Vote Elizabeth Moffly For South Carolina Superintendent of Schools

Charleston Chamber Q&A.


Personal Philosophy and Vision

1. Why do you want to be a member of the Charleston County School Board?

I want to be a member because it’s the only way to improve our public schools at a countywide level. I am tired of hearing people talk about the state of education: I want to do something about it. As an elected trustee to the board I would be empowered to address policies that are in the best interest of our children.

2. What do you see as the top three issues facing Charleston County School District?

1) Accountability for student achievement, teacher performance and instructional quality.

2) Transparency of taxpayers money to renew trust by placing all spending, human resources and payrolls on line and conducting an external forensic audit.

3) Local control of educational decisions by establishing a customer service office of school choice.

3.Realizing your role as a policy maker for the District, please outline the steps you would take to ensure that all of our schools match and/or exceed the performance levels of the “best” schools in the county.

I’m a firm believer in looking at the bigger picture to assess researched based, best practices, and lessons learned. When you keep doing the same thing and keep getting the same disappointing results then you need to do something different. For instance, we need to realign our standards to be age, grade and developmentally appropriate. Reading is the hardest thing we learn to do and most children are not confident or proficient readers until the third grade. The idea that all children need to read before kindergarten is not realistic. Kindergarten has become first grade. We expect children to perform out of sequence with their human growth and development. The standards of learning which is instructional and directly related to teacher performance and student achievement is ‘an inch deep and a mile wide.’ We have quantity of “standards” but no qualitative explanation. We need to eliminate redundancy and duplication across curricula as well as integrate reading, writing and math. We need to get back to the basics.

4. Which of the following statements captures your opinion? (Check all that apply)

I have included the two statements that captures my opinion:

Schools need to understand that their job includes the preparation of the future workforce.

Most schools have the resources they need; they need to re-deploy resources more effectively.
Organizational, fiscal and leadership skills

1. What experiences have you had which qualify you to oversee an organization the size and complexity of the Charleston County School District.

I am the President of Moffly Construction and Real Estate and understand the business side of balanced budgets, return on investments and customer service. Education is a people business of customer service that has failed to deliver customer satisfaction. I have spent over 15 years in Charleston County Schools with my four children and I am well versed in the rules and regulations of policy and procedure from the District to the state and federal levels. Its not that we have bad education but we have bad policies that are not in the best interest of our children, parents, and teachers.

In 2006, I ran for the State Superintendent of Education because no one was addressing the core issues we face. I had four specific issues:

1) No Child Left Behind had implemented a one-size-fits all approach and we were teaching to the test of standardization and conformity.
2) I wanted to replace the PACT as we were testing kids above grade level.
3) Resources in reading for struggling students.
4) Standards of Learning are not age grade or developmentally appropriate. We have quantity and not quality and our children were not getting a strong foundation in reading, writing and math.

In 2007, I was appointed to serve on Dr. Jim Rex’s Transition Team on the Committee of Choice. It was my initiative to see the establishment of The Office of School Choice so parent’s teachers and students had a voice and choice and in the educational options that were in the children’s best interest. I was also appointed to serve on the Review of Academic Achievement Committee to evaluate under performing schools that were being faced with state take over.

The only two state initiatives that have come out of the Department of Education; The Replacement of the PACT test and Dr. Rex’s signature Office of School Choice came at my suggesting. The most recent development is the reading initiative for literacy at the local and state level. The District as well as the state has decided that schools are responsible for the teaching of reading. I would like that policy to include the teaching of writing and math as well.

In 2010, I ran for the State Superintendent of Education and had a field of 6 candidates in the primary. I made it into the runoff and won 25 out of 46 counties and received 46% of the vote. I had a specific platform concerning policies that had been legislated by had been poorly implemented. The universal idea of economic development, jobs and education come down to the fact that states are ranked by their high school graduation. South Carolina has consistently ranked at the bottom. If we want businesses to move to this state, then we have to something about our graduation rate. Those families who are considering moving here will judge the quality of education based on this one indicator. Our state has a one size-fits-all high school diploma that is not applicable or relevant to all our students. Our diploma is considered an advance diploma by most state standards. Most states have multiple diplomas. I proposed a 4- point plan to change specific policies:

1) The adoption of a vocational diploma so kids could move on to industry standard certification programs at our Technical Colleges. I was going to use policies stipulated in the Education Economic Development Act to implement the need for this diploma.
2) Align the high school diploma credits of 24 with the Commission of Higher Education requirements of 19. These additional 5 credits are non-essential elective courses that cost over $7 million dollars annually.
3) Change the South Carolina Grading Scale from a 7-point scale to a 10 -point scale. The rest of the country including all the major think tanks and the U.S. Department of Education supports this standard of measurement. The problem is that an 80 is a C in SC and the exact same 80 is a B for out of state students. Out of state students are getting into our Colleges while at the same time SC students are being denied admission. Higher Education is well aware of this fact but does nothing because they get higher tuition. As a result fewer SC kids qualify for the educational lottery scholarships.
4) Align our standards of learning to be age, grade and developmentally appropriate so teachers can teach so children can learn the fundamentally basics of reading, writing and math.

 

2. What are the components necessary for effective board decisions?

Neither the District office nor the School board should adopt a dictatorial position. We should use collaboration and teamwork for all parties concerned.

School funding

1. Part of the on-going debate in our state and community is whether public schools are adequately funded. What is your position on this issue?

Equitable funding has been the issue and one I had hoped would have been addressed after the passage of Act 388. The problem with Act 388 is the General Assembly never appropriated the one-cent sales tax to go into secondary education and instead put it in the general fund. Money has yet to fix the achievement problem. I feel schools are adequately funded and that we need to audit both the state and District to eliminate non-essential services and programs that are not directly linked to effective student achievement.

2. How will you ensure that the District has the funding required to implement all necessary educational programs?

I am worried not so much that District has enough funds but how those funds are allocated. I want to start with an external forensic audit to identify duplication and redundancy of administration, non-essential services and programs that are not effective and are costly. I would request competitive bids for any and all projects, programs and services to ensure we are getting market value. The expiration of the Tax Increment Districts will be in effect in 2014 bringing back our educational dollars for the purpose of education.

 

Governance Style/Board Standards

1. In your own words, what is the appropriate role of a school board member?

School board members should not be a self appointed expert on anything but should be open to finding and discovering solutions from any individual in the greater community at large.

2. What is the appropriate relationship between the school board and the superintendent? Please provide specific examples of how you would address personnel and budget issues.

The school board is elected to represent the citizens and the superintendent works for the school board to implement stated policies. Effective leadership requires visionary members in all aspects of governance. Individual schools most important leader is the principle. We must search out and hire the best and the brightest for this position. The principle sets the environment for the rest of the school including the selection of teachers and resources necessary to be a productive learning center. The primary role of our community schools is to address the concerns of that specific community. Consolidation has had a huge negative impact by creating a large central board that is not accessible or accountable to the taxpaying stakeholders. I would like to reinvigorate the authority of our constituent boards. In doing so we should allow for autonomy in budget allocations for equitable funding of each district. I would like to see more guidance counselors in lieu of vice principles who’s primary title is disciplinarian. I think we waste too much money on these positions when you have 10 principles for one school. I also want to address the growth of hiring school resource officers who are misused and misplaced in the schools. We treat are children like criminals and allow the growth of the school to prison pipeline through zero tolerance policies for adolescent behavior. Schools to often abuse and neglect the purpose of disturbing the learning environment, which was initially, directed towards outside interference from the general public. By reforming what we do in schools we will save the taxpayer millions that we spend on the Department of Juvenile Justice and the court system.
School Choice:

1. What is your definition of choice and how does it apply to this district?

I want schools to give parents, teachers and students a choice and a voice in the educational options and resources available. It is my vision to take school choice to the next level. I propose establishing The Office of School Choice by reorganizing the District office. Education is a people business of customer service and that requires customer satisfaction. In order to deliver a service the customer needs to know what services are available. This would include charter, magnet, traditional, single gender, virtual, home schooling, Montessori, private schools, dual credits, technical schools, General Education Diploma’s, credit exemption, or credit recovery.

2. What is your position on Charter Schools?

I am in favor.

3. What is your position on school vouchers?

I believe in free market enterprise and favor all choice options. The General Assembly passed legislation in the SC Code of Laws Title 59 Chapter 41 Grants to students attending private school. The state board has refused to make the rules.

Advocacy

1. Explain your understanding of what it means to be a “Trustee” of the Charleston County School District.

As a “Trustee” I will be elected to represent the will of the people and will be a good steward of the taxpayers money.

2. How will you advocate for the needs of the schools with the Charleston County Legislative Delegation and with state and federal educational officials?

I will work closely with all stakeholders in assessing our needs and I will address them on a need be bases with the varied governmental bodies.

3.Do you support the sales tax referendum to fund school facilities that is on the ballot this November? Why or why not?

We are in The Great Recession and we must deal with recession economics. The idea that schools are recession proof while the private sector is losing their jobs and dealing with foreclosure is a bad time to expect more money from the stakeholders. If we had asked for the 5 projects that we needed versus 14 from our wish list of projects I would have been inclined to support that referendum.

Accountability

1. What measure should be used to evaluate the job performance of the school board?

Accountability for student achievement through child friendly policies, transparency to the taxpayer by being good stewards to live within our means of a balanced budget and promoting trust by performing a forensic audit and placing all transactions on-line and giving local control back to the communities through the constituent boards for customer service.

2. What is the appropriate relationship between the School Board and the Superintendent?

The board is responsible for setting the policies and the superintendent is responsible for execution of stated policies.

3. Give a letter grade and a brief narrative of your assessment of the performance of the Superintendent.

P- The board has authorized all policymaking and decisions to the superintendent and she has directed the board on her policies. This is in direct conflict with the purpose of the board, which is to represent their constituents concerns.

4. What measures should be used to evaluate the progress of the district in meeting its goals?

First, we need to prioritize those goals and publish them for public input and address any and all concerns of our stakeholders. Then we need to execute the goals we have collectively chosen to be performed. Successful implementation and the restoration of trust could then be measured by a public evaluation on meeting and implementation of stated goals.

Personal information

Name: Elizabeth Moffly

Address: 1996 Ronlin Farm Road Awendaw, SC 29429

Email: emoffly@aol.com Phone 843 296-6937

Employer: Moffly Construction and Real Estate

Highest educational degree earned and name of institution: South Carolina Realtor, South Carolina Real Estate Commission

Other elected offices you have held or sought: South Carolina State Superintendent of Education

Current community involvement and professional affiliations: Mount Pleasant Recreation Soccer Coach for co-ed 13-18 yr olds, Home School Legal Defense, Governor Appointed Guardian Ad Litem, PTA, Toastmasters, Charleston Trident Board of Realtors, Center for Women in International Trade, South Eastern Institute for Women, East Cooper Republican Women.



Paid for by Elizabeth Moffly For Charleston County School Board. Copyright 2010.
1996 Ronlin Farm Road • Suite 102 • Awendaw, SC • 29429 •
Ph: 843-296-6937 • emoffly@aol.com