Education community unites to register teachers, offer incentives

September 6, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – September 5, 2008 – RISE SC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming, improving, and supporting public education, announced yesterday the launch of a major initiative to register educators for the November election.  The “GOAL: 100%” initiative provides the opportunity for schools to earn $1,000 if 100% of its certified staff is registered to vote before the deadline of October 4, 2008.

RISE SC Executive Director Carrie Rachel Dean, said: “Participating schools with 100% of their certified staff registered to vote will be entered in drawing for a $1,000 prize.  Ten schools will be drawn.  We hope this added incentive will inspire our educators to do what every South Carolinian should do – participate in the electoral process.” 

RISE SC board member and former SC State Teacher of the Year, Traci Young Cooper, echoing Dean’s sentiment, stated that teachers must “lead the way” in voter registration and participation.

“For us, it is not only our civic duty; it is our professional responsibility to vote,” Cooper said. “We stand on the front lines every day implementing policies decided right here at the State House. And we are responsible for setting the example for our students, instilling in them the values of Democracy.” 

Dean and Cooper were joined by representatives from several of the partnering organizations, including State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex who cited his own close election as an example that every vote counts.

“I won the statewide election for state superintendent of education by a total of 455 votes out of 1.1 million, so every vote really does count. And it’s never been more true than this upcoming election,” he said.

Cooper agreed that the involvement of educators in this year’s election was crucial.  “Our public schools are under assault,” she said.  “They are being attacked by out-of-state special interest groups whose only investments in South Carolina are the enormous campaign contributions they are making to influence our lawmakers.”  Cooper called on her colleagues statewide to “join RISE SC in this initiative and settle for no less than the goal of 100%.”

For more information on RISE SC and the GOAL: 100% initiative, visit