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EDlection2018: South Carolina Voters Reject Proposal to Allow Governor to Appoint State Schools Chief

By Carolyn Phenicie | November 6, 2018

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

South Carolina voters rejected a proposal to change their state constitution to make the superintendent of education an appointed, rather than elected, position, according to the Post and Courier, the newspaper in Charleston.

As of 10:45 p.m. local time, about 60 percent of voters had said no to the change, with nearly 55 percent of precincts reporting.

Most states allow either the governor or state board of education to appoint the state superintendent, while the remainder — including, for the time being, South Carolina — elect leaders to the job.

Proponents of the proposal, led by the state’s business community, had made a last-minute effort to educate voters and push for passage of the amendment. A late October poll found voters split on the change, with more support once voters got more information about the change.

Advocates had been pushing for the change for decades, arguing that it puts responsibility for education back in the governor’s hands, opens the job to candidates who might be excellent education leaders but were unwilling to engage in a statewide campaign, and reduces friction between governors and superintendents with different political bents.

Opponents, primarily the state teachers union, had argued that the state deserves an independent voice for K-12 education, accountable to the voters directly.

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

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