I am writing to implore every teacher and parent in Pickens County to vote in the Republican primaries on June 10. In 2012, only about 15% of us voted, thus turning up the volume for the 200 or so shooters and shakers and videomakers called “Teapublicans” among us. Since then, they have been loud and proud amplifiers of Teapublican clubs such as the local Taxpayer’s Association and the Republican Liberty Caucus, both of whom criticize “regular” Republicans.
When the school district of Pickens County learned its accreditation was in jeopardy, the Teapublican representing Pickens County on the Education Oversight Committee as well as our Teapublican chairman of the SDPC board of trustees called the accrediting agency, “a joke”.
They even labeled parents and educators advocating for better board governance as “liberals”. Today, the Teapublican “darling” running for SC House District 4 believes “public education is a socialist institution”.
Not all Teapublican candidates are so blatant with their criticism of public education. The Teapublican candidates in District 3 and District 5 support one of the most lenient virtual charter school laws in the country, encouraging private “education managers” to court our state Department of Ed for contracts and target our children with multimillion dollar ad campaigns praising the benefits of learning at home.
Unlike strictly regulated homeschool associations, Virtual Charter Schools eliminate the parent’s responsibility as well as “seattime” requirements for the students. The Virtual Charter Schools are completely autonomous and their decisions are guided by an international conglomeration of stakeholders. Teapublicans say, “Let the free market decide who gets a good education. If parents don’t like it, they can shop around”.
Teapublicans are on the ballot for virtually every race in the upcoming election on June 10.
In Pickens County, we have a phenomenal superintendent, Danny Merck, who understands the opposition our public schools are facing. Our board of trustees is making a comeback. We have precious teachers, devoted stakeholders and talented, eager students.
In these June primaries, let’s stand united and send a strong message to the Teapublicans: We love America and in Pickens County, We Believe in Public Education!