vouchers for private schools.
The truth is that charter schools aren’t doing any better – and in some cases worse – than public schools. Home schooling is even more of a mixed bag with a few home schools doing an excellent job but others failing miserably.
I have seen dozens of home-schooled kids return to the public sector years behind their peers academically. Vouchers do not cover the cost for good private schools and, with no state or federal oversight, the quality of a private school is strictly “buyer beware.”
Zais ran for office on a ticket to gut public schools and he is hellbent to do that before he is voted out.
Curtis LeMay, who teaches art classes at Lewisville middle and high schools in Chester County, is a resident of Rock Hill.