SC House Pushes for Education Reform Bill


SC House Panel

Sierra Wilson, Editor

Last week, the South Carolina House proposed an education reform bill and since its release, it has sparked controversy. Teachers across the state are tearing it apart, deeming it “dangerous” and “largely ineffective,” (The State).

Changes in House Bill 3759 include but are not limited to: enforcing pay bands, allowing non-certified people to teach as long as they have real life experience (i.e. a retired chemist teaching chemistry), removing schools that have been underperforming for four consecutive years, and creating a Zero-to-Twenty committee that would manage improvement efforts from preschool to college (Post and Courier).

When the House held a meeting Tuesday to discuss the bill, hundreds of teachers showed up to speak their mind–so many that two spillover rooms had to be opened just to hold them all. One teacher said it would be “detrimental” to K-12 education.

Patrick Kelly, a teacher at Blythewood High School, said, “Unfortunately, I feel a lot of the frustrations you will hear … could have been avoided if teacher voices had been better included in the start of this process,” (The State).

SC for Ed, a Facebook group originally created for teachers to come together during difficult times, has more than 20,000 members in it and now plays a crucial role in teachers having a voice. In one post, the group said “there isn’t a single passable section,” (Post and Courier).

In response to teacher opposition, the House has discussed making amendments to the bill. These include: removing the section allowing non certified people to teach, removing pay bands, only removing problematic teachers from underperforming schools rather than firing all teachers, adding a “teacher bill of rights,” and more (The State).

Solving education issues in South Carolina is going to be a long process of both sides going back and forth, but at least we’re going the direction of change. With any luck, it will all be for the better.