Ads Brag About SC’s ‘Dedication To Education.’ Why Is SC Misleading Citizens?

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LETTER TO THE STATE EDITORIAL BOARD

A state-funded TV marketing campaign titled, “A Dedication to Education” implies that our state — not just our teachers, our parents and our students, but, rather, our elected officials — has been dedicated to public education.

Really? A state that has underfunded public education for years (spending less than even the Legislature’s self-imposed minimum). A state that has ignored the gross inequities of educational opportunities for generations? A state that helped create an unparalleled teacher shortage?

Perhaps the timing of this promotional effort has something to do with our rapidly approaching 2018 elections. If so, then we could soon see even more finely tuned marketing campaigns rolling across our television screens.

Maybe the next one we see will be “Concern for Corrections” — A tribute to our state’s support for and oversight of South Carolina’s prison system.

Or “Respect for Roads” — A tribute to South Carolina’s maintenance of and funding for our critical roads and highways.

How about “Regard for Ratepayers” – A tribute to our Legislature’s oversight of our electric utilities on behalf of ratepayers?

Or perhaps “Compassion for Children” — A tribute to our state’s attentiveness to the caseloads and compensation of its social workers.

And this could be just the beginning.

When will we see “Saving our Shoreline” — An overview of the many programs put in place to protect South Carolina’s coast from environmental threats such as oil pollution, plastic trash, storm erosion and the rising sea?

And why not “Securing Our State Employees” — A summary of the concerted efforts to recruit, reward and retain South Carolina’s public servants?

Of course, all of these persuasion packages have one primary purpose: to ensure that our state’s elected incumbents are allowed to stay in office. A satisfied citizen is a complacent voter. And even though a rigged system has ensured that many incumbents will have little or no competition in November, one can never be too careful.

After all, some people may actually start connecting the dots. If so, an even more direct marketing campaign might be called for: “Preserving Career Politicians” — The persuasive arguments for ensuring that elected officials have lengthy, uninterrupted careers.

Stay tuned.

JIM REX

WINNSBORO

Dr. Rex is a former SC education superintendent. The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad.

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