February 16, 2022
House Education & Public Works Committee
H.4325, H.4343, H.4392, H.4605, & H.4799 - Opponent Testimony
Chair Allison and members of the House Education & Public Works Committee,
The South Carolina Education Association (The SCEA) opposes H.4325, H.4343, H.4392, H.4605, and H.4799.
Parents and educators want to give children the best education possible. They want children to learn and grow. A great Public-School education includes art and music, math and science, and history and literature. This type of legislation, however, limits what history our children can learn and what books they can read. We should trust educators and parents to ensure our children get the best education possible.
Educators in South Carolina want to provide every child an accurate and quality education. All South Carolina children should receive a fact-based education that doesn’t change by zip code. Educators are trained and experienced in the field of education and the content they teach; they believe in their duty to set their students up to be successful contributors to society.
In addition, educators should have the freedom to teach the honest, complete facts about historical events without political censorship.
These pieces of proposed legislation do not empower families to be involved in their children’s education or facilitate necessary relationship building and open communication between schools and families. In fact, these proposed bills seek to solve problems that simply don’t exist in South Carolina’s schools. Curricula are based on approved state standards for the content areas educators teach.
Rather, these pieces of proposed legislation divide parents from their school community by adding unnecessary bureaucracy. This type of legislation will impose top-down policies that pit parents against educators through a heavy-handed politically defined process for questions and issues that can be solved through simple conversation and communication between families and schools.
Further, in the face of an unprecedented educator shortage crisis, legislation like this communicates little respect for educators as professionals and creates an environment in which educators feel overly scrutinized. This results in more educators leaving the profession and even fewer talented young people entering the field of education.
The SCEA urges you to protect the relationship and community between parents, educators, and schools. Rather than implementing heavy-handed bureaucracy and driving educators away from the profession, The SCEA urges you to preserve local decision making and local parental involvement and to focus on providing the schools that South Carolina’s students deserve by focusing on the most pressing problems facing our students— inequities in funding and opportunity, as well as the unprecedented educator and staff shortage crisis.