Education candidates share best ways to improve schools - - Columbia, South Carolina

Education candidates share best ways to improve schools

Voters have shown a keen interest in the Superintendent of Education race here in South Carolina.

The historic election now places Tom Thompson, the state's first black Democratic nominee for education superintendent, against Republican choice Molly Spearman and American party representative Ed Murray.  The candidates have very different views on how to improve the quality of education around the state and, most notably, the issue of rewriting Common Core.

"I'm opposed to Washington coming in and really coercing us to participate," Spearman said. "I think it's really important for us to fix this quickly as the legislature has taught us to do. So, that would be my first priority -- to review and rewrite the South Carolina standards using the best and brightest teachers in our state."

Meanwhile, Thompson believes that Common Core could have its benefits if adjusted properly.

"I don't know that Common Core has a downside other than the perspective that we are tied into what other states are doing," Thompson said. "I think Common Core has the flexibility for each state to decided how they're going to take the standards that are recommended and make them their own."

Both candidates have spent most of their respective careers in classrooms as teachers. Thompson believes that the education system needs more funding especially for teacher pay raises.

"We have to make sure we have those outstanding teachers in every classroom, in every school, in every district," Thompson said.

Spearman supported Gov. Haley's education reform plan as she stressed that the state's education system isn't as bad as many think.

"I think Governor Haley's plan went a long way with the poverty waiting," Spearman said. "Now, students in poverty, those districts will get a 20 percent increase in funding. Let's focus on the good things and try to replicate it."

Ed Murray could not be reached for comment as he is currently traveling to Canada. All three candidates will face off in November's general election.

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