Perhaps the most important race on the ballot in November is for the person who will be the next state superintendent of education.

Lisa Ellis

We strongly recommend that you vote for the teacher in the race, Democratic candidate Lisa Ellis of Lexington County. Unlike her main challenger, she has completed all of the requirements to be able to take office on day one.

And more than that, Ellis understands in the core of her being that public education is vitally important for the future success of our state. She is pushing for a high-quality education for all of South Carolina’s students, not just the “minimally-adequate” education funded for years by the state legislature. Ellis is keenly aware that the state superintendent of education’s main job is to support public education, not tear it down by siphoning away public monies for private schools.

This year’s choice for voters is, quite frankly, simple. You can vote for Ellis, who has experience and expertise about teaching our children and who wants to reform and strengthen public education, or you can vote for a candidate who wants to turn the constitution on its head and use public money for private schools.

An active educator for 22 years, Ellis got busy four years ago with a new effort — bringing together the state’s teachers as a powerful new advocacy force to push for teacher pay raises. After rallies at the Statehouse and countless meetings by teachers with lawmakers, SC for Ed got its way, as reflected with big new raises in the state’s current budget.

But more needs to be done, Ellis will tell you.

“My goal is to really affect change that helps teachers and students in South Carolina,” she told the City Paper recently. That means asking hard questions about why too many things are still being done the way they’ve always been done — a recipe for continued low education metrics in a state that’s already got too many challenges. Among the change Ellis envisions is to challenge state education mandates that have been in place for years
and may no longer work.

“I’m all about asking questions and drilling down to what the root problem is,” Ellis said. “That’s what I teach my students when we’re working on criticism and leadership.”

If she wins in November, Ellis will have another big job — to attract more young people in the teaching profession to fix a continuing shortage. The state currently is short more than 1,100 public school teachers, which causes classroom sizes to swell. So who better to do that than someone who knows what teachers want and what teachers need?

Bottom line: Lisa Ellis is all about improving outcomes for South Carolina’s students and teachers. We’re thankful she’s running. And we encourage you to help her to win.

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