Elections have consequences. That's why we must elect champions of Public Education.
South Carolina’s November general election will determine who is elected as governor, state Superintendent of Education, U.S. Senate, seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, South Carolina House of Representative seats, and many other statewide and local races.
Ways to vote
- Early, in-person voting: Starting this year, all registered voters can vote early and in person at county voter registration and elections offices. Early voting will take place from Oct. 24th to Nov. 5th. Voting centers will be open 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday during early voting.
- Voting in person on Election Day: The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Absentee voting: Absentee ballots are available to only some voters, including people 65 and older, those who are sick or physically disabled and those who will be out of town on Election Day. You’ll need a witness signature to cast an absentee ballot. The state election commission’s website features a full list of those eligible to cast an absentee ballot.
Check your voter registration information and polling place. Register now to be eligible to vote in the November 8 election.
- Online: Use the state’s online voter registration portal. You’ll need a valid South Carolina driver’s license or ID card from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Or download and complete a registration form, and then fax or email it to your county board of voter registration. Register or update your voter information online by October 9 to vote in the general election.
- By mail: Download and complete a registration form, and then mail it to your county board of voter registration. Or call your local registration office and ask that a form be mailed to you. Your form must be postmarked by October 11 if you wish to vote in the general election.
- In person: Go to your county board of voter registration by October 7 to vote in the general election. You can also register while receiving services at your local DMV or at several other types of public assistance agencies (National Voter Registration Act agencies).
We need to make sure that we speak up and speak out . . . show that we are unafraid to use our expertise and inform them.
The SCEA Recommendation Process
The SCEA Fund for Children & Public Education (The SCEA FCPE) is a Political Action Committee (PAC) established and funded by members of The SCEA to recommend and support public education champions for local, state, and federal office.
The PAC recommendation process is member-driven, and candidates running for The SCEA-PAC-recommended office have the opportunity to seek the recommendation of the The SCEA-PAC.
Candidates seeking the The SCEA-PAC recommendation engage with members in a number of ways, including the completion of a candidate questionnaire, and participating in a question and answer session with members during the The SCEA-PAC screening interviews.
State Superintendent Candidates
The SCEA PAC recommends Lisa Ellis for the office of State Superintendent of Education.
To aid supporters of Public Schools in better understanding the positions of the Democratic and Republican candidates, The SCEA sent questionnaires to all candidates in the primary.
The SCEA's recommended candidate Lisa Ellis's questionnaire is outlined in the chart below. The other candidate Ellen Weaver did not respond or return the questionnaire.
We also encourage you to open Lisa's full responses below the chart.
Lisa Ellis - Responses below
Educator Raises: If elected, will you support annual pay increases for all educators? Yes.
Support Staff Raise: Similarly, will you support annual pay raises for non - certified Educational Support Personnel (ESP), which include bus drivers, teacher's aides, clerical, food service, and custodial staff? Yes.
Educator Retirement: Some legislators have proposed that the educator pension (defined benefit) system be converted to a plan similar to 401K/403b-style (defined contribution). The change would convert educator retirement from a system that guarantees individuals a monthly income to a system that requires educators to invest individual funds subject to the performance of the stock market. Which type of retirement system do you support and why? How do you propose that the state rectify the growing pension fund deficit? The state retirement system should be a defined benefit. Employees should not have to worry about the volatility of the stock market. The General Assembly should convert it back. I do not know at this point how to solve the deficit. But I am sure there are experts who do.
Staffing Shortages: How do you propose that the state train, attract, and retain qualified educators? The state needs to increase salaries, add steps to the salary schedule, and propose a new salary schedule. The mandates need to be reviewed, and ineffective mandates need to be removed from teachers. We also need to innovate the teacher certification process.
Alternative Certification: Do you support alternative pathways to teaching certification? (Ex: Teach for America, PACE)? Yes.
Non-certified Educators: Do you support allowing noncertified individuals to teach? No.
Class Sizes: Current standard is 35-1 student/teacher ratio for high schools & 30-1 ratio for elementary schools. If elected, will you support smaller class sizes? Yes.
Unencumbered Time: Will you support providing teachers with guaranteed unencumbered/protected time every day? Yes.
Contracts: Will you support a teacher's right to give 30 days' notice and to be held harmless from breach of contract? Yes.
Testing: Do you support revamping, whether by reducing or eliminating, the high stakes testing regimen currently in place? Yes.
Safety: How do you propose to ensure safety in our schools for everyone? We need to provide wrap around services (mental health, social workers, more school counselors, psychologists, etc.) to help students before they reach the crisis stage.
Social-Emotional Learning: Do you support making an investment in programs and curriculum that encourages the development of social and emotional learning? Absolutely. This is part of teaching the whole child. Students need to be able to understand and label their emotions to function successfully in society.
Vouchers: What is your position on vouchers and tuition tax credits for parochial/ private schools? Absolutely no. Public funds need to stay with public entities!
Charter Schools: What is your position on charter schools in South Carolina? We need to provide opportunities for all students. If a student can be successful in a public, charter, then we have to give them the opportunity
School Funding: What do you believe is the most equitable way to fund South Carolina's public schools? What is your perspective on and solutions for the rural/ urban funding gap in South Carolina? The state has to make up the funding that the locals can’t.
Early Literacy Programs: Do you support state funding for expanded early intervention literacy programs? Yes.
Vocational Education: Do you support an expansion of our state's vocational education system? Yes.
Please elaborate on why or why not and how it should be accomplished.
We need to offer every student an opportunity to be successful as an adult. Vocational education is a crucial part of that.
Please feel free to share any additional information that you believe would assist The SCEA in its evaluation of your candidacy.
If elected, my # 1 goal would be to recruit and retain high quality school staff for students. We have to get teachers back to the classroom.