SC Teachers March To State House

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SC Teachers March To State House

Alexis Acree, Staff Writer

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Four districts across the state including Dorchester and Beaufort counties, were forced to cancel school Wednesday, May 1, after hundreds of teachers requested off to be a part of a protest in Columbia. Nearly 10,000 teachers, students and parents travelled to the South Carolina State House to encourage change for both teachers and students.

Many news stations unfairly reported the teachers were fighting for pay increases. South Carolina’s minimum beginning annual salary is $32,000, one of the lowest in the country. Many of our veteran teachers haven’t received a pay increase in years; some are making less than previous years due to insurance increases.  The rally, however, it was about so much more than that.  The change that protestors were fighting for included the following: duty-free lunch breaks, less required testing for students, more professional development, extra funding for student/teacher materials and better representation from districts in the state.

CFHS art teacher Jen Hodges stated, “We want to see a multitude of things, including less state-mandated and standardized testing, the correct amount per pupil that schools are supposed to be receiving and more support in and out of the classroom for teachers and students.”

The unrest has continued from previous years, not only in our state, but all throughout the country. Many states’ salaries for educators has not kept up with inflation, which means the pay is unfeasible for many. West Virginia, Oklahoma, and North Carolina have had similar outbreaks of frustration due to neglects of pay raises.

The event has proven to be quite controversial. Our state’s superintendent, Molly Spearman opposed the teacher objections. Spearman stated that she filled in as a substitute teacher for a teacher who had requested of to march. She said in an interview, “I am doing so not to support the uprising, but to give students the education would otherwise be missing from an absent teacher.”

Change is still to come as the actions to be taken by the state are still unclear.

An alumna and former Teacher Cadet, Katie Davis, attended last week’s gathering in Columbia.  She is presently a math teacher and coach for St. James High School. “I went to the rally to advocate for smaller class sizes and fair wages  South Carolina has not fully funded education in over 10 years, and it is not fair to our students.  Class sizes are larger because there are less teachers and many vacant positions all over the state.”  

With the number of involved people in the protest, we can only hope South Carolina gives educators what they are asking for and rightfully deserve.

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