Charleston, SC – On the eve of the dedication for the civil rights icon Esau Jenkins, the legend’s Son and Grandson makes a pivotal endorsement for South Carolina’s education. “My father fought for and risked his life for the educations of his people”, says Bill Jenkins, “He understood that education was the anchor for economic prosperity. I see the same fighting spirit and value for education in Dr. Montrio Belton. This is why I am supporting Dr. Belton for Superintendent of Education.”
Born to a sixteen year old single mother in Abbeville SC, Montrio Belton learned many of the “small town values” that he describes as his guiding principles: education, hard work, and making no excuses. He recounts watching his mother work two jobs to further her education and provide a stable home environment for their family. He credits these principles to leading him to enlisting in the United State Army Reverse and obtaining academic success. Belton is a graduate of Winthrop University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He received a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Belton anticipates receiving a law degree from the University Of South Carolina School Of Law in May 2015.
Abe Jenkins, Grandson of Esau Jenkins and former Regional Field Director for President Obama, describes Dr. Belton as the best choice for South Carolina Superintendent of Education. “Dr. Belton is a next generational leader. He’s the best chance we have to reclaim the futures of our children.” Dr. Belton is running on a platform that is different from his opponents.
Unlike his Democratic opponents, Dr. Belton does not site increased funding as a key solution to fixing our schools. Belton states that the formula used to determine how our public schools are funded is so convoluted that even professionals in the state department cannot make sense of it. “Funding our schools should not take rocket science”, Belton says, “I will streamline the funding process, keep public dollars in public schools, and make the process more transparent so that we can figure out what is needed to maximize the use of the money that we have now.”
Dr. Belton also wants to eliminate seat-time requirements for students and hours-per-day requirements for schools, and move to a competency model where students can earn credit for demonstrating they have mastered the subject matter. He further proposes a dual-credit programs that let students earn college credit in high schools, and a career and technology high school program that allows graduates to leave high school with a skill to enter the workforce. He has also been a fierce supporter of President Obama’s Common Core standards.
“He is not a typical Democratic candidate. But, he represents the new generation of leaders that we need to reclaim the future of our state and the Democratic Party”, says Abe Jenkins, “His candidacy reminds me of President Obama’s first run. It was needed in 2008 and it is needed now, because the typical Democratic candidates haven’t had a lot of luck in South Carolina in recent years.”
The Democratic primaries are on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Polls are open from 7am to 7pm. To get involved with the campaign call: Brandon Upson, 843-608-0442.