Save Public Education - Say NO to S. 419 and S. 556

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It has come to the attention of SC for Ed that despite our extensive communication with the South Carolina Senate Education Committee about the needs of real educators in classrooms across the state, the Senate has fast-tracked S. 419 and is discussing S. 556.

As addressed in December of 2019, the last public version of S.419 creates a path set for privatization of public school resources; performance standards that are tied to failed metrics, meaning no meaningful data will be curated; failure to address the recruitment and retention of teachers; and additional redundant oversight. The newest version drafted by Senator Hembree was again created without input from educational experts currently in the field.

 

S. 556 is an ALEC-written education savings account (similar to vouchers) bill which would move money from public to private schools at a time when years of underfunding have contributed to a crisis in retaining and hiring public school teachers. The state’s own fiscal impact summary projects that the bill would cost public school diarists “up to $243,078,775” in the first year, alone. 

Educators spent the 2018-19 legislative session making their concerns about our current system known.  We came to subcommittee meetings all over the state. We lobbied our legislators in person. We called. We emailed.  Over 10,000 of us marched on the State House. Now, we face a future antithetical to all we know about what’s best for children.  

We don’t need education reform in name only.  Our children are more than a tag line on which to run for election. They are our most important charge, and we owe them all due diligence in shaping their future.  We request that legislators vote no to S.419, and instead take up a series of smaller bills that have recently been introduced from both sides of the aisle that offer some productive movement towards true reform.  Last month we requested an honorable deal, which we believe is still possible. A salary commensurate with education and experience, reduced testing, limited class size, more teacher workdays in our classrooms, an earlier start date to the school year, and teachers’ freedom to speak up about what is needed should be the first focus of the educational agenda for the year.      

Please contact your state senators, and sign the petition to tell them NO on S. 419.