SC school candidates split on teachers’ personal lives

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 5:18 PM
Last updated 5:56 PM

COLUMBIA -- During a frosty debate in which Republican Mick Zais called Democrat Frank Holleman a “political operative” and was rebuked by the Democrat for “name-calling,” the candidates for state superintendent differed on numerous questions, including whether to ban teachers from the classroom based on the particulars of their sex lives.

SCETV moderator Mark Quinn had asked both candidates to respond to comments made recently by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.

The Republican senator and Tea Party hero told a church rally that an individual should be barred from teaching for being openly gay or for being an unmarried woman who is sleeping with her boyfriend, according to The Spartanburg Herald Journal.

Holleman said the discussion was inappropriate.

“It’s not my business to check on what happens in someone’s private life,” said  said Holleman, an attorney who worked for the former S.C. Gov. Richard Riley when Riley was secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

“What I want to know is ‘Are you producing as a teacher? Are you helping our kids? Are you obeying the rules?’” said Holleman.

“If anybody, regardless of their orientation, engages in any misconduct toward a child, as far as I’m concerned they’re out.”

But Zais, a retired brigadier general in the Army who stepped down as president of Newberry College in July, said the decision should not be made by the state superintendent.

“One of the things that I’ve advocated on this campaign the entire time is that we need to delegate decision-making authority to the local level,” said Zais.

“I think this is a local decision. I don’t think it’s a decision that should be made in Washington or in Columbia.  I think local officials should make that decision.”

The candidates also differed on the question of paying teachers more for better performance.

Zais said teachers should be evaluated for student learning and come under a 360-degree evaluation, including review by peers and the school principal and input from students and parents. Holleman pointed to the state's existing 10-year program and cautioned against creating a disincentive for teachers to teach students with challenges and high-performing students who have little rome for improvement.

They also clashed on whether to expand the state’s voluntary 4-year-old kindergarten, with Holleman advocating for it and Zais arguing it would be too expensive and prove less appropriate for some children who learn better at home.

On Nov. 2 voters will select a successor for retiring Superintendent Jim Rex, who heads the agency of about 50,000 teachers, 700,000 students and $20 million budget. Besides Zais and Holleman, the other contenders are Green Party candidate Doretha Bull, Libertarian Tim Moultrie, and Independence candidate Tony Fayyazi.

The four-year position of state superintendent of education comes with a $92,000 salary.

Reach Sarita Chourey at sarita.chourey@morris.com or (803) 727-4257

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Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 10/05/10 - 05:27 pm
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"including review by peers

"including review by peers and the school principle and input from students and parents"

OK, I would never correct bloggers but it would seem to me that paid professional journalists should know how to spell and write. Each and every day in this paper journalism continues to get worse.

The leader of a school is the Principal not Principle.

corgimom
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corgimom 10/05/10 - 06:35 pm
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"or for being an unmarried

"or for being an unmarried woman who is sleeping with her boyfriend, "

But what about the unmarried male teachers sleeping with women? Why isn't that nutcase DeMint concerned about that?

You would think that if he wants to concern himself with adults' personal lives, he could start with the SC legislature. Where was he when Sanford was "hiking the Appalachian Trail"?

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 10/05/10 - 09:38 pm
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With him?

With him?

Cheeched
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Cheeched 10/05/10 - 09:49 pm
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This is ridiculous. The

This is ridiculous. The Republicans are only for smaller government when it comes to money apparently and not it citizen's PERSONAL lives and rights. How does your child's teacher being gay effect you? When I went to school I didn't know any of my teachers private matters and I didn't want to either. What a waste!

momster59
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momster59 10/05/10 - 09:59 pm
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You mean this nut job wants

You mean this nut job wants to include what I do in the privacy of my own bedroom as part of my employment!!!??? Wow, I have see politicians go over the top with ignorance, but this is way to far. Whose business is it who I'm having sex with so long as I am doing my job? I get paid to teach science and this has nothing to do with my personal life. If this nut job gets voted into office in November, God help SC! What is is with SC that all the nut jobs in that state always seem to come out of the woodwork to run for public office? d

An educated choice
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An educated choice 10/05/10 - 11:37 pm
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Hi, My name is Tony Fayyazi

Hi, My name is Tony Fayyazi and I am an independent candidate for State Superintendent of Education. I was not invited to the debate and that is sad. I can't believe the two candidates, instead of talking about our failed educational system (poor student academic outcome, poor teacher morale, stagnant leadership, low parent and community involement, high drop out rate, lack of flexible classes and poor planning) and offer solutions, they are talking about stupid stuff that has no meaningful educational value to help our system. I believe the public really understand that if they vote for EITHER of the party candidates, it is not reasonable to expect these politicians to meaningfully improve our children's education. It is time for a smart leadership, one that is not close minded, one that can look at the problems from a larger angle (not from inside the box) and take a new direction, unlike our previous leaders who carried out the "compensatory approach" to our already failed educational system. It is time for An Educated Choice. No more of these nonsense. As your superintendent, my efforts will be to fix our severe educational problems and create quality education for all children in South Carolina. I hope you join me in november by casting your vote for me, the "solution". Thank you.
Please visit me at www.tonyfayyazi2010.com.

mjb266
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mjb266 10/05/10 - 11:39 pm
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Cheeched is correct. DeMint

Cheeched is correct. DeMint is another typical big government career politician that has nothing to offer but the same wretched nonsense that he and people like him have been offering for the last 30 years. Let's get rid of DeMint! Replace him with a true American hero, Green Party candidate Tom Clements!

http://clementsforsenate.com/

http://clementsforsenate.com/?page_id=333

libertarianvoter
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libertarianvoter 10/06/10 - 12:30 am
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DeMint is an idiot. If a

DeMint is an idiot. If a teacher's personal life is not affecting the student's performance in school, then it's none of their business. There are also many young teachers (22 years old even) that are not ready to get married. Are you going to turn them away from the profession? I'm beginning to think that some states don't even want new teachers at all with the way they treat them.

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