COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -SC for Ed members continue their push for education reform, and now, they’re adding a little pressure by giving lawmakers a deadline to agree to their requests.
This new deadline comes as that massive education reform bill passed the House, and is still being discussed in the Senate. In mid-November, the Senate Education Subcommittee voted move the SC Career Opportunity and Access for All Act forward by sending the bill to the full Education Committee.
Once lawmakers reconvene in January, the bill could potentially go to the Senator floor, but SC for Ed members say they don’t feel their voices have been heard.
Just days after Senate Bill 419 reached the Education Committee, SC for Ed released this proclamation:
The proclamation says teaching is considered an honorable profession and is therefore worthy of an honorable deal, not the low pay and long hours that make it hard to recruit and retain quality teachers, which in turn hurts students.
One SC for Ed board member, Nicole Walker, says that despite working closely with lawmakers over the last several months, teachers don’t feel that their main concerns have been addressed.
The bill, as it stands, does not include a Teacher Bill of Rights, and will allow schools with overall ratings of “good” or “excellent” to hire a certain number of uncertified teachers.
“We’re concerned about the number of pathways that have been opened to bringing teachers into a classroom that don’t have an educational background. There is more to teaching than just to know a subject matter. If you don’t know child psychology, if you don’t have classroom management, then it’s really going to be a difficult time for you as a teacher and that has ramifications for students, for buildings, for other teachers. We’re really worried about that,” Walker said.
SC for Ed members are giving lawmakers until March 17 to adopt its eight-point, 2020 legislative agenda.
Already, S. 419 has gone through a number of changes, but SC for Ed members say lawmakers have ignored their requests. They say, they’re hoping to avoid another All Out May 1 Rally, where nearly 10,000 marched across the State House in support of education reform.
“We’ve listened to our members and many of them are ready to do some protesting if that’s what’s necessary. It could be one day. It could be several days. It’s really going to be in response to what the educators that have joined us want, and at this point people are really ready for change. They’re getting desperate for change, and so something’s got to happen,” Walker said.
SC for Ed members say they’re not expecting that eight-point agenda to be signed into law by March 17, but hope to, at least, see the first steps to getting each request passed.
“We spent an entire legislative session trying to work with our senators and our representatives and we don’t know that we’ve been heard,” Walker said.
WIS-TV has reached out to the Senate Education Committee for a response to the SC for Ed deadline, and we are still waiting to hear back. That committee is expected to meet one week from Thursday, December 12, to further discuss S. 419.