CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - SC for Ed has set Mar. 17, 2020 as the deadline for state lawmakers to act on meaningful education reform.
The advocacy group helped rally thousands of teachers at the statehouse in May, and leaders say no action on an “honorable deal” would leave the group no choice but to respond.
That response could be another major teacher rally in Columbia.
"We’ve sat in the meetings. We’ve met with legislators. We have given testimony time and time again and the current legislation just isn’t changing the way we are hoping it would,” said Trever Etminan, a DD2 teacher and member of SC for Ed. “If these changes don’t occur by the 17th, then I think SC for Ed’s going to take a pretty critical look at education state wide and determine if there is going to be a May 1, 2020.”
The deadline announcement comes amid SC for Ed’s preparations for a lobbying day at the state capital on Jan. 29.
"Our hope is that the legislators kind of see this as an outreach to say,'Hey, we’ve surveyed teachers, this is what teachers are looking for, this is what districts are really looking for, and we’re hoping that you’ll work with us on these legislative actions points, and we are really hoping we can do that before Mar. 17,'” Etminan said.
Those legislative action points include the following:
1. Increase salary 5% and add salary steps to year 28
2. Pass H.3215 – Teachers’ freedom of speech act
3. Reduce testing
4. Redefine and restructure the education oversight committee
5. Limit class size
6. Transform Read to Succeed Act
7. Provide more teacher workdays
8. Modify uniform school year start date
Etminan said it is not SC for Ed’s goal to call on teachers to walk out of their classrooms and rally again in Columbia, however, some action may be needed if lawmakers do not adopt an education plan that addresses the group’s legislative action points.
“We must stress that failure to achieve this goal by March 17, 2020 will leave our members no choice but to respond accordingly to the failures of our South Carolina government to offer its teachers, past, present, and future, an honorable deal,” said SC for Ed’s “Ides of March Deadline Proclamation.”
“I think the goal of teachers across the state is to really stay in our classrooms. We want to teach. We want to be in our classrooms. We want to do our jobs, but unfortunately, with the current proposed legislation, what that might look like in a few years is not necessarily a good thing to us,” Etminan added. “We want to be in meetings and in committees, so that our voices can be heard and we can help our legislature craft the most meaningful and impactful education reform within the state.”