A proposal that would change the way the South Carolina’s schools chief is chosen advanced to a full state Senate committe on Friday.
The legislation would make state Education Superintendent a position appointed by the governor, changing it from the statewide elected office it is now. The state is one of 13 in the country with an elected education superintendent..
State Sen. Mike Fanning, D-Fairfield, believes it will give the governor a direct say in education policy. “You can’t hold the governor accountable because every governor is pro-public education,” Fanning said. “But then when they become governor they have no real authority to do anything,”
The Judiciary subcommittee’s chairman Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, said he believes there is a misunderstanding in the public that the governor has a direct role in education. “I think most people in the state feel like that the governor has some influence in education policy now. Where in reality the governor doesn’t,” he said. “And this in many respects would just confirm what most people think is already the structure.”
The proposed legislation now goes to the full Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration next week. The change would need voters’ approval to amend the state constitution. Current elected superintendent Molly Spearman is in favor of the change.