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South Carolina Teachers March in State Capital

May 5, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

COLUMBIA, S.C.—Chanting “We teach. We vote,” about South Carolina 10,000 teachers and supporters marched on the Statehouse May 1 to call for higher salaries, smaller classes, and more state funding for education. Organized by SC for Ed with less than two weeks’ notice, teachers took personal days off to attend, forcing seven school districts with about one-sixth of the state’s students to cancel classes. “It is powerful to feel positive about education again,” Dottie Adams, a teacher at Hand Middle School in Columbia and an SC for Ed board member, told the Charleston Post and Courier. “We have been beaten down, and today felt like a shot in the arm. This is the beginning.” Sage Wright, an eighth-grader from North Charleston, carried a sign that read, “My dad is a teacher and I qualify for Medicaid.” House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) said he worried that the protest might make support for education reform “begin to erode.” Teachers, whose salaries start at about $32,000 a year, are demanding a 10% raise. The state’s 2019-20 budget will likely raise their pay by 4 to 10%, but legislation to make its school funding formula more equitable has stalled. Read more

May 5, 2019

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