February was filled with several issues on the floor of the General Assembly that stirred the passions of our two opposing political parties.
I was at the heart of one of these controversial debates as I headed the floor fight to pass the Transparency and Integrity in Education Act.
As chairman of the K-12 subcommittee of the S.C. House Standing Committee on Education and Public Works, it was my task to get the bill (H.3728) passed. It took six long hours of debate, but our Republican position succeeded with only a few added amendments in an 83-34 vote.
The prevailing Republican position behind the bill is that tax-paying parents in South Carolina should expect that their children are educated in a setting that is free from ideological indoctrination from liberal leaning teachings like Critical Race Theory.
I understand that the bill is not going to make everyone happy, but I do believe it will provide for the teaching of a broad scope of historical studies that includes both inspiring and disgraceful events which have occurred in mankind’s past both across the globe and here in our nation.
I am confident that my colleagues in the Senate, along with Gov. Henry McMaster, are all committed to making sure our students receive a high-quality education that is not clouded by bias, and that all parents are assured the utmost input and transparency.
Although the bill reflects a conventional Republican position, part of the approved legislation is an amendment from the Democrats that “the fact-based and historically accurate discussion of the history of slavery” is included.
The bill declares teaching discrimination against anyone because of their race, sex, ethnicity, religion or national origin is objectionable, and further prohibits teaching that any race, gender or ethnicity is inherently superior to another.
Additionally, the bill allows parents the opportunity to have a stronger voice in their student’s curriculum with proper procedures for filing complaints if they deem such objections necessary.
Included is an extensive outline of a complaint process if a parent. student or employee of the school believes their school has a violation. Only current students, parents and employees of the school in question are permitted to file a complaint.
Another bill that has moved forward is expected to make South Carolina a safer place. This would be done by stopping the revolving door in our prisons for repeat criminals.
This bill (H.3532) passed out of the Criminal Laws Subcommittee and then quickly through the Judiciary Committee. The bill creates an additional criminal offense and penalty for committing an additional violent crime while the previous offender is out on bond. It would result in an automatic revocation of the offender’s bond for the first violent crime and an additional mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years.
Jeff Bradley is the representative for District 123 in the State House of Representatives.