South Carolinians of good will need to know what Superintendent of Education, Dr. Mick Zais, is facing as he boldly attempts to carry out the mandate given to him by voters to improve education in South Carolina public schools. The Public Affairs Office of the SC Department of Education released the following information:
South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais issued the following statement after attending an event at Scott’s Branch High School in Summerton, South Carolina, where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a public appearance.
After the event a secret meeting, organized by South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn and the South Carolina School Administrators Association, was held to lobby Secretary Duncan against South Carolina’s request for flexibility from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, commonly called the NCLB waiver. Others in attendance included former U.S. Secretary of Education and former South Carolina Governor Richard W. Riley, SCASA Executive Director Molly Spearman, and several hand-picked South Carolina district superintendents. Dr. Zais walked into the secret meeting, which he was not invited to attend, addressed the attendees and answered their questions. Dr. Zais issued the following statement after the secret meeting.
Dr. Zais said, “The South Carolina Department of Education set an unprecedented level of transparency and public engagement during the NCLB wavier process. The public comment period began on December 16, 2011 and lasted until February 1, 2012, and we received and reviewed approximately 1,100 public comments. We held 22 public meetings including a statewide virtual meeting throughout the state. However, Congressman Clyburn did not attend any of these community stakeholder meetings and few district superintendents did as well.”
Zais continued, “Rather than engaging the public in the sunshine, the education establishment is trying to cloak its activities in secret. This goes against the transparency Secretary Duncan has required as part of the waiver process. I hope he will reject today’s political stunt by Congressman Clyburn and the education establishment, and give South Carolina’s NCLB waiver a fair review.”
The Nerve reported last month that The South Carolina Association of School Administrators is a registered lobbyist principal and holds annual breakfasts for lawmakers in Columbia. The Nerve reported that last year'’ breakfast was not reported on the organization's disclosure form. The Nerve report quoted Cathy Hazelwood, chief attorney for the Ethics Commission, saying the SCASA “did not properly fill out the ethics disclosure form.”
Publishers note: Readers are encouraged to commend Dr. Zais for the strong stand he is taking on behalf of the parents and students of South Carolina. The liberal media will not help. He is the first Superintendent to challenge the NEA/Democrat dominated education establishment. What a difference it would make if there were a few good men like him in the General Assembly.