South Carolina lawmakers have vowed to reform education in the state, and money has already been allocated in the House version of the budget to raise teacher salaries.
The House passed a large education bill, now the Senate is trying to pass its own.
A small group of Senators met Thursday afternoon to continue discussions on reforming the state’s education.
That’s the goal of a massive bill, filed in both the House and Senate, but on Thursday the Senate subcommittee looked at a small section of the bill that deals with attracting and retaining teachers
Kristi Schrader, Former Teacher and Parent – “If they were paid a little more closer to the south east average I think we would have a lot more qualified teachers staying in teaching. I also think class sizes need to be reduced.. when you have kindergarteners and first grade and class sizes of 25-26. It’s really difficult to reach each child.”
One change Senators are considering is the amount of non-certified teachers allowed to teach in a school. The original proposal included allowing 25% of teachers at schools, in good academic standing, to not be certified.
Sen. Scott Talley, (R) – Spartanburg – “Maybe areas of the state and maybe school districts need to fill certain positions where this category of non-certified teachers really work and I don’t know that we want to limit them based on their rating.”
When it comes to attracting new teachers, the Senators are looking at streamlining the alternative certification process.
Sen. Greg Hembree, (R) – Horry County – “We don’t want to break anything that is having success and is working but our goal is to make it easier to get qualified teachers so the kids can get caught.”
But keeping teachers in the classrooms seems to be the hardest part to address.
Sen. Hembree – “Not getting that kind of support to remove that one that disrupting the teaching of the rest of the students. That’s a very hard one to address but it’s important because it’s consistent and teacher pay but of course we knew that. “
Senator Hembree is proposing a 10% raise over 3 years with 5% rolling out the first year.
The bill is expected to move to the full committee in April. The full committee will then have the bill for at least 3 weeks.
On Monday, Senators will be in Gaffney holding a town hall style meeting to speak with teachers and parents.