Education

The Republican Party of South Carolina believes that the “general welfare” is significantly promoted when all are provided an opportunity to receive an education commensurate with their individual abilities. We acknowledge public schooling is a function of the State and support our history of state- sanctioned local control, but also believe that no student should be forced because of attendance zones to attend a school that is not serving them well. Every child in South Carolina must have access to an excellent education.

To this end, we support the concept of “school choice” and affirm the right and responsibility of parents to make the best education decisions for their children, whether they home-school their children or send them to private or parochial schools of their choice. We embrace the healthy competition that will result from a comprehensive school choice plan that includes the private sector, and believe such a system should be instituted from kindergarten through 12th grade. In addition to improving public school performance, a system of school choice that includes tax credits, scholarship granting organizations, and vouchers would offer more compassionate and better opportunities for all children in South Carolina.

The Party applauds the Technical College system of South Carolina and encourages greater use of dual credit courses to provide greater educational opportunities for students across our state, improve the graduation rate and reduce the teacher shortage in science, technology and mathematics.

We recognize the primacy of parental rights and responsibility in the education of children and stand opposed to federal intrusions into local schooling. We commend teachers who work hard in the schooling of children and believe in advancing the teaching profession through alternative certification programs and rewarding teaching performance through a system of merit pay.

We support education funding in which funds are attached to the child and urge that such funds be spent at the classroom level and in addressing critical school building needs. Recognizing that adequate funds and buildings alone will not solve our educational problems, we support proven practices such as: intensive and systematic phonics reading programs, clearly defined academic learning standards, measurable assessments, competition, ability/achievement grouping, sequential teaching, and firm, loving, consistent discipline. We support the arts, but contend they are secondary to learning basic academic subjects. We also urge efforts to lower tuition for in- state students to our public colleges and universities.

We believe children have the right to attend safe, drug- free schools – wherever they may be. We applaud cultural sensitivity but oppose “multi-culturalism” as being divisive. We believe maintaining English as the standard language will enhance full participation of recent immigrants in our broad American culture and more effectively address their educational needs. As a reminder to children that our blessings as a free people stem from being “one nation, under God,” we call for the right to voluntary prayer and a requirement that the “Pledge to the Flag” be recited daily. We oppose any attempt to denigrate the historical role of religion in our history or to deny students the right to freely express religious convictions in the classroom.

We support traditional, family- oriented, parent-approved sex education in our schools that is based on Judeo- Christian principles. We affirm the rightness and practicality of abstinence- based programs that encourage postponing sexual activity until marriage. We reject contraceptive distribution to students and school-based “health clinics.” Although we support tolerance, we do not agree that unhealthy sexual practices ought to be legitimized or promoted in the classroom. Clubs and observances that are based in sexual orientation are inappropriate for academic institutions.