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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

URGENT- YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED

Dear Teachers, Friends, and Supporters of Social Studies, 

The Senate Education Committee will hold public hearings in four locations around to the state to receive comments from members of the public regarding S. 419 “South Carolina Career Opportunity and Access for All Act (Omnibus Education Improvement Act.)" This is the Senate version of H. 3759. Sign in sheet to testify should be out by 5:15 p.m. at each site. Testimony to begin at 6:00 p.m. All speakers should come prepared to limit remarks to three minutes. Written remarks are also welcome.

Individuals may submit written remarks to the committee. Send remarks by email to seducomm@scsenate.gov or by mail to:
The Honorable Greg Hembree, Chairman
SC Senate Education Committee
PO Box 142
404 Gressette Building
Columbia, SC 29202

Hearings will take place the following locations:

Monday, March 4

6:00 pm -- McCormick Middle School Gym -- Senate Education Committee Public Hearing on S.419

Monday, March 11

6:00 pm -- Coker College, Black Box Theater -- Senate Education Committee Public Hearing on S.419

Monday, March 18

6:00 pm -- Gaffney High School Auditorium -- Senate Education Committee Public Hearing on S.419

Thursday, March 21

6:00 pm -- Georgetown High School Auditorium -- Senate Education Committee Public Hearing on S.419

For specific information on each site, visit the Senate Education Committee Scheduled Meetings page. 

As you know contained within this bill is a provision to remove state-mandated social studies assessments at grades 5 and 7 and the United States History and Constitution End of Course Examination Program (EOCEP).    

Teachers of the social studies recognize there are concerns with excessive testing. SCCSS applaud members of the General Assembly who have heeded the cries of educational professionals statewide to reduce testing.; however, SCCSS does not believe that removing social studies testing at grades five and seven will address excessive testing.

The end of testing at the high school level will not impact the well-rounded education of a student as there are specific social studies requirements required for graduation. 

SCCSS is concerned that the end of testing in grades 5 and 7 will have the following unintended consequence: narrowing the curriculum;  reduced instructional time increased class sizes for social studies teachers; redistribution of resources for instructional material and professional development from social studies to English/Language Arts and mathematics. We have seen it in South Carolina before state-mandated testing and after testing was removed in grades 3, 4, 6, and 8. 

ADVOCACY ACTION STEPS

1. Find your legislator by visiting https://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php

2. Let your House member know your concerns of the potential unintended consequences of removing testing for social studies at the elementary and middle levels, how it could impact the students at your school, and how it could impact you as a social studies professional. We want to insure Social Studies: Every Student, Every Day. To that end, IF testing is to be eliminated, the General Assembly MUST guarantee instructional time K-8 for social studies. 

3. Thank your representative for their service to your community. 

4. Continue to contact members of the education-related committees in the House and Senate

5. You can also send an email to the entire the House Education and Public Works Committee

6. Submit written testimony to Ginger Lee, Executive Assistant for the K-12 Subcommittee of the House Education and Public Works Committee GingerLee@schouse.gov

Material Provided to House and Senate committees 

 SCCSS Testimony on January 30, 2019 Legislative Priorities- Social Studies: Every Student, Every Day Position Statement on State Assessment in South Carolina
 Letter to Chair Raye Felder, SC House of Representatives K-12 Education Subcommittee of the House Education and Public Works Committee

Requested Changes to H. 3759

H.3759 with requested changes, 2/28/2019

Requested Changes to S. 419

S.419 with requested changes 1/24/2019




 
Legislative Priorities

Read the Statement of Legislative Priorities approved by the Board of Directors and Executive Council of the SCCSS.

 
Contacting your Elected Officials
  1.  Not sure who to contact? Visit this page and enter your address. A new page will open which lists your SC House and Senate members as well as US House and Senate members. It is that simple!
  2. Follow the link to the biographies of your Representative and/ or Senator. On that page, there is a linked form from where you may send an email. (You could also write a personal letter or make a phone call.)
  3. Your email message should be short and to the point. Imagine you are on an elevator and only have five stops to get your message across. Your message should be laser-focused: who you are, why social studies is important, and how legislation could personally impact you and the students you teach. Limit your points to three. Tell the legislator what it is you would like he/she to do.  
  4. There is power in numbers. Make sure your colleagues also contact their elected officials!

Points to remember: 

(a) A personalized message is better than a copy and paste job. Legislators do not like a form letter.  

(b) Thank your elected official for the time they devote to serving the citizens of South Carolina. 

(c) Follow how your elected official votes. If he/she votes in favor of social studies, send them a follow-up note thanking him/her for their support. 

(d) Build a personal relationship with your elected officials and their staff. They will be more likely to consider your ideas if this is not the first time you are contacting them. 

(e) SCCSS would like to know of your advocacy efforts. Please complete this short form. 



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