Thousands of South Carolina teachers are expected to head to Columbia to rally for better pay and education reform.
“All Out for May 1st!” starts with a rally and then a march to the state house. The group “SC for Ed” organized the event. Many South Carolina teachers are taking a personal day for the rally.
The South Carolina Career Opportunity and Access For All Act does include pay raises, smaller class sizes, and better learning conditions. The bill increases teacher pay by four percent. The legislation passed the house in March and now is in the Senate but teachers say it’s not enough. Teachers believe schools are losing effective instructors, which is why they say they need to act now.
John Ross with Aiken County public schools said, “Too many of us are forced to work part-time jobs as a consequence of the inadequate pay we already receive and a 4 percent pay raise will definitely help but there’s still a long way to go.”
At least seven South Carolina school districts will be closed May 1 because of the protest. Representatives from South Carolina school districts in the CSRA have told NewsChannel 6 they will support teachers’ first amendment rights and this is not a walkout but a planned personal day.
The average salary for a teacher in South Carolina is slightly above $51,000 per year, according to the National Education Association. The median income of a South Carolina citizen is $25,751 and the state’s education system ranks 48th in the country according to U.S. News and World Report.