The Beaufort Gazette on 'Minimally adequate' education, July 15:

As the dog days of summer approach, some South Carolinians are assuming more than a lethargic attitude toward the education of the state's younger residents. They want more than a constitutional guarantee of "minimally adequate" education.

Teachers and principals often discuss expectation. They expect students to perform well. They want them to be above average. Parents expect teachers and students to do well. They want both groups to perform above average.

Now a group is pushing a petition drive that should tell state legislators that they expect them to perform well — above average — when it comes to funding education to provide resources

But will nearly one-fourth of South Carolina's residents sign a petition seeking to change the wording of the S.C. Constitution from "minimally adequate" to "high quality"? Will legislators listen to 1 million people even if they do sign the petition and put the issue to a vote? ...

An investment in education will make a significant change, but several other things need to happen, too. Expectations shouldn't be just from taxpayers to government. Many groups are involved with the education of a child: the students, parents, teachers, administrators and the public at large. The expectation should be that everyone will participate fully, which would mean a change in student attitude and discipline and educator support and teacher dedication to being prepared each day to engage students. ...

So everyone has much to think about this summer and much to do this fall. But "minimally adequate" doesn't cut it.

The (Hilton Head) Island Packet on lawmaker's spending priorities, July 9:

It doesn't take long in going through the latest list of "competitive" grant recipients to realize that our lawmakers have a parochial, self-serving view of their jobs.

How else to explain allowing $10.7 million to go to projects that include a balloon festival, a Civil War battle re-enactment, a Christmas "prelude festival" and this gem, "inflatables to be used at the Western Weekend Festival, Trunk & Treat, Kids Camp, etc."

Collectively these projects add up to money better spent elsewhere, including paying for fuel to run our school buses and food for prisoners. That's true even if you think an individual project merits support. ...

Lawmakers added $19.2 million for fuel for buses at the end of this year's session, cutting the projected deficit to $23.3 million. A commitment to spend $30 million this year, part of a plan to replace our aging school bus fleet over the next 15 years, was slashed to $10.7 million. But even that money is at risk.

And the legislature has agreed to return for a one-day special session before November to deal with budget shortfalls should the economy worsen. ...

We're running deficits in the education and corrections departments. Fuel costs are affecting every state department. This is not the time to spend $110,000 for restoration and tourism development at a Columbia cemetery.

The (Charleston) Post and Courier on hurricane preparedness, July 15:

Persisting population increases along South Carolina's coast increase the difficulty of hurricane evacuations. That's not merely because there will be more people needing to travel inland when — not if — such an evacuation becomes necessary. That's because a growing percentage of coastal residents are hurricane rookies. ...

Though Floyd made a late northward turn that spared us, the virtual gridlock that ensued on inland roadways when evacuation was attempted was an alarming wake-up call.

Yes, government officials at all levels seem to have vastly improved evacuation procedures since that potentially tragic fiasco. Yet the continuing rise in the coastal population since then will make that next mission a much larger one.

Mr. Clark's sound advice: "Go ahead and leave early and avoid the mandatory evacuation order."

Joe Farmer, public information director for the state Emergency Preparedness Division, echoed that stance: "Leave as early as you can and move inland. Be inconvenienced and be safe."

And be advised that a month and a half into hurricane season, your family's best defense against a hurricane remains a thorough hurricane plan that includes an early exit. Longtime coastal residents should help convince our hurricane rookies of that reality before it's too late.

The (Columbia) State on the University of South Carolina's new president, July 13:

The unanimous decision by University of South Carolina trustees to make vice president for research Harris Pastides the system's new president is reassuring.

Not "reassuring" in the sense of "comfortable," or "status quo." On the contrary, we take the selection of Mr. Pastides as a ringing endorsement of a bold agenda of academic excellence and research-based economic development that has the potential to transform our state, doing much to help us catch up to and surpass the rest of the nation in important ways.

When it was announced that Andrew Sorensen would be retiring after only six years as president of the multi-campus flagship university, we were concerned that with his departure, USC might be deterred from the paths he has led it to embark upon. ...

Harris Pastides was the one candidate named in recent months who not only understood and believed in these initiatives, but already had his sleeves up working to make them happen. As The State's Wayne Washington reported recently, in recent years, "Sorensen thought the big thoughts, and Pastides got the ball rolling." ...

The challenge that now faces him as president is to bring the university's promise from potential to tangible reality. To say that's a daunting task is gross understatement, but obviously USC's trustees believe he's the one to get it done. ....