Friday, February 10, 2012

South Carolina relies on national charity for homeless children

They're not our state lawmakers' children, so I suppose it's reasonable that our lawmakers have no interest in providing for them.

That's the logic that applies to providing adequate funding for children enrolled in public schools, and it appears to be the logic applied to South Carolina's homeless children, too.

The national charity Feed The Children is distributing 1,900 backpacks and supplies to homeless school children from South Carolina.

Feed The Children is giving the backpacks to officials of the State Department of Education on Friday in Columbia. They will pass the backpacks on to representatives who work with homeless students in more than 60 school districts throughout the state.

O, fudge. For a moment there, I was hopeful that homeless children might benefit from this out-of-state charity, until I read that the out-of-state charity is turning over its donations to the Department of Education. Does that mean Superintendent Mick Zais and Jay Ragley will get to decide where the backpacks go?

If so, no homeless children may ever see them. Or, they'll get them late. These things have to be considered carefully by the higher-ups in the Rutledge Building, and Zais isn't exactly on the job five days a week.

Feed The Children spokesman Mark Opgrande says the backpacks are filled with school supplies, non-perishable food, personal hygiene items like toothpaste and combs, and children's books.

Opgrande says Feed The Children is working with Staples, Inc., and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth on the project to distribute 150,000 backpacks during the current school year.

Better plan: Ask local superintendents to appoint a teacher representative to receive and coordinate distribution of the backpacks directly from the charity. Teachers know how to get things done, and they have a much better notion of which children need these supplies.

I doubt our state superintendent knows any children who attend public schools.

And why should he? They're not his children.

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