Discussion on education reform bill begins on Senate floor, teachers react

Discussion on education reform bill begins on Senate floor, teachers react

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Wednesday afternoon, Senators began their discussion on a bill that some say will reform education in the state of South Carolina.

All of this, one day after Senators voted 40-4 to set the bill for special order. Making it a priority for Senators in 2020.

In 2019, lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee worked to amend S.419. Senator Scott Talley (R-Spartanburg) said, "I think it's a positive thing we have this much focus on a bill dealing with education."

Sen. Talley served on the Senate Education subcommittee responsible for working on the bill in 2019. He along with the other 45 members of the Senate will discuss and debate the bill over the next few days. Some lawmakers have said the debate could last weeks.

Sen. Talley said, "Everybody shares the same goal to make sure our students are educated and we're moving our state forward."

Teachers with SC for Ed are urging Senators to vote ‘no’ on S.149. Members of the group believe the bill will do more harm than good for public education. Lisa Ellis said, “The number one issue with public education in South Carolina is the teacher shortage. There aren’t enough teachers.”

SC for Ed believes if this bill were to become law it would add more work for teachers and won't improve working conditions. "This bill does nothing to recruit or retain teachers," Ellis said.

Sen. Talley said S.149 is just one piece of the puzzle. There are other bills that address concerns teachers have. He said, "Is it a perfect bill? No. Do we all get what we want in every bill that passes? No. It is a step forward for South Carolina. It's modernizing a lot of things in education that will benefit our students and our state in the long haul."

No actions or votes were taken on the bill Wednesday.

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