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Monday, March 30, 2009

Comments on Governor Sanford's Stimulus Position

                                                                                           March 29, 2009

I want to thank you again for participating in this effort. During a telephone conversation last Wednesday with Jim Anthony, he encouraged me to join him in energizing the education community to fight for stimulus funding in SC. For over a decade, Jim has been a tireless leader in bringing positive change to our state and a strong supporter of public education. As President and Founder of The Cliffs Communities, the demands on his time are great, but he believes like all of us that this is a worthy endeavor. If you would like to know more about Jim, you may visit his website at

Late last Thursday, March 28, 2009, Jim and I decided to contact as many superintendents as possible to participate in a conference call at noon on Friday. I regret that time did not permit us to contact each superintendent in our state.


As a result of the conference call, we are hopeful that you will do the following:

    • Encourage administrators, school board members, teachers, staff, business and community leaders, parents, grandparents, and other concerned citizens to contact Governor Sanford and ask him to accept stimulus funds for SC.
    • Hold local press conferences or send press releases to representatives of your local media to let the citizens in your area know the consequences to your district if stimulus funds are denied.
    • Contact members of your local legislative delegation and encourage them to support this effort and to publicly call on the Governor to accept our share of the stimulus funds.


    1. Inform
    2. Many of our citizens are not aware of the educational consequences of this issue.
      Our message is simple:

        • This is not a partisan political fight but a financial emergency.
        • Like it or not, the federal stimulus funding is going to happen.
        • South Carolinians will be saddled with this debt and paying our share whether or not we accept our designated stimulus money.
        • We will receive no benefits from this debt – “TAXATION without COMPENSATION.”
        • Our state unemployment rate is at 11% - the SECOND highest in the country. Massive layoffs at all levels of our educational community will occur without this funding.
        • These layoffs will affect many other businesses in our state.
        • Not accepting the stimulus funding will be catastrophic to our children and our state.

    2.      Engage

        • Contact superintendent colleagues and ask them to become involved. Forward this information to them with a personal request to join you in this task.
        • Communicate to your administrators, faculty and staff the urgency of this situation.
        • Emphasize that school employees must use their personal telephones and e-mail accounts to contact anyone about this effort.
        • Encourage educators to involve their neighbors, family and friends.

    3.      Publicize

        • Hold a local press conference.
        • For example, in my home county of York, we have four school districts. On Monday, a joint press conference has been planned by our superintendents at 4:00 p.m. in Rock Hill. At the press conference, a District Teacher of the Year requested to speak about the importance of stimulus funding. Every effort is being made to have a large crowd in attendance and to encourage our various media outlets to cover this event. A group of local citizens has printed 500 cards on school bus yellow paper providing the Governor’s telephone number and e-mail address. These will be distributed at the press conference. 

        • If you cannot hold a press conference, plan a press release explaining how important this is to your district. Encourage opinion pieces and letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Publication deadlines will make this difficult, but not impossible.

    4.      Contact

        • Our goal is to have hundreds of citizens calling the Governor immediately.
        • If possible, call and e-mail him. This will reinforce our commitment.
        • CALL members of your local legislative delegation. We need them to tell the Governor how strong the voters of their district feel about this issue.
        • This information may be found at:

          1. Click on Government
          2. Click on Branches of Government
          3. Scroll to Legislature



Our major challenge is the limited amount of time we have left to organize a strong voice in Columbia.
Remember that there will be vocal opposition to our cause.
There is an additional effort by individuals who share our position requesting that we stand together in Columbia on Tuesday morning, March 31, around 11:00 a.m. in the lobby in front of the Governor’s office at the State Capitol. This will let the Governor and the Legislators know that many South Carolinians believe we MUST receive our stimulus funding. If you are able to attend or can encourage others to attend, it will be helpful to us all.

As Jim Anthony said, “The only way we can make a difference is to try.”

Contact Gov. Mark Sanford:
Telephone: 803-734-2100

Kathy Bigham
Editorial in The State:  Sunday, March 29, 2009

Posted:03/29/2009 12:13 AM
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GOV. MARK SANFORD has been getting a free ride. Its time for that to stop.
Oh, theres growing anger over his petulant refusal to accept the federal money that were all going to pay for even if we dont take it, but its been tempered by the knowledge that the Legislature would bypass him.

But what if lawmakers cant do that?
Legislative leaders, no longer sure they can, paint a dire picture: 4,000 state workers could further swell our unemployment rates, pushing our state deeper into recession; prisoners could be released early; college tuitions could skyrocket. If they pass a budget without the federal funds, the layoffs could include teachers, Highway Patrol troopers, prison guards, SLED agents, the caseworkers who investigate child abuse and neglect claims; the number of people in nursing homes and group homes for the mentally disabled and receiving vaccines and a host of other services could be slashed. If  they write the budget with federal funds and a court says they lack the authority to do that, the cuts would be concentrated in schools, colleges and Medicaid, because thats where the federal money has to be spent.

As Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman explained in a letter Thursday urging Mr. Sanford to reconsider his refusal to request the federal funds: Your decision is destined to create absolute chaos in governmental agencies that perform core missions for the people, and will hurt tens of thousands of South Carolina families at a time when uncertainty and fear over the economy already pervade almost every household.

The governors office dismisses the doomsday predictions, arguing that Mr. Sanfords budget didnt include the federal funds, or widespread layoffs. His budget might not have acknowledged its effects, which says a lot about how out of touch the governor is, but that just doesnt add up. State spending doesnt evaporate: It pays salaries. With the $350 million, you can keep thousands of people on the payroll; without it, you cant.

Mr. Leatherman acknowledges that theres a political campaign going on to make it clear to the public what Mr. Sanford could cost us. That is appropriate. Legislators know someone will bring a lawsuit if they are forced to use the bypass option; as leaders, they must consider the catastrophic consequences that would occur if a judge blocked the budget, particularly after much of the money already had been spent.

Lawmakers are right to draft a budget without federal funds, so voters understand the consequences of their governors inaction. But if Mr. Sanford refuses to yield, they need to pass a budget with the federal funds, written to sequester state funds from legal challenge.

Mr. Sanford could eliminate these problems by simply requesting federal funds. He has until Friday to do so, and we all need to do our best to make that happen:

 Individuals and groups must stop treating Mr. Sanford like the crazy uncle in the attic and let him know they expect him to start acting like a governor. Call, write, e-mail him; rally at the State House, at the Governors Mansion, across the state. Demand that he request the federal funds.

 Legislators need to find a face-saving way for him to change his mind, in case he cannot bring himself to admit that his actions are reckless and irresponsible.

We dont know whether Mr. Sanford cares what the public thinks, but one thing is clear: He will not be persuaded by people who do not make their voices heard.

Go to for contact information.

Editorial in the Greenville News:     Sunday, March 29, 2009
Stop the games and take the money
March 29, 2009 01:52 AM

Gov. Mark Sanford can keep his libertarian-conservative credentials beyond reproach, advance his political career on the national stage and still, on behalf of the taxpaying citizens of South Carolina, officially request $700 million over the next two years to shore up our state's damaged budget.

It should be as simple as this: The governor can give a speech Monday that expresses revulsion at the bloated $787 billion federal stimulus bill and recognizes South Carolina taxpayers will be helping repay this bill regardless of whether he requests the $700 million for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. Therefore, the governor can declare, he would not dare consider asking people in his state to pay the bill on money that will just go to people in other states if he refuses to ask for this particular slice of money.

It's time to stop playing games about this $700 million that, love it or hate, has to be spent according to rules spelled out in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as the federal stimulus bill.

Twice the governor has asked President Barack Obama to grant a waiver to allow South Carolina to use this chunk of stimulus money -- out of about $8 billion that will come to people in this state in some form -- to pay down state debt. Twice the president has denied that request to use the money in a way not allowed in the federal bill.

But even before the federal stimulus bill passed, U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina got language put into the law that would allow a state Legislature to accept stimulus money if the governor refused to do so. That seemed to address a problem that many people feared would happen, but then U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham asked the Congressional Research Service for an opinion on the Clyburn clause. The CRS questioned the constitutional nature of Clyburn provision.

Now key state legislators doubt the Legislature can do an end run around the governor, and the state House and Senate are leaning toward preparing two budgets, one with and one without the $350 million that is the first year's share of the state budget stabilization money.

All this should be too much for South Carolina residents. Without the $700 million over two years, according to state budget writers, our state will have to get rid of about 4,000 teachers and 700 prison guards, and close three to five prisons.

Adding insult to injury, the $700 million that Sanford plans on refusing, and legislators fear they legally cannot accept, will be spent in other states. But when it comes time to pay the bill, South Carolina residents will pay their full share -- not a reduced rate because Georgia or North Carolina or Wyoming got to spend the $700 million that should have come here.

The $787 billion stimulus package certainly has its problems. Sanford and other fiscal conservatives opposed it for solid reasons. That fight has been lost. The money will be spent, and the money will have to be repaid.

It makes absolutely no sense for South Carolina to lose out on that $700 million to stabilize education and public safety funding when Sanford knows full well the money will be spent elsewhere. The governor should accept this money before the Friday deadline, and then shift his focus to our state's shockingly high unemployment rate that's now 11 percent and probably growing.

 Ideology over people
South Carolinians can't afford Sanford's ideological crusade

Published: Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 at 6:20 p.m.

There is a time to make an ideological point, to push people to see your perspective. But that timing is wrong when your campaign will hurt people, particularly the people you have sworn to serve.

That's where Gov. Mark Sanford has gone wrong. He insists on rejecting about $700 million in federal economic stimulus funds unless they can be spent to reduce state debt, a plan the White House has rejected.

Sanford's point has been made. It was wrong for Washington to borrow more money, digging the nation even deeper in debt to other countries to fund a bloated stimulus package that will do more to grow government than to create jobs. Sanford is right about that.

But that battle has been lost. President Barack Obama and Congress have passed the stimulus bill, obligating every American to pay back this debt over the coming decades. Sanford's insistence that the state reject part of its share of this stimulus money represents a stubborn refusal to recognize the interests of his constituents.

House and Senate leaders have pointed out the consequences of rejecting the stimulus money.
There will not be enough money to run the state's prisons, which may lead federal courts to order an early release of inmates.

There will not be enough money to operate our schools, which could lead to layoffs of teachers.
South Carolina families already struggling to keep their students in the state's colleges and universities are likely to see big increases in tuition just when they can least afford it.

This is not an academic exercise in which Sanford can insist that because the debt is wrong, we should not participate in the stimulus. There are real consequences to people all over the Palmetto State.

The reality is that South Carolinians cannot avoid this debt. Every American will have to repay it through federal taxes. South Carolinians won't get a tax credit or reduced rate because this state didn't collect its share of the stimulus money. If Sanford has his way, the people of this state won't enjoy the benefits of the stimulus money. It will go to some other state, but we will still have to pay off the debt.

That doesn't make sense for this state. Sanford's plan is lose-lose for South Carolinians. We have increased pain during the recession. We don't alleviate any of that pain through the stimulus. And we have to pay back the debt Washington has taken on.

Your point isn't worth it, governor. You are not holding fast to a grand principle here. You have stated your case as well as you can. Further adherence to your hard line benefits no one, accomplishes nothing and hurts your own people. The rest of the state isn't willing to suffer for your ideological obstinacy, and it shouldn't have to. You have until Friday to change your mind. Recognize the needs of your people and the fact that they matter more than your political posture. Accept the stimulus money.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission.

AP Article:   Thursday, March 26, 2009
Harrell: Don't expect stimulus money
House speaker doubts Gov. Sanford will seek federal funds

The Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 1:04 a.m.

COLUMBIA - House Speaker Bobby Harrell said Wednesday South Carolina lawmakers should prepare a budget without using federal stimulus cash unless Gov. Mark Sanford reverses himself and decides to seek the money.

"We're probably not going to have that money with the governor not requesting it," Harrell, R-Charleston, said. "It is time to write a budget that does not include that money."

But Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said it is time for legislators to sit down with the governor and come up with a budget plan that uses $700 million stimulus cash the governor will control during the next two years to pay down state debt or forgoes the federal cash altogether through budget cuts. "So far, they've not indicated a willingness to do so."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman is writing versions of the budget with and without the stimulus cash. The House version of the $6.6 billion budget includes $1 billion in stimulus cash. That includes $350 million in budget stabilization cash Sanford could request, Harrell said.

Leatherman is writing Sanford to request he "revisit his position on the stimulus money and hope that he will understand the seriousness of the damage to our people if we don't get that money," he said. "The governor with a stroke of a pen could resolve this problem with not taking the money."

Sanford has an April 3 deadline to request the money. His political profile has soared in recent months as he's railed against the $787 billion stimulus plan, saying it will devalue the dollar and saddle generations with debt.

Sanford, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said last week that he wouldn't ask for the money after the White House twice rebuffed his call to pay down state debt with it.

The White House said the cash needs to be used on schools and other government services with an eye to averting job losses. While the federal law includes a provision that allows state legislatures to seek the money when their governors won't, Harrell sa the lawmakers can't fill the governor's certification role in promising the money will be used properly.

"Either the governor is going to request the money or we will be having to write a budget without it," Harrell said.
On Wednesday, the presidents of the state's three largest research universities - Clemson University, University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina - all told Senate budget writers they'd be devastated without the cash as they decide how much they'll need to raise tuition in the upcoming budget year.

"I'm concerned about the colleges, but what I'm more concerned about is I expect the federal court to order us to release prisoners because we're not going to have the money to keep prisons open," Harrell said. "I expect public schools around the state to have to lay off at least the 1,700 teachers I heard this morning. The numbers I've heard go as high as four to five thousand teachers as a result of this."

Sanford's role in certifying the cash frustrates Harrell.
On Monday, Sanford signed off on assurances that bring $50.5 million in energy and weatherization spending for the state.

Last week, he certified the state wouldn't reduce state spending on highway projects as it uses $463 million in federal highway funds. And in February, he signed off on adding $25 weekly to unemployment checks. No estimate is available for the expected tab on that, but the state already has paid out $11.3 million in extra benefits.

"He signed off on the energy efficiency money but won't sign off on the K-through-12 and prisons money. That makes no sense," Harrell said. "I am very frustrated about this because we're talking about affecting lives of people in this state in a very bad way. ... He should either be rejecting the entire amount of money or not. For him to just pick out a slice of it - the part that affects public schools and law enforcement in this state - is a terrible mistake."

Sawyer said the governor didn't ask for the road, energy or unemployment money and his role in those other funds is only procedural.

"That's not money the governor can direct," Sawyer said.
Sanford wrote his executive budget without using stimulus and legislators could do the same if they used some of the governor's budget cutting ideas, Sawyer said. For now, "they're trying to make the budget worse than it should be."

Rock Hill Schools Teacher of The Year - Bryan Coburn - To Speak at Press Conference Today (Monday, March 30, 2009)

There will be a News Conference today, Monday, March 30, 2009, at 4:00 p.m. in the Rock Hill City Hall Amphitheater, to protest Governor Sanford's position on accepting Federal Stimulus Funds. Speaking will be the Rock Hill School's Teacher of the Year, Bryan Coburn.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Northwestern High School Graduate Breaks NC State 800 Meter Record

RALEIGH, N.C. - Angelina Blackmon, from Rock Hill's Northwestern High School, notched a personal-best with a school record and NCAA regional qualifying mark in the 800m on Saturday at the 2009 Reebok Raleigh Relays.

Blackmon ran a 2:07.58 to finish second in the event on a rainy day at Paul Derr Track on NC State's campus.

The previous mark of 2:07.66 by Mary Ann Carraher stood since 1989.

Her younger sister, Tiayonna, a Fort Mill High School graduate, was 13th in the same race with a 2:13.87 - her career-best.

SC Quiz from the SC6 Blog

1. Your in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, But You're Not in Europe. What road are you on?

a. A Skyy Vodka Ad

b. Hwy 321 in Orangeburg County

c. Hwy 21 in Lancaster County

d. The Corridor of Shame

2. Where Is the ACE Basin ?

a. You'll 'See the Sign" in the Swedish Pop Music section.

b. Outside of Shaw AFB

c. Colleton County

d. McCormick County

3. Where Are the Old Fort Walker Ruins?

a. Hilton Head Island

b. Fripp Island

c. Callawassie Island

d. In the bathroom after a bottle of Johnny Walker Red

4. You're in the Birthplace of Dizzy Gillespie. Where Are You?

a. on the A-Train

b. West Columbia

c. Jamestown

d. Cheraw

5. Chris Rock Says He's Straight Outta Brooklyn, But He Was Born Where in SC ?

a. North Charleston

b. Wherever they drop the F-Bomb the Most in SC.

c. Andrews

d. Fort Mill

6. If You Go Due West from Due West, At What College Do You End Up?

a. Clemson

b. Furman

c. Erskine

d. USC

7. Where Is Pumpkintown ?

a. Pickens County

b. Good Grief, It's in Charlie Brown Town.

c. Dillon County

d. Abbeville County

8. You're On Your Way to Myrtle Beach, But You Have an Unstoppable Need For a Nedburger. What Town Are You In?

a. Rains

b. South Central L.A.

c. Conway

d. Aynor

9. Where Is Tirzah?

a. Just west of Downtown Baghdad

b. Union County

c. York County

d. Cherokee County

10. You Want to Visit the 'Real Greenbow, Alabama' From 'Forrest Gump'. What Town Do You Go To?

a. Varnville

b. Walterboro

c. Georgetown

d. McClellanville

1-B, 2-C, 3-A, 4-D, 5-C, 6-C, 7-A, 8-D, 9-C, 10-A.
If You Scored:

0-3: Don't volunteer to be co-pilot, because you have no idea where you're going. My advice is to either buy a Tom-Tom or move back to Ohio...

4-6: You're not a total embarrassment, but don't go out of your safety zone without a map, lest you get lost and a search party needs to get you home.

7-9: Feel free to ride shotgun anytime and give directions, because the driver could do alot worse than you. Just don't be too cocky, because you wife will still think you have NO IDEA where you're at.

10: Good Job, Bobby !!! GPS? Who needs GPS when it's all in your noodle... Garmin should name their newest model after you, because you're directionally infallible. That, or the biggest honor a South Carolinian can get - an interchange in your name. Congrats, and get a life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rock Hill Schools March Business Meeting Results

The Board took the following action:

Approved consent agenda consisting of the minutes of the Feb. 23, Feb. 25, and March 9 school board meetings; personnel recommendations; a field trip request submitted by South Pointe; and agreed to rent classroom space and the gym at the Flexible Learning Center to the YMCA for summer camps. Vote was 7-0

Approved a six-month extension of the rental agreement with Impact Community Church to use the auditorium at Rawlinson Road Middle School for Sunday church services and an additional payment of $1,000 per month. Vote was 6-1 with Brown against because he believes it is a violation of state law.

Approved a 99-year lease of the Liberty Hill School property for $1 per year, as requested by Dr. Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, so that she can apply for grant funding to restore the African American School located on the site and for a wellness center to benefit the children and adults in the Catawba community. The lease will be null and void if grant funding for the purpose given is not approved. Vote was 7-0

Approved second reading of policies GCC/GCD (Professional Staff Leaves and Absences) and GDC/GCC (Support Staff Leaves and Absences). Vote was 7-0

After an executive session, a motion to reject an administration decision on a student expulsion failed due to lack of a majority. Vote was 3-3 with Rentschler abstaining. Brown, Vining, & Norwood voted against the motion.

Seven schools were recognized as winners of 2008 Palmetto Gold or Silver Awards —Rock Hill High, the Applied Technology Center, Northwestern, Belleview, Finley Road, India Hook, and Rosewood.

Rebecca Partlow, executive director of personnel, was recognized on her selection by the York County Chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management and the York County Regional Chamber as the 2009 Human Resource Professional of the Year for organizations with over 750 employees.

The Rock Hill School District Foundation presented a video on support for programs such as Back the Pack. René Brannan, president of the Foundation, stated that school employees will soon hear about supporting Back the Pack through monthly payroll deductions. Below is the video:

The administration reviewed a draft of a policy that addresses the basic structure of reassigning students. (Due to continuing growth within the district and the goal of balancing schools, the board had requested that a policy be drafted, outlining the circumstances under which reassignment should be considered.) The board was requested to provide comments and suggestions regarding the draft so that discussion can take place at their April 6 work session. This item was added to the agenda so parents could speak to the board at the meeting. Four parents from Oakdale Elementary who want the board to redraw attendance lines impacting Oakdale as soon as possible and, hopefully, in time for the beginning of the 2009-10 school year spoke. Their comments are below:

Heard report on National History Day participation in the schools and on regional competition at Winthrop University on March 13 from Meredith Spradley, instructional specialist, and teachers Emily Warner, Martha Warner, and Bud Cope. It was announced that 45 RH middle and high school students will compete in state competition in April.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Public Meeting With State Legislature Reps at Nation Ford High School

The Nation Ford High School Improvement Council is holding a public meeting on Monday, March 23 (7 PM in school auditorium) with local members of the legislature. Parents, employees and members of the public are invited. To learn more, click here.

Topics include National Board Certification Pay and Freezing Teacher Salaries. Deborah Long, Carl Gullick, Wes Hayes, and Mick Mulvaney are expected to be in attendance.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Blame for School Achievement Gap Misplaced

An interesting article and a lengthy video talking about issues related to educational success.

New policy report explains how poverty's effects are the real culprit

Contact: David Berliner -- (480) 861-0484;
Kevin Welner -- (303) 492-8370;

TEMPE, Ariz. and BOULDER, Colo., March 9, 2009 - A new report issues a fundamental challenge to established education policies that were promoted by the Bush administration and are likely to be continued by the Obama administration. These policies are based on a belief that public schools should shoulder the blame for the "achievement gap" between poor and minority students and the rest of the student population. But the new policy report argues that out-of-school factors are the real culprit--and that if those factors are not addressed, it will be impossible for schools to meet the demands made of them.

"Schools are told to fix problems that largely lie outside their zone of influence," says David Berliner, Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University, and author of the report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. The report is jointly published by the Education Policy Research Unit (EPRU) of ASU and the Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Berliner's report comes as debate continues over the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act, which imposed stiff accountability measures on schools in return for federal aid. NCLB requires public schools to demonstrate "adequate yearly progress" toward the eventual elimination of gaps in achievement among all demographic groups of students and imposes a variety of sanctions if they fall short.

"This report provides exactly the type of information that should guide policy," says EPIC director Kevin Welner of CU-Boulder. "It clearly and concisely explains why poverty must be directly addressed by anyone who hopes to close the achievement gap. Just as importantly, it explains why just tinkering with NCLB is a fool's errand."

Last week, Education Secretary Duncan told the Washington Post that those who would use the social ills of poor children as an excuse for not educating them "are part of the problem." Welner agrees. "But," he says, "those who point to schools as an excuse for failure to address social ills are equally at fault."

Berliner explains that NCLB "focuses almost exclusively on school outputs, particularly reading and mathematics achievement test scores." He says, "The law was purposely designed to pay little attention to school inputs in order to ensure that teachers and school administrators had 'no excuses' when it came to better educating impoverished youth."

Yet, as explained in the new report, that position is not merely unrealistic, but certain to fail. Berliner says that NCLB's accountability system is "fatally flawed" because it makes schools accountable for achievement without regard for out-of-school factors.

Berliner reviews a half-dozen out-of-school factors that have been clearly linked to lower achievement among poor and minority-group students: birth weight and non-genetic parental influences; medical care; food insecurity; environmental pollution; family breakdown and stress; and neighborhood norms and conditions. Additionally, he notes a seventh factor: extended learning opportunities in the form of summer programs, after-school programs, and pre-school programs. Access to these resources by poor and minority students could help mitigate the effects of the other six factors.

Because of the extraordinary influence of the six factors that Berliner identifies, "increased spending on schools, as beneficial as that might be, will probably come up short in closing the gaps." Instead, he calls for an approach to school improvement that would demand "a reasonable level of societal accountability for children's physical and mental health and safety."

"At that point," he concludes, "maybe we can sensibly and productively demand that schools be accountable for comparable levels of academic achievement for all America's children."

Find David Berliner's report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success, on the web at:

David Berliner, Regents Professor of Education
Arizona State University
(480) 861-0484

Kevin Welner, Professor and Director
Education and the Public Interest Center
University of Colorado at Boulder
(303) 492-8370



The Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Education Policy Research Unit (EPRU) at Arizona State University collaborate to produce policy briefs and think tank reviews. Our goal is to promote well-informed democratic deliberation about education policy by providing academic as well as non-academic audiences with useful information and high quality analyses.

Visit EPIC and EPRU at

EPIC and EPRU are members of the Education Policy Alliance

Homeland Insecurity: Doing Better for our Children from Every Child Matters on Vimeo.

Rock Hill's Ashley Shepard Part of the 2009 EAGL Championship Team

Seniors Elyse Adams, Dru Davis and Ashley Shepard hold the 2009 EAGL Championship trophy.

RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State gymnastics team scored a 195.700 in the 2009 EAGL Championships to take the title, its fourth all-time team championship crown. It was the fourth championship win by Mark Stevenson and his squad, the second-most all-time in league history.

West Virginia was second and North Carolina was third.

Junior Lauren Deuser and sophomore Brittany Vontz tied for first on bars to lead the team as it closed the meet on the event with a season-high score to clinch the team title.

Senior Ashley Shepard from Rock Hill's Northwestern High School, in her final EAGL Championship, was second on floor.

Sophomore Brittney Hardiman was third on vault.

NC State got started on beam, scoring a 48.550 as a team. Freshman Panza led the way with a 9.850, her second-highest score of the season. It was her fifth-straight meet with a score of 9.8 or higher and the sixth-time this season overall.

Freshman Brooke Barr was second on the team with a 9.750, tied for her second-highest score of the season on beam.

The Pack was third after each of the eight teams competed on one event, trailing North Carolina and West Virginia.

NC State took to the floor for its second event, scoring a 48.900. Shepard just missed a season-high in her final EAGL Championships, scoring a 9.825.

Sophomore Brittney Hardiman scored a season-high 9.8 on floor to finish second on the team.

The Wolfpack stood in third after two complete rotations, trailing the Tar Heels and the Mountaineers.

The team competed on vault in its third event, scoring a 49.075, its fourth-best score of the season. Hardiman tied her career-high with a 9.875 to lead the team.

Barr - the EAGL season leader on vault - scored a 9.850, the ninth-straight meet that she posted a 9.850 or higher on the event. Freshman Becca Teich nailed a career-high on vault, scoring a 9.850. Panza scored a 9.8 on vault, the fifth-time she hit 9.8 or higher this season.

The Wolfpack finished the championships on bars in style, scoring a season-high 49.175, tied for the 15th best bars score all-time. From the first gymnast, the Wolfpack was strong and focused, with all five counting scores being over 9.825.

Vontz and Deuser led the way with a 9.850 each to share the individual team title.

Hardiman, freshman Anna Kronenfeld and junior Taylor Seaman each finished fifth on bars with a 9.825.

NC State will host the NCAA Southeast Regionals on April 4 in Reynolds Coliseum.

NC State's EAGL First-Team All-Tournament Selections
Brittney Hardiman
Becca Teich
Brooke Barr

Lauren Deuser*
Brittany Vontz*
Brittney Hardiman
Anna Kronenfeld
Taylor Seaman

Jess Panza

Ashley Shepard
Brittney Hardiman

Jess Panza
Taylor Seaman

NC State's EAGL Second-Team All-Tournament Selections
Jess Panza

Brooke Barr
Becca Teich
Taylor Seaman

Brittney Hardiman

* Event Champion

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rock Hill Schools To Discuss Reassignment Policy

One of the topics for the Rock Hill Schools April work session will be if the Board wants to adopt a policy to guide student reassignment. Below is a policy the school administration has proposed for the board to consider.


Reassignment of Students JCR DRAFT

Purpose: To establish the basic structure to reassign students to schools.

In order to provide equal access to quality educational opportunities for all students, the Board is committed to providing necessary and adequate resources, to include materials, technology, and personnel, to all district schools. School assignments are made to maximize use of school facilities and support diverse populations. Students are assigned to schools within the attendance zone of their residence. The Board believes in the philosophic goal of maintaining balance within the school system, as related to the number of students receiving free and/or reduced lunch supplement, student performance on state achievement test (PASS), and student proximity to the school. The changing nature of our community makes the goal of balance and stability for students and parents very challenging. Parents should not expect that their school of initial enrollment will be their child's school for all of the elementary, middle, or high school years. Should reassignment occur, the Board does make a commitment to students and parents to:

  • make every effort to reassign children only once during their elementary school years
  • begin the reassignment process in the fall of the year preceding implementation of a new reassignment plan

The superintendent shall prepare a report annually, to review school population in individual schools to include the percentage of students receiving free and/or reduced lunch supplement. When a school/s demonstrate a marked increase or decrease (margin of 15%) of free/reduced lunch supplement population, or should a school exceed capacity to the degree of overcrowding, the superintendent will make recommendations for reassignment of students. Reassignment review will take place annually; however, the recommendation to the Board for reassignment will occur every (two years, three years?)

The superintendent has the discretion to make minor adjustments to attendance area maps without board approval, every two years, when area boundary lines divide properties or when unforeseen factors impact a small number of households, (i.e., new construction of a single family home/s contiguous to an existing neighborhood zone, transportation factors, unforeseen hazard)

The director of technology will be responsible for updating attendance area maps annually to reflect any changes in boundary maps or shifts in demographics within the map planning segments.

In the event of an emergency, the decision to redistrict a school because of extenuating circumstances will take place, as indicated by the emergency, with immediate action taken.

Attendance areas are available from the Planning Department and can be viewed on the district Web-site:


Legal references:

A. S. C. Code, 1976, as amended:

1. Section 59-19-90(9) - Board can determine school for pupil to attend.

Rock Hill School District Three of York County

Rock Hill Schools March 23rd Business Meeting Agenda Has Been Released

Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Monday, March 23, 2009

6:00 p.m. – District Office Board Room


        I.      Call to Order
                Approval of Agenda

      (Under consent agenda, all action items will be voted on after one motion and second to approve them without discussion.  If a board member wants any action item discussed or voted on separately, the board member, before the agenda is approved, must ask that the action item be moved to the discussion item section.)

        II.     Citizen Participation

        III.    Special Business

      1. Recognition of Palmetto Gold and Palmetto Silver Award Winners
      2. Recognition of Rebecca Partlow as Human Resources Professional of the Year

        IV.     Consent Action Agenda
                A.      Approval of Minutes
                        1.  February 23, 2009 business meeting
                        2.  February 25, 2009 called business meeting
                        3.  March 9, 2009 work session
                B.      Approval of Personnel Recommendations
                C.      YMCA Facility Rental    (Flexible Learning Center Gym for Summer Camp)

    1. Communications

        VI.     Report of the Superintendent

      A.      Announcements
      B.    Education Foundation Video
      C.      Reassignment Policy (To be discussed during April 6 Work Session)
      D.      Early College Program Update
      E.    Update on History Day

        VII.    Review of Work Session

  1.      Action Agenda
      1. Impact Church Facility Rental Request for Rawlinson Road Middle School for an additional year.
      2. Liberty Hill Property Lease Agreement in Principal
      3. Approval of Policies GDC/GDD, GCC/GCD – 2nd Reading

    IX.    Other Business
   X.    Executive Session – Student Hearing

  XI.           Executive Session – Legal Matter

       XII.    Adjourn

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rock Hill Schools Information for Thursday, March 19, 2009

This Weekend . . .
Jazz Discovery Music Festival
7:30 p.m. Sat., March 21, NHS Aud., $20

Stepping Out for Women's Health
8:30 – 12:30 Saturday, March 21
Dutchman Creek Middle School, $10
To register, call 329-1234

S.C. All-State Chorus Concert
4:00 p.m. Sat., Mar. 21, Byrnes Aud. at Winthrop

Arts Programs for Students
As part of the Arts in Education program, two great performances are on tap for April. "Spirit Horse," a Roseneath Theatre Production for

grades 4-8, is the powerful and moving adventure of two First Nations Children who are introduced to a beautiful horse by their grandfather who lives

by the old ways. The performance will be held at 10 a.m. April 1 in Byrnes Aud. at Winthrop.
     At 10 a.m. on April 21 in the South Pointe Auditorium, students in grades 5 and 6 will enjoy a performance by the Charlotte Symphony.

    Each performance costs $3 per student.

Schools Raise Money for Charities

ATC's MaryAnne LaFontaine and Michelle Fox who co-chaired the center's annual "Pasta for Pennies" campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Over $2,600 was raised in only 8 days, surpassing the goal of $1,750.

Belleview Elementary (and coordinator Sharon Goodman) which raised nearly $1,200 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis by taking part in the MATH•A•THON.

Sunset Park (and coordinator Sabrina Bundy) on collecting over $3,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their "Pasta for Pennies" Campaign.


¡Adrianne Neal, coach of the SPHS cheerleaders, invites everyoneto enjoy a spaghetti dinner on March 24 in the school cafeteria, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Plates, at $5, will be served to-go style. To order tickets in advance, contact Adrianne at 980-2100 .

Monday, March 16, 2009

Some Folks Don't Have a Problem With Math!

This week's TED Video of the Week is from Arthur Benjamin whose talk is entitled "Lightning Calculation and Other Mathemagic." It's a bit long - but his math skills are really amazing.

Privatizing public schools in South Carolina?

There is currently a voucher bill in the SC Senate.  This letter appeared in the Charleston Post and Courier in response to that bill and its celebrated authors:

Privatizing public schools would be wrong choice for S.C.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Charleston Sen. Robert Ford and Greenville Rep. Eric Bedingfield offered a strong statement of support for school choice in The Post and Courier of March 2. They jointly bemoaned "failing schools" and the "same old solutions that have failed the children of our state for decades." They advocate public funding for the parental "option" to send their children to the school of their choice — public or private. They dismissed those who might disagree as "government funded special interest groups" who "profit from the current system." They called themselves the "odd couple" — a black Charleston Democrat and a white Greenville Republican.

We'd like to respond as an equally "odd couple" — a white public education advocate who likes to "think out of the box" to improve all public schools and a black preacher with an equal interest in public education — who have found common ground.

Our common ground leads us to the same opinion of the proposal by Sen. Ford and Rep. Bedingfield — it's a very bad and incredibly naive idea that would irreparably harm public education and that totally ignores the real reason why our public schools have "failed the children of our state for decades." The real cause was evident in March 2 report in The Post and Courier about the closing of five predominately African-American "failing" schools in the Charleston County School District because of budget woes. While these schools were not closed just because they are predominantly African-American, they have historically been denied the staffing, the resources, and the unequivocal demand for excellence that inevitably led to their closure.

South Carolina operated separate, unequal and segregated public schools for decades, and Charleston County was among the last school districts to grudgingly desegregate. During and beyond those years of segregation, totally or predominately African-American schools were habitually underfunded. It's sad that a state senator and representative would ignore that history and propose a plan that would further damage schools that have inequitably suffered for years instead of seeking equitable and responsible funding, staffing, equipment and facilities for all public schools, which would lessen the appeal of "choice."

It's sad and shameful that a state senator and representative advocate cutting already inadequate public school funding to promote strategies once used to maintain segregation. The bitter fight to preserve segregated schools in the last half of the 20th century included two primary legislative strategies. The first outlawed school zoning and allowed parents to "choose" their preferred schools, leaving the door open for "choice" to fall along lines of race. The second, which was found to be unconstitutional, was to give parents tax credits so that they could send their children to what were then new private schools created with the stated intent of providing segregated alternatives. Their strategy is far easier than exercising the courageous, visionary, and at times unpopular leadership to finally ensure that every child gets the education he or she deserves and that our state must have to realize its full potential.

We're willing to admit what Mr. Ford and Mr. Bedingfield cloak in a rhetorical veneer of "feel good" togetherness — race is still the "800 pound gorilla in the living room" that few people want to discuss but that still governs much of what happens in many arenas in our state, including public education. We advocate admitting that we've failed some of our children by design and taking the financial and legislative steps to see that every public school is a good school before considering other options, so that all of our children, regardless of color or class, can stay close to home and receive more than the "minimally adequate education" presently provided for by our state's constitution.

Neither of us are members of "government funded special interest groups" who "profit from the current system." We would note one thing that Sen. Ford and Rep. Bedingfield have in common. Rep. Bedingfield is hailed as a school choice advocate on the Website of South Carolinians for Responsible Government, and Sen. Ford received thousands of dollars in contributions to his last campaign from associates of a New York resident who strongly supports South Carolinians for Responsible Government — Howard Rich. Mr. Rich is an avowed supporter of "privatizing" public schools, and he has made no secret of his desire to make South Carolina the proving ground for his ideas. Their argument for choice comes directly from Mr. Rich's playbook.

If we are to have better schools for all children and a better quality of life in our state, we should honestly address and correct the problems that face our state — including racial division — without outside direction and with an eye toward bringing all citizens together.

Jon Butzon is executive director of the Charleston Education Network. The Rev. Joseph A. Darby is senior pastor of Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rock Hill Schools Outreach Program

The Rock Hill School District has started a Community Outreach program to let folks know what our schools offer to students. We hope to educate the public by going to the work place, church or club. It has been getting more and more difficult to get information out because so few people read newspapers today. Below is the introduction given at the March 11, 2009 meeting with City of Rock Hill Operations employees. Contact the District office if you are interested in having a visit to your work place or group.

Rock Hill Schools Update for March 11, 2009

Back the Pack Fundraiser
A football autographed by Muhsin Muhammad, with the Carolina Panthers, has been donated to the The Employees' Fund at Williams & Fudge to be raffled off to benefit the "Back the Pack" program.  Tickets will be sold on Thursday, March 12, and Tuesday, March 17, by contacting Ana Glosson in Student Services. Checks payable to the Rock Hill School District Foundation will be accepted.

India Hook to Host Camp Invention
India Hook Elementary will host Camp Invention, a one-week nationally recognized summer science and creativity day camp for children (currently) in kindergarten through grade 5. The dates are June 8-12 and the cost is $180.


English teachers Cindy Koon and Brian O'Shea, who serve as advisers to the South Pointe in the News (SPiN) staff, taught a session in review writing and one titled "How to Work with Your Principal" at the Southern Interscholastic Press Assn. (SIPA) annual convention in Columbia last weekend.

On Thurs. evening, March 12, at The Center for the Arts on Main Street, there will be a parent and student reception from 6:00-8:00 to display art-work entered in the Teachers Choice Showcase. Sarah Lynn Hayes, fine arts and gifted education director, states: "It never ceases to amaze me at the quality work our teachers and students produce."  The Northwestern Elite Chamber Orchestra, directed by Marsha Gross, will provide entertainment at the reception.

Stephanie Daniels, Rock Hill High drama teacher, whose students performed March 5 at the Showcase of the Arts, is proud to report that her students received top ratings at the recent Palmetto Drama Assn. Thespian Festival: 5 superiors, two excellent ratings, and one honorable mention.

The After Prom Committee at South Pointe is now accepting orders for Boston Butt pork roasts.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society recently received two more huge donations from our schools: $2,550 from Old Pointe and $2,162.39 from Mt. Gallant.

Congratulations to James Turner, director of the South Pointe Winter Drumline, which placed third in the Winter Guard International Spartanburg Regional Competition on March 7. Drumlines from S.C., N.C., Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida competed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jimmy Maners Awarded Scholarship From Atlantic Coast Conference

Former Rock Hill School's Student and Northwestern High School Graduate Jimmy Maners received the Weaver-James-Corrigan award from the ACC. The award, named in honor of three former ACC commissioners -- Jim Weaver, Bob James and Gene Corrigan was given to 42 athletes from ACC schools. The press release had the following to say about Jimmy: "Maners was the first Clemson football player to be inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. His 41.7-yard career punting average was fourth best in Clemson history. He was a three-time ACC Academic Honor Roll selection and was Clemson’s top student-athlete award at the Gator Bowl."

Jimmy is the son of Tammy and Mike Maners.

Rock Hill Schools March Work Session Notes

Mount Holly Elementary School, Rock Hill's newest elementary school, was the setting for the March work session of the District Trustees. Kim Ham, Art Teacher at the school, had a group of first graders show puppets they had made and to give a story about each one. Then She, and Principal Chris Beard Presented puppets of all the Board members and Superintendent Lynn Moody. The Puppet below is one of the school board members.

In other business, Dr. Bertha Maxwell-Roddey made a presentation asking for district participation in a project to restore the Liberty Hill Rosenwald School and to build a Catawba Community Center. The District is being asked to provide the land, either with a long term lease or sale. The school is located near the Chester County line.

Impact Church has requested an extension of their use of Rawlinson Road Middle School until June of 2010 so they will have more time to find a permanent home. The granting of this will come with an additional $1,000 per month fee.

The YMCA has requested the use of the Flexible Learning Center Gym for summer camp as they have done in previous years.

Dr. Kokolis gave some statistics on current balance in our elementary schools and reviewed the procedures that have been used with the most recent balancing efforts. The administration was asked to bring forward a policy that would set a time table for reviewing, and taking action, on the district balance. Some statistics:

Schools with more than 70% Free and Reduced Lunch (F&R); Northside. Schools with more than 60% F&R but less than 70%; Belleview; Ebenezer; Independence; Oakdale; Sunset Park. Schools with more than 50% F&R but less than 60% F&R; Ebinport; Finley Road; Richmond Drive; Rosewood. Schools with more than 40% F&R but less than 50% F&R; Lesslie; Mount Gallant; York Road; India Hook; Mount Holly. Schools with less than 40% F&R; Old Pointe; Sylvia Circle. Roughly 45% of our students qualify for F&R this year. The economic downturn is being felt, there have been 291 applications for F&R since January of this year.

Bill Mabry gave a projection on revenue's for the 2009-10 school year. It appears revenue will be $1.5 million below this years projections and about $4 million dollars less than this years budgeted expenditures. No word on what the expense budget target will be.

Ann Reid gave an update on the State School Board Convention held in February. Ann gave a presentation and reported the convention was well attended. Rock Hill Board members choose not to attend because of current economic conditions. Ann made a request the meeting be moved to Columbia (a more central location to save on cost) which apparently went of deaf ears.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Public Schools Outperform Private Schools in Math Instruction

A team of University of Illinois education professors has found that public-school students outperform their private-school classmates on standardized math tests, thanks to two key factors: certified math teachers, and a modern, reform-oriented math curriculum. Read the report at Science Daily.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Choice Meeting

Some of you may have received something like this in the mail this week. I believe this is the second meeting they have had in the last few months.

You may be wondering why I would have something like this on a site devoted to communicating news about the Rock Hill Schools. follows with my philosophy that everyone should make up their own mind. Hopefully, we are teaching questioning and research methods in school and you have learned them as well.

I have questioned their (SC Voucher) methods in the past because they attack and distort public school performance instead of promoting their own. But there is a segment of our student population that is not achieving in public schools - if private schools can correct that - we should pursue with great speed. However, those are the students who are least likely to benefit from proposals put forth by the voucher folks.

Questions I have:
  • What is the role of government? If parents can collect tax dollars because they don't want their children to go to a public school, why not those tax payers who have no children in school? Why shouldn't I get a refund on my tax dollars that were spent on the Cooper River bridge - since I've never been over it?
  • Public schools have an accountability system in place. The PACT/PASS tests have been identified as one of the toughest in the nation. Why should we expect less of our tax dollars going somewhere else.
  • As a group, students who live in poverty fail in our public schools at about a 50% rate. To improve education in South Carolina - this is the group that will change everything. How will vouchers help this group? (I will not repeat one of their explanations for this - but if you believe it - I've got some swamp land in Florida for you)

Brain Rules

John Medina has a blog and website devoted to improving brain function. Below are a couple of his video's. He has some interesting points about improving learning - at all ages. You should give his sites a look.

Brain Rules Introduction from Mark Pearson on Vimeo.

Below is a video of Rule #1 - the importance of exercise.

Brain Rule #1 - Exercise from Mark Pearson on Vimeo.

Rock Hill Schools Board Work Session Agenda For Monday, March 9, 2009

LOCATION:       Mt. Holly Elementary School                    
START:  5:30 p.m.                              
DATE:  March 9, 2009                           

WORK SESSION  -  Media Center          
1       Presentation by Mt. Holly Elementary School     (Chris Beard -30 minutes)      
2       Liberty Hill Property Rental Request    (Dr. Bertha Maxwell-Roddey -15 minutes)
3       Impact Church Facilities Rental  Request for One Year Extension (Brian Vaughan -10 minutes)    
4       YMCA Facilities Rental  Request for This Summer  (Brian Vaughan -10 minutes)   
5       Criteria for Future Reassignments / Discussion as a Result of Oakdale Parent Concerns   (Dr. Luanne Kokolis -60 minutes)       

6       2009-10 Revenue Projections with a 3 mil tax increase     (Bill Mabry -10 minutes)     

South Pointe After Prom Fundraiser

The South Pointe After Prom Committee will be selling Boston Butts to support its annual After Prom Party. The After Prom provides an opportunity for students to continue the party in a safe, fun, and alcohol-free environment. Your support will be greatly appreciated! Click here for more information!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rock Hill School News for Thursday, March 5, 2009

Northwestern's Bryan Coburn in Finals for The South Carolina Teacher of The Year

Bryan Coburn, a computer science and pre-engineering teacher, became Northwestern's Teacher of the Year last May, the District's Teacher of the Year in August, and is now one of five finalists for S.C. Teacher of the Year. As part of the state's two-step selection process for honor roll teachers, Bryan will be videotaped teaching a class and will participate in an interview by a seven-member committee.

-Northwestern's "Little Boys' Football Camp" for ages 7-14 will be held June 22-25 between 8:30 and noon. The cost is $75 for the four days, which is quite a bargain compared to a number college camps for youngsters. To register, contact Rose Baker at 981-1989.

-The students and staff at Ebinport have raised almost $1,600 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their Pasta for Pennies campaign. Hats off to Lou Ellen Holliday, counselor, for leading this successful venture.

-Lamp poles and store windows in downtown Rock Hill are now decorated with festive art banners created by Rock Hill students.

-Students and staff at Oakdale recently participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring where they collected almost 1,800 canned goods for the Salvation Army.

Rock Hill's Rosewood Elementary to Have Chili Cook-Off

Chili Kick-off

March 14th 2009 at Rosewood Elementary Cafeteria

Cook- Off: 11 AM- 1 PM

Winner Announced at 1:00

Come try Rosewood’s Best Chili! Help Judge the Winner!

Please join Rosewood’s Second Grade in raising money for Heifer International, a non-profit organization supporting the economic and sustainable needs of impoverished communities around the world through livestock and agriculture development.

Tickets will be sold for $1.00 per ticket.

(Hot Chili Special- 5 tickets for $3.00)

Donation table will be set up for additional donations.

Drinks and snacks also available with tickets.

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