May 30 2007
H. 3124 is Jim Rex’s plan for open enrollment. I agree with the concept, but have a problem with the notion that this is being referred to as a school choice plan. Today, we considered an amendment to expand the options of children in a failing school. this amendment would offer a voucher to the child that meets the following criteria. 1-the child is below the 200% poverty level 2-the child is currently enrolled in a failing school & 3-the child has been denied access to seat in a passing school. Unfortunately, the amendment failed. The bill’s current status is this: A child trapped in a failing school may be granted access to a passing public school. This is an infinitesimal baby step in the right direction. Unfortunately, children will have to wait for meaningful school choice.
Here is a misleading portion of the bill:
(B) In establishing these programs, it is the objective of the General Assembly to make the South Carolina public school system the most choice-driven public school system in the nation by increasing student participation in and student access to public school educational opportunities both within and outside of their resident school district, regardless of where they may live or their socioeconomic status. It is therefore the intent of the General Assembly that this chapter be construed broadly to maximize parental choice options and student access to public school educational opportunities that are now not available to their children.