The state Senate Finance K-12 Education Committee met Wednesday to explore what can be done in removing clutter from the classroom that prevents teachers from teaching.
Chairman State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, acknowledged that there are some things that cannot be eased or eliminated. “They have so many other things they have to deal with, some of those things nothing we can do about.”
He noted the committee is focused on paperwork or other state-required red tape which can potentially be removed through new laws or policy.
Committee members are looking to ease classroom stress for teachers as South Carolina struggles to deal with shortages statewide. More than 5,000 teachers left the profession last year, and the Center for Education Recruiting, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) has noted all of South Carolina’s graduating education college majors combined cannot replace that large a number.
Sheheen said that if there is something they can do to help teachers spend more time teaching they want to act on it. “This committee can assist in removing so that teachers are able to focus on what we all want them to do which is teach those kids in the classroom,” he said.
Educators who testified Wednesday complained of too many required assessment tests and paperwork, as well as pay below the Southeastern average they say requires many teachers take a second job.
Wednesday was the first meeting on dealing with the subject. Sheheen said that there will be a follow-up meeting.