Former Upstate teacher and football coach, state representative Mike Anthony is set to announce that he’ll run for the Democratic nomination for State Superintendent of Education. Anthony represents District 42 in Union and Laurens Counties.
He will formally announce his run for the statewide post Thursday. A day before his formal announcement, Anthony spoke with South Carolina Radio Network. He says it’s time for a teacher advocate to take the helm of State Superintendent.
“I think out teachers have lost their seat at the table. I just don’t think the professionals in the education world actually have a voice anymore. So I think it’s very important that they have someone who will be their advocate who has been where they are.”
Thursday morning Anthony will formally announce his candidacy with speaking engagements in Union and Columbia, and at 6:30 pm at North Charleston City Hall.
Anthony says if elected as State Superintendent, he will visit each of the 82 school districts to gain a perspective on the uniqueness of each district.
“I’m going to sit down and listen to the teachers and the administrators in these local districts because education is like politics, it should be local. The majority of the money per child is local money; so it should be what fits the local school there.”
Anthony is currently a member of the powerful budget writing House Ways and Means Committee.
Anthony says he like to improve the communication between parents and students. He says he likes the idea that a number of the state’s public charter schools are implementing to get parents and teachers engaged in the education of each child.
“I like the idea of a parent signing a contract with a teacher, and saying I’m going to support my kid. You call me.” “I think that engagement empowers the teacher to know that they are communicating with one another. That is another factor I think we’re missing with parents and administrators.”
A former athletics director and head football coach at Union High school, Anthony led Union High to three state titles.
Anthony says he knows that teacher morale has been low for some time now as they hear from critics that they are failing. Anthony says the bottom line is that the numbers of pupils enrolling this fall shows that the majority of parents in South Carolina continue to put their faith in public schools to educate their children.
“We have 700,000 in our traditional public schools and in our public charter schools who have chosen already our local public schools, 65,000 have chosen the private school and home school situations. It’s pretty obvious to me that the numbers show that a lot of people are happy with their local schools, or at least that’s their choice.”
Anthony believes that getting parents, teachers and administrators communicating, engaged, and more involved will work to improve the education experience of each school child in South Carolina.