State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais today issued an announcement regarding his candidacy for the 2014 election.
Dr. Zais said, “When I ran for this office, I pledged to serve no more than two terms. As it has been for some, my campaign was never a stepping stone to higher office. Rather, it was the culmination of a lifetime of service.”
“As an infantry officer in the United States Army for 31 years, I served my soldiers, my unit, and my country,” said Dr. Zais. “As President of Newberry College, I served my students, my campus, and my Christian faith.”
“And as South Carolina’s State Superintendent of Education, I serve our students, parents, and taxpayers.”
“For the last 45 years of my life, my family has made enormous sacrifices to support my careers, moving around the country and the world many times,” said Dr. Zais. “They mean more to me than anything on this planet.”
“That is why, after much prayer and thoughtful consideration with my family, I have decided not to seek re-election as State Superintendent of Education,” said Dr. Zais.
Dr. Zais added, “This was a very difficult decision. I was preparing for, and looking forward to, a re-election campaign. I’m confident I would have run a strong campaign and would have been re-elected.”
“There remains much work left to be done,” said Dr. Zais. “But the whole conversation about education in South Carolina has changed since I entered office. Then, most were defending the current system, fighting to maintain the status quo. Today, nearly everyone recognizes that the one-size-fits-all system just doesn’t work for far too many students.”
“People often ask me how are we doing in education,” said Dr. Zais. “My response is supporters of the current system defend it at all costs. Others seek to tear it down without looking at the data. The truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.”
Dr. Zais offered some facts for consideration:
- The on-time graduation rate is at its highest level since 2004 – 77.5%.
- The state’s average ACT score is at its highest level ever. And the gap between South Carolina and the national average has never been narrower.
- The Class of 2013 earned $1.15 billion college scholarships – a new record.
Dr. Zais said, “The credit for these accomplishments goes to students and parents, as well as their teachers and principals. These aren’t just statistics. Behind every number is a child with dreams and aspirations. We must never forget this.”
Dr. Zais concluded, “I commit to the public that I will spend each day, until the end of my term, working to transform education. I will continue to visit schools and continue to advocate to the General Assembly on behalf of students, parents, and taxpayers. And I will continue to tell the truth about the state of education in South Carolina.”
Dr. Zais was elected State Superintendent of Education on November 2, 2010. Dr. Zais won the Republican Party primary in a contest with five other Republican candidates. He is the second Republican ever to win election to this office. In the General Election he received 51% of all votes cast, defeating four other candidates and winning a majority of counties. Dr. Zais led his closest competitor, Democrat Frank Holleman, by more than 108,000 votes.