Charleston, South Carolina – The teacher’s shortage in South Carolina has been a growing issue for years now and it can result in educational system collapse if no drastic measures are taken into consideration as soon as possible.
One of the major problems seems to be the teacher’s pay, but the situation further worsened since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago.
Teacher shortages, huge class sizes, and low pay. Education groups say these issues abound in nearly every district in the state.
Public schools are underfunded by more than $300 per student, based on the guidelines of South Carolina’s Education Finance Act. That’s why educators from across the state were at the state house demanding legislators listen to their concerns.
“Over the last three years we’ve had almost 15,000 teachers leave the profession completely. That is decimating classrooms, increasing class sizes, which is making working conditions worse,” said Lisa Ellis with SC for Ed.
The teachers are asking the state officials to consider increasing their pay seeking salaries that match the national average teacher salary which would require a $2,000 increase. With increased pay, the current teachers will probably consider to not leave their position and will make the teacher positions more attractive for new candidates which will positively affect the teacher’s shortage.
In addition to the increased pay, SC teachers are also asking for improved working conditions.
Things like class sizes. Things like unencumbered planning, those sort of things that will take some of the load off teachers so they’re better able to teach their students.
Some lawmakers feel schools have enough.
“I hear them asking for money. That’s what I hear them asking for and right now the last few years, I don’t know if there’s any school district in the state that has spent all its money,” said Sen. Shane Massey.
“We’re here to put a face to it. To say I’m the teacher in the classroom, here’s pictures of my students, this is who you’re making legislation about so let’s be thoughtful and considerate and really listen to what we’re trying to say,” said Ellis.
But things don’t look promising since thirty percent fewer college students majored in teacher education for the fourth year in a row. The situation with the number of teachers across the state won’t get better anytime soon.
There are more than a dozen bills dealing with education. To see a full list of them and to see how teachers feel about them look below.
SC for Ed supports:
- S. 173 – Increases teacher salaries to the national average.
- S. 315 – Mandates no state testing except what is required by law.
- S. 317 – Increases salary steps to year 28.
- S. 319 – Prohibits classroom student to teacher ratio waivers, which means no huge classes.
- S. 331 – Limits teachers’ rosters to 150 students per semester.
- S. 348 & H. 3246 – Protecting teachers who break contracts.
- S. 946 – Unencumbered planning time for K-5 teachers.
- H. 3114 – Lottery scholarship funding available to teachers continuing education.
- H. 3465 – Teachers with more than 20 years experience wouldn’t have to do a formal certificate renewal process.
- H. 4892 – Cancels student loans for public school teachers.
SC for Ed opposes:
- S. 935 & H. 3976 – Would possibly take away billions in public school funding.
- S. 534, H. 4325, S. 4343, H. 4392, H. 4605 – Bills regarding Critical Race Theory.