COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — In November, you’ll have a chance to elect the next person in charge of your child’s education for the next four years.
This week, we sat down with the Democratic and Republican candidates for state Superintendent of Education.
Republican Candidate Ellen Weaver said she is exactly what South Carolina needs.
“We have never had a greater opportunity to choose the direction that South Carolina education is going to go. I feel like for far too long we have been satisfied with the status quo and the status quo has kept bumping along near or at the bottom of education ranking nationally,” Weaver said.
Weaver is the President & CEO of conservative think tank Palmetto Promise Institute. She also served as the chairwoman of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee.
She has the backing of at least two former state Superintendents, dozens of Republican lawmakers, Sen. Tim Scott, and won the GOP Primary runoff.
State law requires the state Superintendent of Education to have at least a master’s degree. Weaver said she is on pace to earn her master’s degree in education leadership by mid-October from Bob Jones University.
“It is something that has been really formative in my experience of this campaign. I feel like it’s been a boot camp for the job that I am preparing to do,” she said.
When we sat down with Weaver, she had just unveiled her “Students, Teachers and Parents” Plan. Her campaign is calling it the “STP” Plan.
“Good policy is the motor oil that keeps the engine of our education system running,” she said.
According to Weaver, as state superintendent, she would focus on what she calls foundational skills like reading and math skills. She said she’ll work to make schools safer by investing in mental health resources and school resource officers.
“We know that our students are struggling after the isolation that many of them experienced during COVID,” Weaver said.
Under her “STP” Plan, Weaver would increase teacher pay to the national average within five years, look at ways to improve teacher preparation and make an educator’s job easier in South Carolina.
Weaver said she would like to cut the “red tape.”
“What we are going to have to do after COVID is restore trust through total transparency from the top to bottom of our education system,” explained Weaver. “We’ve got to make sure the teachers and parents are on the same side of the page because that’s how we’re ultimately going to work together to do the one thing that matters, which is support students and their learning.”
Weaver said the best way to empower parents in South Carolina is to give them true school choice. Weaver is a supporter of education savings accounts.
Through this program, the state would use public money to help families pay for things like private school tuition, school supplies or textbooks. She said she is an unapologetic supporter of school choice, “I believe that money should follow the child.”
Weaver said she would like to make it easier for parents to access their child’s curriculum. She said this would help address concerns parents may have. “If we have nothing to hide then why not be totally transparent about it,” she said.
Weaver said her time working on education policy and time spent on the Education Oversight Committee has helped her understand the problems facing South Carolina. She believes on day one she’ll have the relationships in place to get things done.
For more information on Weaver and her campaign click or tap here.
You can watch our full conversation with Ellen Weaver below:
NOTE: Our interview with Democratic candidate Lisa Ellis aired on September 14th.