Senate Report: Two Months In

We are now close to two months into the 2019 legislative session. While many may still take the time to reflect on the accomplishments that we made in the previous session, we need to roll up our sleeves and tackle the issues that are most important to the welfare and future of our state. As always, there are many issues that are being brought to the forefront. However, in my opinion one of the upmost important issues to the future of our state is education.
Our state has seen some extremely hard times in these recent years. Unfortunately, due to these difficult times, taking a good long look at our educational system has been placed on the back burner. In no way is education a recent issue. For far too long our state has had some of the poorest education rankings in the nation. I know that I do not have to stress to you the importance of building a stronger educational system in South Carolina.
That is why it is my hope that this session both parties will finally come together and address this very real issue facing our young South Carolinians. The educational future of our state is a multifaceted issue that will not be solved over night. The General Assembly needs to look at all of the areas that will be needed to build a strong educational base that encourages all students and teachers in our state.
Currently the Senate Education Committee is studying comprehensive legislation that is intended to strengthen, reform, and improve our K-12 educational system. As introduced, this legislation establishes an overall state college and career readiness goal that by 2030 60% of all working-age South Carolinians should have a postsecondary degree or recognized industry credential. S419 also directs the development of a process for career clusters leading to career pathways.
In addition, S419 also focuses on teacher recruitment and retention. It provides for free college tuition for children of highly effective teachers who work for at least four years in unsatisfactory schools. Under this legislation, districts will be allowed to reimburse teachers who travel more that twenty-five miles one way to school. Schools that receive a rating of “Good” or “Excellent” will also be permitted to hire noncertified teachers in a ratio of up to 25% of its entire teaching staff.
S419 is still at the beginning stages of the legislative process and is in no way a finished product. However, this important piece of legislation can be found at I firmly believe that if we take the time to properly address this and build a solid foundation that the educational future of our children will be bright.
As with all matters concerning state government, I want to hear your opinions and suggestions concerning these issues.
Please contact me in my Columbia office located at 608 Gressette Office Building. You can reach me, or a member of my staff in Columbia at (803) 212-6000 or by fax at (803) 212-6011. My district office is located at 2523 East Highway 76, Marion, SC 29571, the phone number is (843) 423-8237 and the fax number is (843) 431-6049. You may also email me at kentwilliams@scsenategov. My business phone is (843) 423-3904.
Please use this information to write, call or email me with your suggestions and concerns regarding issues before the Senate and in our community.

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