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Thursday, June 4, 2015

An Op Ed: Accreditation Overblown?

I oppose State Representatives Neal Collins and Gary Clary’s effort to add a 7th seat to the Pickens County school board.
They said they are doing this because AdvancED wants this, but reading AdvancED’s report they did not mention 3 to 3 votes being a concern. I’m not surprised because there have been less than ten 3 to 3 votes of the hundreds cast by the six member board. And most of those votes were later settled by compromise among the board members. One of those tie votes that wasn't compromised was outside the purview of AdvancED monitoring (board prayer policy).
Instead, I believe Collins and Clary want to tilt the balance of the school board. In their bill H4299, a 7th seat would be added and Collins and Clary with the rest of our local SC legislature would select the new member. What a power grab!
The voters just elected 3 new school board members, but Collins doesn't like how they are voting, so he is taking matters into his own hands, filing this bill to add the 7th seat.
Remember, Collins was the one who didn’t like the Republican officers that local delegates voted for at the County convention, so he went to the state in protest there too. 
Pickens County is conservative and values local control and elections. We don’t want the state picking our local officials. Collins says he is a Republican. If so, he should believe in the conservative principle of elections and local control.
In the Barnwell 19 school district only 50.8% of students read at grade level. In Marboro that figure is 52.1% and Orangeburg 3 that figure is 52.4%. All three are accredited by AdvancED. 

AdvancED is going to take away Pickens' accreditation, one of the top 15 in the state? 

This is being overblown. 
Weldon Clark
Liberty, SC 

* Editor note: Only two schools in 45 years have had accreditation revoked by AdvancED.

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