State lawmakers set to tackle education reform next year

Representative Rita Allison said she expects the House to discuss teacher salaries and unfreezing step increases.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Palmetto State Teachers’ Association (PTSA) has released their annual legislative agenda for the General Assembly’s upcoming session. 

“We think that 2021 is going to be an absolutely critical year for public education in South Carolina,” said Patrick Kelly with PSTA.

The General Assembly returns in January for its 124th session and education reform is expected to be at the top of the to-do list.

“The General Assembly has to address pay,” Kelly said. “South Carolina teacher pay is down 6.6% when adjusted for inflation since the year 2000.”

PSTA wants law makers to tackle several education items – that’s why they created a legislative agenda that they’re presenting to lawmakers.

Some items on PSTA’S 2021 agenda are:

  • Improving South Carolina’s teacher shortage crisis
  • Strengthening and reforming school funding
  • Reducing standardized testing
  • Keeping schools safe and healthy

“A lot of those, most all of them, we agreed with and we certainly are going to work together to see what we can get implemented,” said Chair of the House Education Committee, Representative Rita Allison. 

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She met with the PSTA Monday to discuss their agenda. She said she expects the House to discuss unfreezing teacher salary step increases when they return.

“That’s going to be looked at very favorably,” Allison stated. “The House wanted to make sure that we had the monies and, of course, by the time we get back in January we’ll know where we stand financially in the state, and certainly that is one of our priorities.”

Step increases were frozen in the spring to save the state money during the pandemic. Representative Allison said her committee is also working toward increasing salaries overall for teachers. 

South Carolina lawmakers return to the State House for legislative session on January 12th.

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