State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais reaffirmed his position on No Child Left Behind and "one size fits all" education Monday night at a town hall meeting.

What he didn't do at the meeting, hosted by state Sen. Mike Rose at Ashley Ridge High, was talk specifically about Dorchester District 2, which some of the 100-plus in attendance had expected him to do.

In January, Zais held a town hall meeting at Fort Dorchester High School to explain the state's request for a waiver for No Child Left Behind. Many who attended expected Zais to be there, but the meeting was held instead by his staff.

"I was at that meeting in January, so I was glad to see Zais here and to hear his position on some of these things, but I don't think he said anything new, based on what I've read," parent Jim Bradley said after the meeting. "I was sort of hoping to hear more about how he feels about what's going on in Summerville."

District 2 Superintendent Joe Pye said he has a good relationship with Zais and had hoped that Zais would talk about district issues. For instance, Pye recently received permission to place early childhood education teachers in high schools to teach reading to struggling students next year, a program the district would pioneer in the state.

In his address, Zais said the state's request for a waiver for the No Child Left Behind will be submitted today. The Republican also mentioned his belief that children should not be forced to attend failing schools, and that too much emphasis is put on "seat time" as opposed to individual instruction.

He said families should have options for their children's education, and mentioned Charleston County's Military Magnet Academy, Academic Magnet High School and School of the Arts. He said classes, such as personal finance, should be an option for students.

He also said he thinks superintendents and principals should have the ability to assemble their own staffs, and he believes in merit pay for teachers and principals. "Teachers and principals need to be evaluated," he said. "And those who fail to meet the standards should be removed."

The entire District 2 board, which is studying the feasibility of holding a bond referendum to renovate and build schools, attended the meeting.

When asked about options for funding a building program, Zais said, "Facilities and funding for facilities is a local issue. None of that money comes out of the state. I would talk to your local legislator and your school board because they're the ones that have the ability to raise the bond money."

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or at