TWISC: Molly Spearman Highlights Education
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TWISC: Molly Spearman Highlights Education

Welcome to This Week In South
Carolina. I’m Gavin Jackson. Education has been a top issue
at the State House since the term ‘Corridor of Shame’ was
first said but usually any type of reform legislation never
makes much traction. This year may be the session that changes
with the governor, House and Senate all agreeing it’s time
for reform. And just because speaking about
this bill I mean it’s been a couple weeks now since it’s
been out. It’s been very a tenuous very rocky road for all
involved including teachers who feel like they don’t really
necessarily have that much input in the beginning moving
forward with amendments but on both of these bills the House
and the Senate bill. Do you think that a lot of those
concerns from teachers have been mitigated from we’ve heard?
I think so. I think we got to a point where we just had to stop
talking about what had happened in the past but the reality is
everyone has had a lot of input here in the last few weeks and
the bill has improved, the speakers been very open to
amendments as has the Senate and the bill is improving as we
go through the process so teachers have been heard. I
think educators across the state, citizens have been
heard in changes have been made and are still being made to the
bill so it’s getting better and better as we move through the
process. Was that kind of the reasoning behind having that
press conference we saw the other week with the governor? It
was, it was just to say look we need to, we need this. We
need a revolution in education a transformation
for sure and let’s work together. We know it’s not a
perfect bill yet and it probably won’t ever be totally
perfect but we want we’re going to work together to get it as
close as we can to meet the needs of all the students and
teachers, schools and districts across the state. Do you think
part of that is also the teacher’s bill of rights that’s
kind of being incorporated into the bill? Yeah I think that but
when I meet with teachers they talk about salary of
course but they also talk about support and for them that means
things like having an SRO in every school, a school resource
officer, or having a mental health counselor in every school
access to telepsychiatry. So we’re working on
that. We set a goal that we would reach that for all
schools in South Carolina by twenty twenty two, it’s very
doable and we’re well on the way. Resource officers the House
has already appropriated in their budget that’s being
discussed now, additional funding for SRO so we have
about three hundred fifty schools out of twelve hundred
plus that don’t have resource officers. With this additional
funding we should be getting really really close to covering
every school in the state. And speaking of teacher pay
raises obviously it’s a big big reason for a lot of this moving
forward to additional money the budget for that. The
House budget has put about a hundred sixty million dollars
already in their version of the budget to increase pay raises
on someone of sliding scale just based on how long teachers
been there. The biggest pay raises would be for new teachers
Is that of a big way to retain these teachers? I think it is. I
think we’ve got to do something there were low on
compared to our neighboring states on beginning salaries to
retract young people into the field. I
think the reality that people need to be reminded of is how
strong the economy is right now and history shows is that
whenever there’s a strong economy lots of jobs lots of
opportunities there’s usually a teacher shortage we have to be
competitive and we’re really not competitive now. So
absolutely building to that beginning salary and we have to
remember across the board though to retain those teachers we
we don’t want to favor too much one group at the discredit
of others. So we’ve got to do something for all of our
teachers currently the bill does have that and that’s what
I support. Is that the main way retain teachers or or what
other options are we looking at to help kind of keep them? I
think the mental health counselors. That’s the
biggest thing that I hear that would help with discipline,
would help with the issues that are coming into the classroom
when the teachers say I can’t teach because I’m having to
spend too much time on other things. Whether it’s discipline
whether it’s paperwork anything that we can do including a
major thing of reducing testing. Teachers and parents and
students and me we all say that that they we we have too
much on testing going on. So this bill does reduce assessments. I’m totally in favor of that and continuing to look at
ways that we can reduce testing assessments. So that teachers can have more time in the classroom to really do what they love and
that’s teach. If you like this discussion and would like to hear more. Visit us at SCETV.ORG\THISWEEKINSOUTHCAROLINA for the entire discussion. I’m
Gavin Jackson thanks for watching.

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