For those that don’t surf the net as much as I do, here’s something I found in the Lancaster News from a colleague of mine. I found it refreshing to read in such a “partisan time” like this.

I’m not gonna blame Superintendent Jim Rex for supporting “his team” but I do question why he would “go after” one of the three leading Republican supporters of his “public school choice plan” last session. Is this how you return the favor for someone (Rep. Mick Mulvaney) who took hits from his own party in trying to help do something…anything….different with our educational system?

I”m glad to see that Rep. Ted Pitts (who is running to be the next chairman of our House Education and Public Works Committee) can look past labels and try to work with anyone willing to try to improve how we educate our children.

Vote for statesmen, not partisans

By Ted Pitts

After reading the article,“Dems Push for Change at the Fish Bash,” I surely hope for the sake of public schools in our state that what Superintendent of Education Jim Rex told the crowd is not true and that he becomes an unborn-again “born-again partisan.”

This new partisan approach would be bad for our schools and our state. You see, there are some of us Republicans and Democrats who are committed to working together to improve public education in this state and we need statesmen, not partisans, if we are going to have any luck.

I found this out firsthand last year when Dr. Rex and I worked together on a public school choice bill that was killed in subcommittee.

I caught it from the partisans on my side of the aisle for “carrying the Democrats water.” He caught it from folks on his side of the aisle who don’t want to talk about choice even if it is inside the public school system only.

I was happy to work with Dr. Rex and was thankful that two co-sponsors, Mick Mulvaney and Bill Cotty, stepped forward to help our efforts no matter what heat we received from third party groups and some in our own party.

Some of us look at education policy not through Democrat or Republican glasses, but as South Carolinians trying to create a better system for children.

Republicans and Democrats are going to have to work together if we are going to improve education.

In January the new chairman of the S.C. House Education and Public Works Committee is going to be a Republican.

Republican Sen. John Courson is going to be the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and Dr. Rex, a Democrat, is going to be the state superintendent of education.

So education is depending on a bipartisan approach.

I would ask that you don’t do as Dr. Rex said, “It’s going to have to be a straight Democratic ticket,” and that you continue to take the time to be sure the folks you send to Columbia are statesmen like Mick Mulvaney, Jimmy Neal, Jay Lucas, Wes Hayes and Vincent Sheheen.

I actually can’t think of a region of our state where the voters have done a better job of sending statesmen to Columbia than yours.

Ted Pitts

S.C. House of Representatives