Comprehensive bills to improve the state’s troubled public education system are being debated in both the State House and Senate.
Last month House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) and dozens of other lawmakers introduced an 84 page bill aimed at improving student readiness for the workplace, help for rural school districts that are struggling, and perhaps most importantly increasing teacher retention.
Most agree that the critical component to school improvement is insuring there are enough good, qualified teachers in the classroom. Teachers are leaving their jobs in droves complaining of low-pay, too much testing, too little administrative support, and what many see as a lack of respect for their work by state officials. Last year over 5,000 teachers left their jobs. State colleges combined produced less than 2,000 new teachers.
When the much touted omnibus bill was introduced last month a large teacher advocacy group created via social media immediately started to criticize it complaining that not only had there been no teacher input into the drafting of the bill … BUT most of the proposed reforms missed the mark.
At a hurriedly called hearing for teachers this week, … hundreds of teachers packed into the Blatt House Office building testifying late into the night.