CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On Monday, regional school boards held a community event to rally for education reform.
The event called “Now is The Time” brought teachers, parents, and community members from seven school districts into the conversation about improving education.
Region 1 of the South Carolina School Boards Association said they were hosting the event to raise public awareness and find ways to improve education opportunities for students.
The event, held at Charleston Southern University’s Lighstey Chapel, brought in almost 1,500 people who listened to panelists discuss current education issues.
Teachers discussed the struggles with low pay, the impacts of large classrooms, and lack of education funding. Many of them spoke about their second jobs, and insufficient funds at the question and portion part of the event.
“Are we making this an attractive profession? Or have we put into place things legislatively that are quite frankly repulsive to becoming an educator or remaining in education,” said Nick Snyder, a Berkeley County school teacher.
Among the panelists was North Charleston’s Mayor Keith Summey who said the need for change falls in the hands of all people not just teachers.
“That is not the role of teachers. That is the role of every person that lives in this community,” said Mayor Summey. “We have got to change our approach on education, making sure that every child has a chance to succeed.
According to South Carolina’s Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), 5,300 teachers left their jobs last year and no longer teach in South Carolina’s public schools. Although some of those numbers are due to teachers retiring, the executive director said it’s still disturbing to see those teachers go.
Across the state, schools had to fill 7,600 teacher vacancies before the start of the 2018-19 school year, according to that same data.
Officials said they’re working with state legislators on education bills that will address the concerns teachers have.