House of Representatives amended, 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 that includes a requirement for each public high school in the state
to offer at least one rigorous, standards‑based computer science course. 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. Some of
the incentives focus on encouraging teachers to pursue their careers in schools
that are failing to meet goals for academic performance and in areas of the
state that are experiencing the greatest economic distress. Enhanced accountability provisions are
included to direct assistance to schools that are struggling academically and
to transform or close chronically underperforming schools. A school district consolidation protocol is
established for merging less populous districts that are failing to meet
standards for student performance. Local
school board members are subjected to ethics provisions. A Special Council on Revitalizing Education
is created to advise policy makers on ways to improve collaboration among state
agencies and institutions and what steps should be taken to ensure that the
state’s public education system is emphasizing skills demanded in the
State of South Carolina establishes an overall statewide workforce readiness
goal of at least sixty percent of all working‑age South Carolinians having a
post‑secondary degree or recognized industry credentials before the year 2030.
This goal is consistent with all students graduating and having the knowledge,
skills, and characteristics contained in the Profile of the South Carolina
“Student Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate basic expectations
including: students should expect that the General Assembly, Governor, State
Superintendent of Education, State Board of Education, local school boards,
local superintendents, principals, teachers, and parents to focus on improving
education, and creating a system that puts them first; students should feel
safe and secure in school; students should have educational choice; and the
ability to challenge unfair treatment. These
provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a violation.
“Teacher Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate those things that all
certified public school teachers in South Carolina should be able to
expect. These include: working in an
environment conducive to learning; the inclusion of their discretion with
regard to disciplinary and instructional decisions; freedom from frivolous
lawsuits, planning time; a competitive salary; no unnecessary paperwork;
support from school administration.
These provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a
are made for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year and a public school student
appointed by the Governor to serve as non-voting advisory members of the State
Board of Education.
Council on Revitalizing Education
establishes within the Office of the Governor 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.
The Governor serves as
the chairman of the ten-member council.
The Governor may, however, delegate the position of chairman and SCORE
duties to the Lieutenant Governor. The
other council members are appointed to five-year terms, with SCORE being
composed of: (a) three members appointed by the Governor; (b) one member
appointed by the Speaker of the House; (c) one member appointed
by the Chairman of the
House Ways and Means Committee; (d) one member appointed by the Chairman of the
House Education and Public Works Committee; (e) one member appointed by the
President of the Senate; (f) one member appointed by the Chairman of the Senate
Finance Committee; and (g) one member appointed by the Chairman of the Senate
Education Committee. Council members may
not concurrently serve as a member of the General Assembly. Appointed members must have a background in
early childhood education, K‑12 education, higher education, business,
workforce development, or economic development.
Two council members, one from the appointees allotted the House of
Representatives and the other from the appointees allotted the Senate, must be
current or retired highly‑effective teachers.
A member of the council may serve no more than two consecutive terms.
Governor shall hire an executive director who must possess a background in at
least one of the following: early childhood education, K‑12 education, higher
education, business, workforce development, or economic development.
Before October 1, 2021,
the council shall establish a series of benchmarks that must include, but are
not limited to the following:
(1) access to quality
early learning, as determined by the council, including the number of three and
four‑year old children in quality early‑learning settings;
(2) third grade reading
proficiency, including the percentage of third grade students who score ‘Meets’
or ‘Exceeds Expectations’ on the SC Ready assessment, or its successor;
(3) eighth grade
mathematics, including the percentage of eighth grade students who score
‘Meets’ or ‘Exceeds Expectations’ on the SC Ready assessment, or its successor;
(4) high school
graduation rates, including the percentages of students who graduated in four
and five years;
nonparticipation, including the percentage of South Carolina residents between
sixteen and eighteen years of age who are not going to school on the secondary
level or in adult education, not in the military, or not otherwise working;
(6) post‑high school
enrollment, including the percentage of South Carolina high school graduates
who are in postsecondary education the semester after graduation from high
school or are gainfully employed; and
post‑high school education attainment, including the percentage of South
Carolina residents ages twenty‑two through sixty‑five who have completed a two‑or
four‑year degree, or have received a nationally recognized certification as
determined by the Department of Commerce.
assistance and consultation from the Department of Administration, the council
is charged with creating and maintaining a publicly accessible website that
reports the benchmark information, explains the benchmarks, and provides an
annual update to show the state’s progress toward meeting each goal.
in 2021, the council is required to make an annual comprehensive report to the
Governor and General Assembly that specifically identifies areas within the
education and workforce pipeline where state agencies and other publically
funded entities are failing to meet the benchmarks. The council shall provide
recommendations regarding ways that state and local efforts can be improved,
ways that collaboration and cooperation among state and local agencies and
resources can be increased, and efforts underway or being considered in other
states that address the noted areas of concern. The council also shall
recommend legislation it considers necessary.
to Academic Rigor to Improve Student Preparation
Science and Mathematics Coursework and Incentives
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
later than the beginning of the 2020‑2021 School Year, each public high school
and public charter high school must offer at least one rigorous, standards‑based
computer science course. The course is
to be made available in a traditional classroom setting, in a dual‑enrollment
course, blended‑learning environment, online‑based, or other technology‑based
format tailored to meet the needs of each participating student.
Beginning in the 2020‑2021
School Year, the Department of Education shall:
(1) employ one
experienced full‑time employee whose sole responsibility is to coordinate and
lead the South Carolina Computer Science Education Initiative;
(2) support K‑12
academic and computer science teachers in designing interdisciplinary, project‑based
instruction and assignments that engage students in applying literacy, math,
and computational thinking skills to solve problems;
(3) design career
pathways that connect students to postsecondary programs, degrees, or
postsecondary credentials in such high demand career fields as cybersecurity,
information systems, informatics, graphic design, computer engineering, and
(4) offer professional
development and teacher endorsements to new teachers who will teach computer
(5) provide information
and materials which identify emerging career opportunities in computer science
and related fields to parents, students, teachers, and guidance counselors; and
assist districts in developing partnerships with business, industry, higher
education, and communities to provide afterschool and extracurricular
activities that engage students in computer science.
August 1, 2021, the State Department of Education shall develop a technology
plan that addresses wireless Internet access for all public schools and must
provide a report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
President of the Senate.
Assessment Program Revisions
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.
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.
to Succeed Initiative Enhancements
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.
must be given at the beginning of the school year. For students who need additional assistance,
the screening will also occur during the middle and end of the school
year. Assessment results must be
reported to the State Department of Education which is responsible for
monitoring student progress.
to Succeed are revised to require that districts provide appropriate in-class
intervention until all students are at grade level.
are to be retained if their SC Ready scores are at the “Does Not Meet”
level. This is more rigorous than the
current “Not Met 1” level.
reading portfolio exemption for retention is strengthened.
exemptions from retention are granted because of appeals by students’ parents
or guardians, school districts are required to report on the number of appeals
made, the number granted, and the outcome of the students whose appeals are
specific job duties and position requirements are established for reading
State Department of Education must screen and approve reading coaches for
districts where more than one-third of the students score at the lowest
childhood, elementary, and special education teachers must pass a test
regarding reading instruction before they can be certified.
development required for compliance with Read to Succeed must be offered at no
cost by the school districts.
Commission on Higher Education and the Learning Disorders Taskforce are charged
with examining the effectiveness of teacher education programs in regard to
diagnosing and assisting students with reading difficulties.
into Higher Education and Workforce Opportunities
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 Advisory
Committee on Academic Programs is required to develop a statewide dual
enrollment articulation agreement that will replace all locally created
agreements between K-12 and higher education.
desiring an Education Lottery scholarship must, in addition to existing
requirements, take a math and English course during their senior year of high
school to maintain these skills prior to entering college.
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. To further this effort, the
State Department of Education must continuously monitor student
in grades K-12, and provide parents and students with lexile and quantile
scores derived from assessments. In
addition to using Lexile and Quantile scores, high school equivalency
assessment thresholds may also serve as common admission scores to technical
colleges. A test in an English/language
arts and mathematics course may be used to satisfy the requirement. A test for every course is not required.
legislation revises and updates the Education and Economic Development Act
(EEDA). The State Department of
Education, the Technical College System, the Commission on Higher Education,
the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Employment and Workforce must
collaborate to ensure that workforce needs are aligned with career pathways and
schools or career centers must have a minimum of three career pathways, with at
least one pathway in a high-skill, high-demand area. Pathways must be reviewed every three years
and updated as needed. School districts
must coordinate with each other to ensure student access to multiple pathways. Upon Department approval of bus routes,
districts may provide transportation for students.
State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education (SBTCE) must establish,
and technical colleges must recognize, common admission scores. (Scores may be differentiated for certain
programs of study.) Students who do not
meet the minimum admission score should be encouraged to enter a noncredit
program that awards a national recognized business or industry credential. Education Lottery Tuition Assistance is
available for individuals who enroll in a noncredit, credential awarding
program provided they enroll within seven years of the first time they entered
the ninth grade.
for Teachers and Educator Development and Satisfaction
state’s minimum teacher salary is increased to thirty‑five thousand dollars.
legislation provides that no tuition may be charged for a period of four school
years by any state‑supported college or university or any state‑supported
vocational or technical school for children of full‑time certified classroom
teachers with at least five years of teaching service who are employed in
schools that have an absolute rating of unsatisfactory for at least three of
the previous four years. The teacher
must serve as a full‑time classroom teacher during the time the child is
receiving the tuition free higher education.
The benefit is retained even if the school’s academic performance
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.
order to better understand the demands of the 21st century workplace, public
school teachers who work in grades 6-12 are encouraged to become interns for up
to 80 hours per year. Employers who hire
teachers for these summer internships are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit for
each teacher they employee.
board of trustees of a local school district may authorize the daily mileage
reimbursement of a teacher who must travel more than twenty‑five miles each way
between home and school. This
reimbursement may not exceed the existing federal rate.
school boards of trustees may establish policies allowing teachers to enroll
their children in the schools where they teach regardless of the student’s
zoned area of attendance, and if space is available at the receiving school.
classroom teacher and full‑time librarian is entitled to at least a thirty‑minute
daily planning period free from the instruction and supervision of students. Each school district may set flexible or
rotating schedules for the implementation of this duty‑free planning
period. Implementation may not, however,
result in a lengthened school day.
legislation includes provisions for colleges and universities to create
alternative teacher preparation programs that are not nationally
accredited. Such programs must, however,
provide specifically mandated evidence of effectiveness.
State Board of Education must review educator preparation programs at least
once every five years.
SDE must provide each teacher preparation program with information regarding
the performance of its graduates. The
programs are required to protect the confidentiality of the data, and the
information is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
provide for accountability in teacher preparation programs, both traditional
and alternative, the legislation creates the South Carolina Teacher Preparation
Report Card to examine the number of students completing the program, the
performance of teacher candidates on basic skills examinations, and the
effectiveness of the programs’ graduates in the classroom setting.
existing teacher satisfaction survey currently administered is now statutorily
required. Results must be complied,
analyzed, and reported for each school and district. This data should be shared with policy makers
on a yearly basis, and the Department will publish those results on its
for students in underperforming schools
legislation reinforces accountability act provisions regarding assistance for
struggling schools or districts.
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. A report on the assistance provided to the schools
must be provided to the General Assembly on a yearly basis. Stakeholder groups that include mental
health, social services, and law enforcement must be asked for input into
a school receives an overall rating of unsatisfactory for three out of four
years, the school is considered to be chronically underperforming’ and one of
the following must occur:
(1) the school will be reconstituted
immediately after the end of the school year in which the annual report is
State Superintendent shall make all personnel decisions for the reconstituted
school and shall have the authority to determine whether to terminate the
principal, faculty, and staff;
State Superintendent of Education shall hire the new principal and staff for
the reconstituted school if necessary; and
department shall contract with a public or nonprofit entity that has a proven
record of success in working with underperforming schools and districts. The entity shall use research‑based
strategies to assist schools with their operations and oversee the administration
of the school until the overall rating of the school improves; provided, if the
overall rating does not improve within three years then the school either must
be restarted under the management of a high‑performing charter management
organization selected by the State Superintendent of Education or must be
governed by the South Carolina Transformation School District, and all state,
local and federal funds generated by the students must follow the students to
the charter management organization or to the South Carolina Transformation
(2) the school must be closed and restarted
under the management of an existing charter school authorizer or a nonprofit
educational management organization selected by the State Superintendent; provided,
if the school is a Title I school, the Department of Education will award
competitive grants as authorized under federal law to support these new schools
and all state, local and federal funds generated by the students follow the
students to the charter school authorizer or to the educational management
organization. The authorizer or management organization has the authority to
terminate any and all employees of the school and hire employees at its
(3) the school must be closed and its
students must be transferred to higher‑performing schools in the district.
South Carolina Transformation School District is established as part of State
Department of Education to operate and manage unsatisfactory schools.
Superintendent of Education is directed to utilize lower child to teacher
ratios as a strategy to assist chronically unsatisfactory schools.
legislation establishes a school district consolidation protocol which provides
that, before August 1, 2023, local school districts whose kindergarten through
grade twelve student population is less than one thousand, and where greater
than fifty percent of the students attend schools whose report card ratings are
below average or unsatisfactory, shall be merged with a district in the same
county in which it is located.
Board Ethics Provisions
State Board of Education must adopt a model code of ethics that shall be
adopted by local districts by July 1, 2020.
person may not serve on a local school board if a family member is employed by
the district as a superintendent, principal, assistant principal, or member of
the district administrative staff. This
requirement may be waived for districts with a student population under 3,000.
board members may not their position for personal or family advantage. Expectations for board members are codified.
State Ethics Act, including the requirement to file a statement of economic
interest, is applied to local board members.
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. Completion of
the training must be reported to, and retained by the State Department of
In addition to other
statutory authority relating to the removal of officers, the Governor may
remove a member of a school district board of trustees in a case involving
fraud, misappropriation of funds, nepotism, violation of election or
procurement laws, or a combination of these.
protocol is established that allows board members to be removed by the Governor
if the district loses accreditation for school governance reasons.
Analysis of Federal Programs and Grants
Legislative Audit Council is directed to study publish a report by August 1,
2020, identifying and detailing federal funding streams for programs and grants
in elementary and secondary education in this state in total and breaking out
the cost of overhead, compliance, and reporting incurred by the State
Department of Education, school districts, and local schools.
House approved S.326 and ordered the legislation enrolled for
ratification. The joint resolution
directs the State Law Enforcement Division to distribute two hundred fifty
thousand dollars to the South Carolina State Firefighters Association to
provide for POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER INSURANCE AND PROGRAMS FOR
House approved and sent the Senate H.3294, a bill increasing the age
limit in SAFE HAVENS FOR ABANDONED BABIES provisions that designate locations,
such as hospitals, police stations, and fire stations, where someone may leave
an infant under certain circumstances without criminal penalty. The legislation provides that the safe haven
provisions apply to infants who are up to one year old rather than the current
standard of no more than sixty days old.
House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3973, a bill establishing
the CRIME OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION.
The legislation establishes felony criminal provisions that apply to the
mutilation of the genitalia of females who are under the age of eighteen or
older females who are unable to consent to the procedure. A violation is punishable with a fine of up to twenty thousand dollars and/or imprisonment for not
more than twenty years. In addition to
these criminal penalties, professional licenses or certifications are
permanently revoked for physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who
engage in criminal female genital mutilation.
The legislation also revises the Children’s Code to add female genital
mutilation to provisions addressing child abuse and harm.
House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3263, the “ARMED SERVICE
MEMBERS AND SPOUSES PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING ACT”. The legislation establishes a protocol that
allows the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to expedite the
issuance of professional and occupational licenses to spouses of military
personnel transferred to South Carolina when the spouse holds a professional or
occupational license issued by another state that has similar requirements.
House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3200, the “SOUTH CAROLINA
LACTATION SUPPORT ACT”. As a means of
promoting public health and benefitting South Carolina’s economy by keeping
nursing employees in the workforce, the legislation requires employers to make
reasonable efforts to provide workers with reasonable unpaid break time and
space to express milk at work. The
legislation does not require employers to compensate employees for breaks taken
to express breast milk unless the employer already provides compensated breaks
and does not require employers to create a permanent or dedicated space for use
by pumping employees. The South Carolina
Human Affairs Commission is charged with certain responsibilities for educating
employers, employees, and employment agencies about their rights and
responsibilities under the legislation.
A timeline is established for workplace compliance.
House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3586, a bill revising and
updating the COORDINATED
STATEWIDE 911 EMERGENCY TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM. The legislation charges the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office with
creating, updating, and implementing a comprehensive strategic plan, including
operating standards, for a coordinated statewide 911 system to address changing
technology, services, and operating efficiency and effectiveness. The standards must be developed and updated
with comments and recommendations from the South Carolina 911 Advisory
Committee, local officials, service providers, and the public. The plan must be approved by the board and
may be amended as necessary. The
legislation includes provisions for auditing local governments on the use of
the “Emergency Telephone System”
Fund, requiring local governments to restore 911 funds that were
inappropriately used and allowing the withholding of funds to local governments
that fail to comply with audit provisions.
House approved and sent the Senate H.3601, a bill establishing a procedure that allows a court to
grant a CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE FOR A FIRST TIME OFFENDER CHARGED WITH PUBLIC
DRUNKENNESS AND DISORDERLY CONDUCT.
House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3029, a billEXPANDING STATE POLITICAL PARTY
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE JURISDICTION TO INCLUDE COUNTY OFFICERS. The legislation expands political party state
executive committee authority so that it includes hearing protests and contests
in county officer, and less than county officer, elections. The legislation repeals provisions for
hearings by county executive committees and appeals from decisions of county
House approved and sent the Senate H.4157, a joint resolution to extend the deadline to submit offers
for a solicitation for a STATEWIDE VOTING SYSTEM solution for the South
Carolina Elections Commission and to create a special evaluation panel to
evaluate and score each proposal for new voting machines.
House approved and sent the Senate H.4054, a joint resolution to allow for the submission of less
than three qualified applicants to the Governor to serve as EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND WORKFORCE.
House rejected H.3031, a bill revising VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES.
If you have a comment or
opinion concerning the matters 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 (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908);
or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of