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Camden native announces for S.C. Superintendant of Education

Posted: February 20, 2014 5:47 p.m.
Updated: February 21, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Camden native Dr. Don Jordan, a full professor in the University of South Carolina’s (USC) College of Arts and Sciences since 1992, recently announced his candidacy for S.C. Superintendent of Education. Jordan will run as a Republican.

In a statement released Tuesday, Jordan focused on more than a dozen education issues.

“One of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education,” Jordan said. “Education belongs in the hands of our parents, local officials, local educational agencies and states.”

He said he wants to honor teachers, reach out to all students, review standards with teachers in charge, review student testing methods, reach out to poorer areas of the state and motivate students “showing them they have every opportunity to be as successful as they desire to be.”

Jordan said he will make an effort to visit every school district during his first year in office.

“My commitment is to the teachers and to working with the legislator’s and governor’s office to make responsible changes that can work,” he said.

In his statement, Jordan tackled Common Core implementation, specifically in language arts and math.

“The implementation … has already directed South Carolina schools to purchase and begin using textbooks in language arts and math, with material focused on specific Common Core standards,” Jordan said. “New curriculum standards will be designed for South Carolina students that will augment and coordinate with the content of the adopted text books. The state cannot afford to purchase new textbooks at this late stage.”

Jordan said Common Core “disregards the states’ rights of autonomy,” restricting students and teachers to perform at “calculated and non-personal levels.”

“While core standards are necessary, a federal Common Core encroaches on states’ rights, limits students, and restricts innovative and progressive teaching methods,” he said. “Common Core could become an incentive-based mandate from the federal government in order to receive state funding. However, we need to work with the state advocates and developers of Common Core to make sure the original good intent of Common Core is not lost.”

Jordan then went on to speak about science standards.

“Currently, the 2005 South Carolina Science Academic Standards are in effect in our state,” Jordan said. “The National Science Education Standards, produced by the National Research Council and published in 1996 by the National Academy Press in Washington, D.C., was the foundation of the 2000 South Carolina science standards and continues as the primary basis for the 2005 standards.”

Jordan noted that there is currently a review of the “South Carolina Academic Standards and Performance Indicators for Science,” which he said contains academic standards in science for the state’s K-12 students.

“Those standards do not prescribe classroom activities, materials, or instructional strategies, approaches, or practices. The standards are not a curriculum,” he said.

Jordan said he supports the operating procedures for a review and revision of all state academic standards jointly developed by staff at the State Department of Education and the Education Oversight Committee (EOC).

Other items in Jordan’s platform include:

• supporting teacher accountability and evaluation, but opposing assigning A to F letter grades to teachers;

• creating incentives for teachers to teach in poorer districts;

• supporting pay raises for all of South Carolina’s teachers;

• finding long-term solutions to tuition increases he says made South Carolina unaffordable to most parents and students;

• creating and implementing “effective instructional readiness programs” to ensure all students are reading at grade level;

• opposing state mandates to hold back children if they are not reading on grade level by the third grade;

• forming partnerships between parents of underrepresented children in school and organizations that encourage parents to read to their children and teach them how to coach their children to read;

• providing options for high quality education for every student in the state;

• supporting charter schools;

• providing support for and complete implementation of 4-year-old kindergarten in South Carolina;

• placing an emphasis on education technology instruction in all schools;

• modeling schools so “their successes can be used to inspire improvement in other schools;”

• advocating for children with special needs to ensure they receive appropriate services;

• supporting programs that engage elementary and middle school students with activities that result in healthier children and decrease obesity in the state; and

• supporting giving students access to material on recycling.

About Jordan

Jordan is a member Shandon Baptist Church and is active in outreach there. He played high school basketball (All State), and baseball at Camden High School and basketball at USC, 1961-1964. He was a page for the S.C. Legislative Council in the State House, 1961-1965.

Jordan is married to the former Susan Fraylick, who teaches at Brennen Elementary School in Columbia. He has one daughter and two sons: Elizabeth, who is married to Ben Barron, a U.S. Marine Corps warrant officer; Frank (Drew), who served five years with the U.S. Navy and is currently a USC senior majoring in biology; and Kaley, a local artist, photographer and musician.

The dates for candidates to file for office are March 16-30. This year’s primaries will be held June 10; the general election is slated for Nov. 4.

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