SC teacher rally reaches ten thousand in Columbia. What are they asking for? – WJCL News

SC teacher rally reaches ten thousand in Columbia. What are they asking for? - WJCL News

Thousands of North and South Carolina teachers are protesting — but not just for the reasons you might think

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) – Thousands of teachers from across South Carolina descended on the state capital and rallied for change.

Richland County deputies estimated the crowd size at 10,000, representatives for SC for Ed, the teacher advocacy group that organized the march at the Statehouse in Columbia said. The event was supposed to end with teachers and supporters lining Gervais Street from noon until 2 p.m., but organizers told a crowd they were forced to call off that portion of the event after authorities said there were too many teachers and expressed concerns for safety reasons.

SC for Ed organizers confirmed that more than 6,700 people are participating in the rally but thousands have shown their support via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Teachers in North Carolina and South Carolina Protest Low Pay

Teachers from the Lowcountry joined colleagues from across South Carolina for a march from the South Carolina Department of Education to the Statehouse grounds at 9:45 a.m. to demand education reform.

2020 candidates react online to the #AllOutMay1 teachers rally

We feel like the lawmakers havent passed any meaningful legislation yet that weve asked for, Kate King, who teaches at Eugene Sires Elementary School in Dorchester District 2, says. Our voices are continuously being silenced. And we feel like now is the time. Now is the day for us all to come together as one and voice our concerns.

Our journalists work hard to inform by bringing you the news that matters – which is often about how the world is. But we think the most important part of our mission is to inspire—and so we work hard to bring you the voices of visionaries who dream about how the world should be. Our 2019 Spring Campaign ends Friday night and were still short. Can you chip in? We cant do it without you.

Video: 10000 attend teacher rally in South Carolina

We Teach, We Vote!: 10,000 Teachers Rise Up Against Republican Legislature in Deep Red South Carolina

Those concerns were displayed on thousands of signs in front of the South Carolina Department of Education.

The march began at 9:45 a.m. with marchers chanting, Wheres Molly,” a reference to Education Superintendent Molly Spearman. Some teachers were angered by Spearmans announcement that she planned to serve as a substitute teacher while teachers participated in the rally.

Its been too long with no action,” said DD2 school board member Justin Farnsworth. “I get what happens every year is we get legislators that tell us this issues important or this issues important…or this is the most important issue. You know right now we are talking about Santee Cooper and I agree whole heartedly thats an important issue. But at the same time my gut feeling, my passion is if we dont start to get education right in South Carolina none of that other stuff is going to matter.

I cannot support teachers walking out on their obligations to South Carolina students, families, and the thousands of hardworking bus drivers, cafeteria workers, counselors, aides, and custodial staff whose livelihoods depend on our schools being operational, Spearman said in part. “I pledge to continue fighting to improve the opportunities and resources for all South Carolina students and teachers.

DD2 is second from the bottom for funding in our state, but school officials say theyve done a lot with what theyve been given and are one of the highest performing school districts in South Carolina.

Several speakers began addressing the crowd at 10 a.m. At one point, teacher advocacy group SC for Ed announced that the Richland County Sheriffs Office estimated 10,000 people to be in attendance.

There was very little discussion. But what was said is that school board members here support teachers heading to Columbia, and they want to encourage this movement to keep going so changes can be made.

U.S. First District Congressman Joe Cunningham tweeted his response to the rally Wednesday afternoon.

School board chair Tanya Robinson said its her hope personally that legislators soften their hearts and listen to teachers Wednesday and work towards changes if that means just small steps forward.

South Carolina teachers speak out about said “walk out,” personal day

I stand with SC teachers. Our children, our educators, and our communities have suffered because weve neglected our public school system, Cunningham said in the statement. Our teachers deserve higher pay, our students deserve smaller classroom sizes, and our schools deserve full funding.

I stand with SC teachers. Our children, our educators, and our communities have suffered because weve neglected our public school system. Our teachers deserve higher pay, our students deserve smaller classroom sizes, and our schools deserve full funding.

I am glad to see our teachers in South Carolina standing up for their invaluable profession and for a better future for our children, he said. Throughout the years, I have introduced bills that if passed, would have addressed issues such as getting schools more resources, providing for more safety at all S.C. schools, smaller class sizes, and increasing our teachers annual salaries to a more livable wage. Remember! We must stop this great exodus of our teachers to other states!

Teacher advocacy group SC for ED says the state legislature ignored a 10 percent pay raise request agreed upon by three major teacher representative entities and discarded it in favor of a lesser raise that does not meet the minimal goal of increasing the average teacher salary in South Carolina to the Southeast average.

Some Dorchester District Two teachers say they feel their concerns have fallen on deaf ears here at the Statehouse until Wednesdays rally where they gathered with thousands of others from their profession to tell lawmakers enough is enough.

For a starting teacher with no experience in Dorchester District 2, the starting salary is roughly $36,000. In Berkeley County, that number is closer to $30,000 while Charleston County reaches $38,000 for the same position.

But its still unclear just what this effort will lead to. One lawmaker said its unlikely any kind of sweeping education reform will be passed before the end of this legislative session which is next week.

Thousands of teachers in South Carolina will march from the South Carolina Department of Education building at 9:45 a.m. to the Statehouse grounds where a rally will begin at 10 a.m. After hearing from multiple speakers, participants are expected to line Gervais Street with their signs to send what they hope will be a clear message to state lawmakers.

Video: Thousands of teachers to attend rallies in North Carolina and South Carolina

But DD2 teachers say the effort was not about walking out on their job but instead representing what matters most: their students. Teachers like Dubose Middle Schools Kathey Brennan said they hope the rally will demonstrate that educators in our state are serious about wanting change.

If I have a kid that comes to school hungry, it is my concern. If a kid comes to school that was beat up at home, it is my concern. If I have a kid that comes to school and theyve been bullied online by someone in school, it is my concern, she said. If a kid acts out in class its because of something that happened outside of my class and if I dont have the resources and the small enough class sizes to reach all of my kids, its too easy for a kid to fall through the cracks.

Teachers are demanding education reform from state lawmakers. They want smaller class sizes, a guaranteed break, less testing for students and better pay.

DD2 has a unique stake in the outcome of the rally because it is one of the lowest-funded districts statewide.

Another had the phrase Fighting for THEM with a red heart surrounded by the first names of students.

Whatever we do here in Columbia in the Statehouse, it effects the classroom, Ashley Ridge High School teacher Trever Etminan said. So for teachers to be here and be a part of that process, that is the most important thing that could possibly be done because were the ones on the front lines. Were the ones that know the interventions that will help the most. Were the ones that know where the funding should be allocated the most because we see it every single day.

I think teachers want education to be the best that it can be and teachers work hard to make education the best it can be every day, Lowe said. We want to be part of the conversation here going forward here about what we can do to make education better.”

As South Carolina Teachers Walkout, 10,000 Storm State Capitol in Columbia

This is a first in South Carolina or anywhere and these are the most docile group we have in the state, he said. “These people are about kids and about relationships, theyre not about rebel-rousing but theyve been brought to the forefront of it. If we dont speak up now, well pay the price later.

Thousands of teachers are expected in Columbia Wednesday including some from Dorchester District 2. The district decided to offer use of its activity buses, which cost roughly $13 per teacher. The district has also already set a make-up day for June 7.

Video: Richland District 1 cancels classes due to teacher rally

Dorchester District 2 was the first Lowcountry school district to cancel classes ahead of the rally. Students will have to make that time up with a half day on June 7 and teachers will have to work a day on June 10.

Over the past couple of months weve really tried to engage the state in being a part of that and so today is really about us reflecting and helping people reflect on what we can do to make education better, Low said.

Video: Richland District 1 cancels classes due to teacher rally

Officials with the Berkeley County School District said there were 772 teacher absences and 333 Kelly Services provided substitute absences.

Low and her fellow teachers raised $1,180 in their GoFundMe, which was $180 more than there $1,000 goal. The highest donation received was $190 and it was $20 to sponsor one teachers spot on the bus.

Video: Richland District 1 cancels classes due to teacher rally

BCSD officials said those numbers include all sick leave and personal days off. There were 11,752 student absences in the district on Wednesday.

This site is currently unavailable to visitors from the European Economic Area while we work to ensure your data is protected in accordance with applicable EU laws.

Video: Richland District 1 cancels classes due to teacher rally

At the Charleston County School District, officials said as of Wednesday morning, there were 675 requests for substitutes for Wednesday including 383 personal leave requests and 152 sick leave entries.

Organizers have been adamant in calling the rally an all out, not a walkout.” The group says the state legislature ignored a 10 percent pay raise request agreed upon by three major teacher representative entities and discarded it in favor of a lesser raise that does not meet the minimal goal of increasing the average teacher salary in South Carolina to the Southeast average.

They also are upset the General Assembly has not passed proposals to reduce class sizes, guarantee teachers at least a short break without students and add social workers and counselors.

Teachers made homemade signs to carry as part of their protest driving home points about class size and low pay, among other concerns that prompted Wednesdays action.

Lowcountry teachers boarded buses and personal vehicles early Wednesday morning to be able to attend Wednesdays rally. Two Lowcountry school districts, Dorchester District 2 and Colleton County, closed school because of the number of teachers who notified school officials they would be out of the classroom to attend the rally.

While most school districts remained open, other districts, including Chester County, Sumter County, Richland District 1 and Lexington-Richland District 5, also canceled classes.

Berkeley County and Charleston County Schools remained open, but the former still ran into controversy with its announcement.

Teachers who attend the rally dont have much support from some of their superiors including state superintendent of education Molly Spearman, who said she will serve as a substitute teacher during the rally.

I cannot support teachers walking out on their obligations to South Carolina students, families, and the thousands of hardworking bus drivers, cafeteria workers, counselors, aides, and custodial staff whose livelihoods depend on our schools being operational, Spearman said in part. “I pledge to continue fighting to improve the opportunities and resources for all South Carolina students and teachers.

Richland 1 cancels school Wednesday as teachers prepare to protest at State House

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has also spoken out against teachers missing school Wednesday.

SC for Ed has planned out a full schedule of events for the rally, which is expected to last roughly six hours. Speakers include CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers as well as some state representatives.

The Palmetto State Teachers Association said after Wednesdays rally, teachers, friends, and family need to continue to advocate for change.

Our sleeping giant is starting to wake up and our teachers are starting to use their voices,” Palmetto State Teachers Association Executive Director Kathy Maness said. And I hope the members of the general assembly will listen because they are the experts.


Posted in Columbia