North Charleston Event Sheds Light on Current Teacher Contract Issues

North Charleston Event Sheds Light on Current Teacher Contract Issues

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. Friday was Teacher Signing Day in North Charleston. The South Carolina Education Association held the event to ask for changes in teacher contracts that they think should be made.

The last day for teachers in South Carolina to sign their contracts was May 10. Members of the SCEA got together at Wannamaker Park to help teachers understand what they are signing.

President of the Berkeley County Education Association Kathleen Low says, “We want teachers to be able to read, understand, and ask good questions about their contracts.” It’s exciting for us to see our kids sign as student players to go to college, and we want to honour our teachers too. There’s a contract we sign, and they do something important. I think it’s important that we all understand the contract before we sign it.

Low says that teachers won’t know their exact pay until they sign their contracts. She tells them that once they sign, they can’t back out of the deal if anything changes after that.

Low says, “Teachers put a huge amount of trust in their districts when they sign today because they don’t know how much they will be paid for the next year.”

She says that if teachers try to break their contracts, school districts can report them to the Department of Education and have their licence to teach taken away.

“It has happened before.” As of right now, some teachers have had their licences taken away for doing just that, Low says. “We should have a professional contract, but this one isn’t.”

Because of a lack of teachers in the area, Low says it’s important for school towns to keep the ones they have. There was a plan this year that she says didn’t get passed. It would have given teachers 10 days after finding out how much they were getting paid to get out of their contracts without being punished.

She wants the fight for teachers to have that right to go on.

“This is not going in the right direction, so people need to start seeing it as a crisis.” “We’re not slowing it down, so we need to do something about it,” Low says. “This contract is one of the things teachers are fighting for to make schools better.”

People who work for Dorchester School District 2 say they need 122 teachers. The Charleston County School District says they need just over 200 more teachers. We have asked Berkeley County Schools, Dorchester School District 4, and Colleton County Schools how many teacher openings they have but have not replied.

The Charleston County Education Association, the Berkeley County Education Association, the Summerville Education Association, the Colleton County Education Association, and the Dorchester Education Association all helped put on the show.

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