Recently, an editorial and some letters to the editor criticized state superintendent Mick Zais for suggesting we have letter grades for teacher performance in South Carolina. That's a red herring.
The real issue is not letter grades, but any sort of teacher evaluation. The three public education organizations in South Carolina (our form of educational unions) are strongly opposed to any sort of teacher evaluations. While their members are not considered lobbyists, they do ply the halls of the General Assembly trying to influence House and Senate members to vote a particular way on public school issues. For example, unfortunately, they have been very successful is preventing any sort of school choice in our state by warning legislators of the political consequences of doing so.
The superintendent has little power to change how the 85 school districts run their K-12 public schools other than through the legislative process. Those districts have little interest in his meddling in what they consider none of his business.
However, lest we forget, if it were not for Georgia, South Carolina would be dead last in academic achievement in America on any basis of evaluations.
South Carolina needs the wisdom and character of Zais today. He also needs to be re-elected in 2014. Furthermore, the General Assembly needs to fully support his efforts. Are we not tired of being last? It's time for a change. Teacher evaluations are but a beginning.
Hilton Head Island