Mandating Minimum Pay for Teachers

S.239 just like last session’s S.898 and H.4478 would mandate that public teachers and administrators in South Carolina be paid, at minimum, the Southeast region’s average salary for their positions. Presumably the thinking behind these bills is that South Carolina’s pay must be commensurate with surrounding states in order to attract the best teaching talent and ensure positive educational outcomes. The problem is even if an increase in teacher pay attracted more teachers at the top of their field they would still be stuck teaching under restrictive state and federal standards. These standards provide disincentives to different approaches to education, and this problem will be exacerbated with the implementation of common core or other “college and career ready standards” which are likely to closely resemble common core. The bottom line is that this bill may increase expenditures on teachers and administrators, but it does nothing to solve the problems that lie at the heart of South Carolina education.

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