Vote Elizabeth Moffly For South Carolina Superintendent of Schools

News and Press.

Candidates give views on top challenge for state's schools
May 20, 2010

Question: Do you think giving parents vouchers or tax credits to send their children to private schools helps or hurts public schools?

Mount Pleasant business owner

ANSWER:Competition is healthy, incentivizing and inspirational in virtually every marketplace, even education. The S.C. Code of Laws has already been legislated to allow for public grants to fund private schools. It's not that we have bad education; it is that we have bad policies. Over 90 percent of S.C.'s children are in public education and, if S.C.'s public schools had child-friendly policies, there wouldn't be a need for this debate.

Public education policies offer limited choices, are not always student-friendly, nor have they proven to deliver a taxpayer return on investment in graduation rates. I believe in individual choice, free-market competition and limited government.

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Candidates give views on top challenge for state's schools
May 19, 2010

The State has asked the candidates for state education superintendent five questions about public education in the state. The answers will run in this space over the next four days. Voters go to the polls June 8 to choose the Democratic and Republican nominees for the office. Go to to read the responses in full and for more election coverage.

Mount Pleasant business owner

ANSWER:Graduation rates! S.C.'s high school graduation rate, depending on who is reporting, is in a range of between only 61-74 percent. The present educational system is failing our children. That dropout rate failure has a huge impact on our young people's quality of life and contributes heavily to increased welfare roles and crime incidents. Secondarily, states are ranked by their graduation rate, which has a major effect on economic development and attracting new business. A company and its employees considering relocation evaluate quality of education, largely based on the state's graduation rate. Presently, S.C. is ranked near the bottom. I will offer a vocational diploma in addition to the current college prep path, and I will increase the number of guidance counselors. This will provide more student choice and educational satisfaction & fewer dropouts.

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Candidates offer ways to increase graduation rate

Question: What is S.C.'s graduation rate? And what is the state not doing now that it should be to improve the number of kids who get a diploma?

Mount Pleasant business owner

ANSWER:South Carolina's graduation rate varies depending on the statistic used for calculation. Education Weekly 2010 Diplomas Count lists it at 66 percent, S.C. Department of Education reports it at 74 percent (which she notes as "suspect"), and the Southern Regional Education Foundation reports a 61 percent graduation rate.

S.C. only offers a "one-size-fits-all" college preparatory diploma. It is not relevant to all our students, perhaps not even to a majority. I will offer a vocational diploma using the Education Economic Development Act that supersedes the State Board of Education Diploma requirements.

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Candidates offer views on education
By Ron Barnett,
Thursday, April 15, 2010

GREENVILLE - Six candidates for state Superintendent of Education outlined their positions on issues ranging from financing of education to vouchers to school accountability in a forum Tuesday night at Furman University.

Republican Elizabeth Moffly, owner of a construction company and a seafood business in Mount Pleasant, said the state needs to reduce the number of credits required for graduation from 24 to 19 and use the money that would be saved to offer a wider variety of courses, including offering a vocational diploma.

She also called for a 10-point grading system, saying South Carolina's uniform grading scale, like its higher number of credits for graduation than most states have, puts the state at a disadvantage in competing with other states for business development.

Former U.S. Deputy Superintendent of Education Frank Holleman, who faces former S.C. State dean Tom Thompson for the Democratic nomination, drew the loudest applause in defending his opposition to vouchers. Furman political science professor Brent Nelsen had questioned whether the state needs to elect 'someone deeply invested in the status quo.'

'I've been working to reform public education for years,' he said. 'Working, not just talking about it when I'm running for state superintendent.'

Nelsen, a Republican, said he would work to create more individualized educational opportunities for students across the state, such as charter schools, magnet schools and special programs.

Thompson, a former math teacher and trainer of teachers and principals at the state Department of Education, said he sees the superintendent role as 'the state's top teacher.' He said he would work to create safe and secure schools, greater community involvement in schools and improvement of school facilities. Covering the politics of the Lowcountry, South Carolina and the Nation.

Republican Mick Zais, a retired Army brigadier general and president of Newberry College, touted his leadership abilities and his record of success, including raising Newberry to a ranking as one of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

Timothy Moultrie, a psychology teacher from Columbia and the only Libertarian in the race, called for doing away with financing education with property taxes and wants to attach education funding to individual students to 'harness the power of the market.'

Schools Chief Hopefuls Meet
Posted by Admin on Monday, 29 March 2010

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH -- Five of the seven candidates running to be the South Carolina Department of Education superintendent took on topics Thursday such as teacher merit pay, school funding reform and No Child Left Behind re-authorization before a crowd of 100 educators.

Candidates agreed on the need for comprehensive tax reform to fix school funding issues, control over curriculum, and that school operations should be decentralized and given back to districts and local schools. The candidates seemed to distinguish themselves only on the issues of school vouchers, improving graduation rates and restructuring curriculum at Thursday's forum hosted by Winthrop University's Center for Educator Recruitment Retention and Advancement, but appeared to agree on nearly every other issue.

Frank Holleman, the sole Democrat running for the job so far, spoke out against school vouchers, a topic that has been controversial for lawmakers. The vouchers would provide tax credits for parents who send their children to private school. "It would take hundreds of millions out of the state budget and out of classrooms," said Holleman, of Greenville, who has served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Education. "One thing must be crystal clear: The superintendent must be an advocate for public education and not schemes that undercut public education," he said.

Elizabeth Moffly, R-Awendaw, who owns Moffly Construction and Real Estate, supports vouchers and school choice. "I believe in a free market," said Moffly, who has also home-schooled her children. Moffly also talked about the state's 73.7 percent graduation rate and the need for providing multiple avenues for students to graduate. "What we found is students are dropping out mentally in middle school before physically dropping out in high school," she said. "If we want to have business coming into our states, we need to do something about the graduation rate. We have to give students different paths."

Moffly recommended dual college credits for core classes. She also said the state should bring its grading standards in line with other states. The credits needed for graduation also should be put in line with other states. One area to look at is potentially requiring two math classes instead of four for graduation, she said.

Kelly Payne, R-Irmo, a teacher at Dutch Fork High School talked about the link between education and employment. "No longer are we just competing with other states; we are competing internationally," she said. "We need other opportunities to get our kids ready for the work force. It's all about keeping rigor, relevance and building community."

Payne said as an educator she understood the issues firsthand. "I see challenges to overcome and not conditions to accept," she said. "We need to embrace [change]. This job, as we know, is not about ambitions. This job is about our kids. We need someone who understands this. But who better than a teacher?" Former Anderson 4 Superintendent Gary Burgess, R-Pendleton, wants change, too. He wants the state to look at doing away with the current standardized test called the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards, which replaced the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Tests. He said the state's current standardized tests were based on exams that were created before No Child Left Behind and were not designed equitably.

"We need to make sure we have a fair and reasonable measure," Burgess said. He also pushed for using the state's education reserve funds to help struggling school districts. "We are saving that money for a rainy day," Burgess said. "But if now is not a rainy day, I don't know what is. We need to use the funds that we have."

Mitchell Zais, R-Newberry, President of Newberry College, touted the importance of having good teachers in the classroom. He shared his personal experiences.

"At Newberry College, the dictum that guides our professors is 'Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care,'" Zais said. "Growing up, I was not always a good student. I was always in remedial learning groups. Only when I became an adult that I knew what dyslexia was. It was because of the teachers who cared I was able to overcome disability. Teachers don't have jobs, they don't have a professions, like soldiers, like [priests] we have a calling to serve ... to make the world a better place. I'm here to do that."

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