The Fight for Quality Education Begins With Quality Educators
By C J Waldron.
On May 1st, teachers in South Carolina will be heading to Columbia to bring attention to a bill that would increase teacher salaries by 4% to put them more in line with the national average. The reason they are protesting is that the increase falls far short of the 10% they requested to bring them more in line with the average teacher salaries for teachers in the Southeast.
Under a bill introduced by South Carolina State Senator Karl Allen, (S 419) teachers in South Carolina would be paid on a scale more in line with the national average. Teachers were greatly disappointed when HR 3759 provided them with only a 4% increase, with those with less than five years teaching experience getting the biggest salary boost. This updated version of the bill passed the Senate last Thursday , and is headed back to the House, where it can be either approved or face more changes. That is a far cry from the bill originally introduced in the State Senate, and represents an insult to any long-term teachers.
The 4% raise would increase starting salaries for teachers from $32,000 to $35,000 annually. (On a personal side note, I started at $33,500 when I began teaching in NYS twenty-five years ago). The national average for teachers is $60,000, while South Carolina lags behind at $50,000. Since the proposed budget for teachers does little to change this inequity, there is reason for concern.
Not that there is much job security in teaching. Being that South Carolina is a “Right to Work” state, teachers have little job security. When asked to trim their budgets, school boards would invariably advocate for a younger, lower salaried teacher over an older, more experienced one. Without unions to protect them teachers can be arbitrarily let go with little or no recourse.
While salaries are at the forefront of this protest, issues such as class size, extra duties and teacher evaluations based upon student performance on standardized tests are also under review. These are long-standing issues that have long been ignored by the state legislature.
South Carolina isn’t alone in its protest. North Carolina teachers also plan on showing solidarity by also planning rallies to coincide with South Carolina teachers’ protests.
If children are clearly our future, don’t we owe it to them to provide them with the best teachers possible? By short-changing our teachers, we are short-changing our kids.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
1100 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29208
Join SC for Ed beginning at the State Department of Education as we march for our students, our schools, our communities and our state! Those that care about public education in South Carolina demand better teacher pay, smaller class size, removing other duties as assigned from teacher contracts, less testing and a pledge from our legislature that they will say no to for-profit charter schools and educational savings accounts. The 4% raise is a positive step forward, but it’s just one step. Join us as we march for the future!
Schedule of Events
9:00 – 9:30: Register & rally at the Department of Education (1429 Senate Street, Columbia, SC 29201)
9:30 – 10:30: March to and around State House
10:30 – 12:00: Guest speakers
12:00 – 1:00: Lunch (on your own) and meet with legislators if possible
1:00 – 3:00: Line Gervais Street to rally for education