SC Senate starts process for debate on education bill; decision receives mixed reviews

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- Back in May of 2018, a reported 10,000 teachers showed up in Columbia to rally for education reform and to put pressure on lawmakers to NOT pass a massive education bill.

That bill passed in the House last year and is well on its way to possibly pass in the Senate this year.

Members of the SC Senate used the first day of session to place the 60 plus page education bill as priority on the Senate’s Calendar. It was a decision supported by a 40-4 vote. Senator Karl Allen was one of the 40 to vote in favor of putting the bill on special order.

“Education is a priority and so that’s why we voted for special order it’s time.”

Over the past year the bill has received mixed reactions. Many consider the bill as a much needed startingpoint, which is why majority of the state’s senators said yes to the special order.

Senator Allen added, “The only way to get to the help is to debate tweak it and give some relief to our children they’re our future.”

The less than a handful of lawmakers who voted against the motion are concerned the process may be rushed.

“My mother was a public school teacher for 40 years my children are in public schools so I want to make sure what we do here in Columbia isn’t just to check a box to say we did something for educaiton,” said Senator Shane Martin, who made the motion in opposition.

While the bill received overwhelming support, educators and advocates feel the bill misses the mark in including teacher’s needs and concerns.

“The number one problem is it was written without teachers at the table. For example, it requires teachers to take quantiles,” explained Senator Mike Fanning. The Faifield County lawmaker was one of the 4 to vote “No.”

Senator Greg Hembree, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, expects the Senate to start proposing and reviewing amendments to this bill as early as Tuesday.

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