The state is at crossroads regarding our school system. Teachers all across South Carolina have voiced concerns about proposed bill, H3759, the newest addition to our education system. H3759 has been put into place to correct teacher wages, school safety, and generate a stress-reduced version of standardized testing. Teachers that are in their first five years of teaching are being offered an 11% raise due to the lack of long-term commitment. The remainder of state teachers have a 4% raise opportunity with the new bill. H3759, “unevenly distributes pay raises for experienced teachers” according to a Greenville County teacher. The opposition has been largely vocalized in town hall meetings and other hearings around the state. A big concern teachers have with the H3759 is that it does not not solve the issue of working families not being able to provide stability in the home without working a second job. The bill provides a slight solution to this issue, but does not offer “equitably funding” for state teachers. Teachers have come to a collaborative compromise of a 10% increase to relieve some of their wage complaints.
Testing is another large misconception that teachers have prioritized. South Carolina previously held six standardized tests per year to measure student ability. H3759 cuts four of the tests and leaves students with only two tests to complete. Teachers feel they are being forced to teach to the tests and not being allowed to teach students about life situations. “Schools are not educating, but are more focused on graduation rates and they need to concentrate on lowering expectations of graduation rates to produce a more well-rounded group of educated students,” according to a Greenville County teacher. According to teachers, the state is not providing equal opportunities to all South Carolina students through funding and socioeconomic backgrounds. Therefore, teachers are dismissive of the bill due to the lack of input they have on what the state does with funding. The call for less textbooks and more personalized teaching moments are one of many “frustration demonstrations.”
Teachers also claim that the lack of “business philanthropy” will cause poor economic results for business owners in the future and will prepare students less for the real world and the workforce. “Students are not being taught how to deal with real world situations.” Teachers are urging business leaders, families, and other citizens to write Governor McMaster and the state house to veto the bill. According to House of Representative Garry Smith, H3759 has offered the public, “more mental health professionals in schools and an increased number of school resource officers,”. The lack of support and safety that students and teachers have protested and shown concern for, will be answered with the new bill in place. Representative Smith says the state assembled a team in 2015 to work towards addressing the main issues and that numerous counties have had major influences on the key components of H3759. The House passed the bill and it is now awaiting approval from the Senate. If passed, it will go into effect for the 2019-2020 school year.”
South Carolina currently ranks last in the country in educational results,” according to Representative Smith. State officials hope that H3759 is the first step in building a better future and a better school system for S.C. residents, students, and teachers.
Parker Neeley Bio:
I am a junior at Hillcrest High School. I enjoy reading, writing, and playing the guitar for extracurricular activities. After college I plan to become a financial advisor. My dream is to one day own a financial firm. I actively invest in the stock market and co-host a podcast called Unpopular Takes on Apple and Spotify.