Grand Strand teachers prepare for protest in Columbia next week

Grand Strand

Teachers across the Palmetto State plan to travel to Columbia on May 1st in what SC for Ed calls “All Out” day.

Educators will use personal days as they descend on the state Capital to protest the education reform bill in the Statehouse.

One Myrtle Beach teacher said her students know she will be out and why. “Me going to the Statehouse next Wednesday is the best lesson I can teach my kids and that is to advocate,” said Kendra Pennington, Myrtle Beach Middle School teacher.

“That’s going to be the best lesson I’ve taught all year. My kids know I’m not going to be here on May 1 and they also know why,” Pennington said.

SC for Ed representatives tell News13 they have been to meetings and public hearings but still feel unheard.

“I’ve talked to senators, I’ve talked to representatives and I’ve felt like they were hearing me,” Pennington said. “But then, they get into their meetings and they vote differently.”

According to Pennington, who is an Horry and Georgetown County representative for SC for Ed, the group wants the House to throw the education reform bill out completely and meet with educators during the summer to come up with a resolution.

The Senate did propose a 4% pay increase, but educators tell News13 that isn’t enough.

A few of the major objectives SC for Ed wants a new bill to accomplish: duty-free lunch breaks, a 10% pay increase and smaller classroom sizes.

Ken Richardson is the chairperson for the Horry County School Board and told News13, he’s met with teachers and supports their freedom of speech but worries about lost classroom time in the wake of 16 lost school days to Hurricane Florence.

In a statement to News13 he said, “I find myself torn with helping the teachers but also I have to not disrupt the remaining school year and the classroom instruction we desperately need to finish the school year.”

Pennington said she has met with Richardson and does feel he is supportive, but she believes her students need her to be in Columbia on May 1.

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