on January 29, 2010 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)
Connelly tries to dispel school choice misconceptions at meeting
SENECA – Chad Connelly, a Clemson graduate serving as the State Director for South Carolinians for Responsible Government, addressed a gathering of the nascent Conservatives Taking America Back group Thursday night at Oconee Christian Academy.
Connelly used his time to discuss the matter of school choice, namely, the South Carolina Education Opportunity Act that’s currently before the South Carolina General Assembly.
The group was formed by Ed Rumsey and Polly Nicolay shortly after they lost their respective races for a seat in the House and Senate in 2008. They discovered they shared similar views on social and fiscal conservatism in the midst of their campaigns, Nicolay said.
Conservatives Taking America Back’s meeting marked its one year anniversary with Thurday’s meeting, and also devoted the time to kick off a “Traditional Values in Education” campaign.
Connelly was joined by guest speakers Jeff Duncan and Richard Cash, two candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives third district seat.
But it was Connelly and Rumsey who dominated the first one and a half hours of the meeting, discussing the importance of school choice.
Connelly, a staunch supporter of Rumsey’s 2008 campaign, told an audience of several dozen people that the truth about the South Carolina Education Opportunity Act was being distorted. It is not, Connelly said, a “voucher” bill that funnels tax dollars into direct payments to private schools.
Connelly contrasted the lack of competition in South Carolina’s struggling education system, which consistently ranks near the bottom of the country in every standardized test score, to Drew Brees and Peyton Manning going into the Super Bowl.
“They want to play the best, because they’re not scared of competition,” he said. “Not in public education, though.”
Competition could occur, he argued, through the bill, which would allow tax credits to be claimed by anyone filing a state tax return paying any portion of a student’s tuition to a private school. Public school students who transfer to another public school or to a private school would be eligible to receive a scholarship or a tax credit under the plan. Parents of students attending an average public or private school would receive 50 percent of the average state per student spending for that local district in tax credit.
Nicolay took the time to address her concern for the lack of Christian influence in the public school system, saying the continued separation of church and state could result in a future “society of atheists.”