SC teachers group release plan | #schoolsaftey

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s largest association of professional educators is hoping to build on progress happening in the classroom, releasing its plan to improve test scores and working conditions for students and staff.

The Palmetto State Teachers Association (PTSA) shared its 2024 REACH Legislative Agenda this month. The plan aims to address school safety, compensation, and a critical need for teachers through policy action in five areas:

  • Recruiting and Retaining World-Class Talent to Reverse Educator Shortages
  • Equality of Opportunity for Every Child Through Funding and Choice
  • Accountability and Assessment
  • Comprehensive Student Supports
  • High-Quality Instruction and Curriculum

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Among their requests are more time, support, respect and money for teachers with the organization hoping to see salaries increase to $50,000 by 2026 – a goal also expressed by Gov. Henry McMaster.

They’re also seeking smaller class sizes and safer work environments with stronger penalties for those who assault, harass, or defame educators.

“The work of teachers and educators matters and when students have access to them, our students are capable of achieving a great deal,” Patrick Kelly with PTSA said. “While pay isn’t the only factor that contributes to teacher shortages, you’re foolish not to acknowledge that pay is a significant way to recruit and retain talent in any sector.”

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The plan comes as South Carolina report cards were released, showing some improvements after pandemic losses, with more than 22% of schools receiving an overall excellent rating, according to the S.C. Department of Education. This is an increase of almost 2% over last year.

Still, there’s work to be done. In math alone, more than half of students didn’t perform at grade level, the department adds.

“Ensuring that a high school diploma means college and career readiness is the goal that we have to set here in South Carolina,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver said in a press conference on the matter.

The PSTA is hoping to see the state prioritize a holistic approach to student success, adding more counselors, psychologists and social workers, funding school meals for all students, and working to ensure students aren’t pushed along without learning the material.

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“If we want to help students achieve on tests, we need to address the out-of-school factors that could inhibit a student’s performance on a test,” Kelly said. “And we also need to rethink our assessment system to provide students with multiple opportunities across the school year to demonstrate their skill.”

To view the full legislative agenda, visit PSTA online.

Contact Kayland Hagwood at [email protected] and follow her on FacebookX and Instagram.

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