Nikki Haley (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Nikki Haley's proposal to improve public schools by focusing on poor, rural students - and to start a multi-year effort with a $160 million investment - stunned educators and legislators of both parties.
Her Democratic challenger, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, criticized her announcement as a convenient, election-year metamorphosis. He'll push his own education plan in the legislative session that kicks off Tuesday.
Educators welcome the pro-public-schools debate over both of their ideas.
Absent from Haley's plan was any mention of vouchers or tax credits for private education.
The idea has dominated the education debate in South Carolina over the last decade. Four years ago, Haley ran on private school choice. Education advocates say they hope her new approach finally leads the debate beyond that single issue.