Political comedian Stephen Colbert announced Thursday that he plans to fulfill every existing grant request made by South Carolina public school teachers on DonorsChoose.org. The surprise announcement was made by Colbert, a South Carolina native, during a live video feed to Alexander Elementary School in Greenville. Colbert was joined by Damon Qualls, a teacher at the school, when he made the announcement over video from New York City.
Colbert is partnering with Share Fair Nation and ScanSource to funnel 800,000 dollars to almost 1,000 projects in over 375 South Carolina schools. In Alexander Elementary School, where 100 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, nearly 4,000 dollars in grant money will be allocated for items like educational books, bulletin boards, pencils and new carpeting, as well as for a trampoline and a treadmill for sensory therapy. Other schools in the state will receive a range of materials including iPads, DVD publishers, laptop computers, digital cameras, and physical education equipment.
A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities study found that South Carolina was one of seven states that had cut per-pupil spending by more than 15 percent between 2008 and 2014. Not coincidentally, all seven of those education budget slashing states were under Republican control during most of that time period. Joining South Carolina in savagely cutting education spending between 2008 and 2014, were fellow Republican run states Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Fortunately, for South Carolina educators, comedian Stephen Colbert has stepped in to pick up the slack where the GOP-controlled state government has failed. Shamefully, GOP politicians across the country have placed tax cuts for the wealthy above educating children, on their list of priorities. Ironically, it takes the generosity of a high-income liberal comedian to rescue South Carolina’s public schools from the state’s education slashing Republican-controlled legislature.
Stephen Colbert should be commended for stepping up on behalf of South Carolina teachers, to fund important grants that enhance the quality of education for the state’s public school children. Funding educational grants is one way to invest in creating a better future for the state of South Carolina and the nation.
Republican politicians continue to focus on tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, including children. Fortunately, individuals like Stephen Colbert are doing their part to help America’s underfunded public schools. Now if only our political leaders had as much common sense and compassion as a liberal comedian, we might be able to reorient our budget priorities and actually build a better future for the nation.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.