Walking out for education reform or staying in the classroom, that’s the decision South Carolina teachers will have to make ahead of the “All Out May 1” rally in Columbia.
The march is organized by SC for Ed.
The group feels teachers voices have fallen on deaf ears and they plan to demand change from lawmakers by rallying instead of teaching next Wednesday.
“I know they need more money, but at the end of the day education is important,” said Olesha Irby, a grandparent of a Greenville County student. “So that’s not being a role model for kids, teaching them it’s okay to walk out of school if you feel something is not right.”
“I feel the May 1st protest is very valid because teachers are the lifeblood of our kids,” said Abraham Lincoln, the parent of a Greenville County student.
Earlier this week, Greenville County District Administrators addressed the rally after teachers came forward with questions about participating.
School leaders asked principals to revisit the time off policy with their staff.
“Our board policy says that personal leave needs to be approved in advance by a supervisor,” Beth Brotherton, District Director of Communications, told 7News. “We wanted to give teachers enough time to have that approved if that’s something they wanted to use their personal time for.”
Brotherton says the District doesn’t want to discourage teachers from participating. However, school leaders are still responsible for ensuring students don’t lose valuable instructional time.
So if teachers properly request time-off to participate, it allows school administrators to ensure they’ll have the staff in place to keep things running smoothly.
Brotherton says the District as a whole is on board with some of the motives behind the rally.
“Whether that’s raising teacher pay or lowering class sizes,” she said.
However, District leaders feel there are ways to achieve change without taking time off.
“We are encouraging teachers to stay in the classroom on that day and really advocate for students because all of the research shows that the most important thing for student achievement is the classroom teacher,” Brotherton told 7News.
A spokesperson for Spartanburg and Anderson counties tell 7News they have not felt the need to address the rally.
Click here for more information about “All Out May 1.”