Capitol Report: SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION, CAREER OPPORTUNITY, AND ACCESS FOR ALL ACT

By Rep. Jackie “Coach” Hayes, 333C Blatt Building
SC House District #55 – Darlington, Dillon, Horry & Marlboro Counties

This is just a short overview of the Bill. I encourage you to go to (www.scstatehouse.gov) to read the entire bill.
Approved, and sent the Senate H.3759, the “SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION, CAREER OPPORTUNITY, AND ACCESS FOR ALL ACT.” The legislation makes comprehensive revisions that are offered as a means of ensuring that the state’s public school students receive the training needed to meet 21st century demands. New emphasis is placed on mathematics and technology. Enhancements are made to the SC Read to Succeed Initiative that focuses on crucial literacy skills. Provisions are made to afford public school students a smoother transition into higher education and workforce opportunities. These include expanded dual enrollment programs and improved access to state scholarship funding to cover training costs. The legislation raises the minimum teacher salary statewide and offers an array of incentives geared towards attracting individuals to teaching and retaining those professionals in the classroom.

Goals and Governance
The State of South Carolina establishes an overall statewide workforce readiness goal of at least sixty percent of all workingage South Carolinians having a postsecondary degree or recognized industry credentials before the year 2030.
A “Student Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate basic expectations including creating a system that puts them first; addresses, students feeling, students should feel safe and secure in school; addresses students having educational choices; and students having the ability to challenge unfair treatment.
A “Teacher Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate those things that all certified public school teachers in South Carolina should be able to expect.

Special Council on Revitalizing Education
The legislation establishes the Special Council on Revitalizing Education (SCORE) which is created to: (1) monitor the state education and workforce pipeline to continually determine the education and training levels required by the state’s employers; (2) identify and recommend improvements regarding efficiency and cooperation of agencies and programs throughout the education and workforce pipeline; and (3) report findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on a continuous basis.

Enhancements to Academic Rigor to Improve Student Preparation
The State Board of Education is charged with conducting, at least every five years, a cyclical review of grade appropriate standards for computer science, computational thinking, and computer coding for grades kindergarten through grade twelve.

Statewide Assessment Program Revisions
The legislation removes summative assessments not required by federal accountability law. This includes eliminating the eighth grade science assessment, all grades 3-8 social studies assessments, and the United States History end-of-course assessment.

Early Childhood
The Office of First Steps and the State Department of Education (SDE) must provide a report to the General Assembly regarding how to increase the number of children attending state-funded four-year-old kindergarten programs.

Read to Succeed Initiative Enhancements
The State Board of Education is charged with approving no more than five reliable and valid early literacy and numeracy screening assessment instruments for selection and use by school districts in kindergarten through third grade.
Read to Succeed are revised to require that districts provide appropriate in-class intervention until all students are at grade level.

Transition into Higher Education and Workforce Opportunities
The legislation provides for an expansion of dual enrollment opportunities so that students who want to go to college already have at least one year of college credit by creating a uniform, statewide credit articulation agreement between K-12 and higher education.
The legislation emphasizes an accountability system that should let parents know if schools are successful in preparing students for eventual success in college or on the job.
High schools or career centers must have a minimum of three career pathways, with at least one pathway in a high-skill, high-demand area.

Incentives for Teachers and Educator Development and Satisfaction
The state’s minimum teacher salary is increased to thirtyfive thousand dollars.
An income tax credit is established that covers all of the property taxes paid for five years on a residence for a K-12 public school teacher who lives and teaches is a county designated as a Tier IV economically distressed county.

Enhanced Accountability
Assistance for students in underperforming schools
The legislation reinforces accountability act provisions regarding assistance for struggling schools or districts.
Local school boards with below average or unsatisfactory performance records are required to establish renewal plans that must be approved by the State Board of Education. These plans must include professional growth plans for teachers and principals.

School Board Ethics Provisions
The State Board of Education must adopt a model code of ethics that shall be adopted by local districts by July 1, 2020.
Local school boards must adopt an annual training programs for members that includes instruction on school law, ethics, school finance, nepotism, board relations, and conflicts of interest.
If you would like any additional information on these bills, or any other legislation under consideration by the General Assembly, feel free to visit our website at www.scstatehouse.gov. If you have a comment or opinion concerning the issues discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-734-3099); Bus. (843-841-3679). Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.