Teacher Engagement in the Education Process

I am the director of our Rex Institute for Educational Renewal and Partnerships and Jim Rex who is a former Secretary of Education and his wife were Dean and faculty member here and have supported education and continued to do so and one thing that we work on collaboratively is increasing teacher engagement in their profession. A very low percentage of teachers actually vote and participate in the political process. However, if teachers across South Carolina if they all engaged would be a huge constituency of making decisions related to education. So in the last semester of our teacher candidate program while they’re engaged in their full-time internship we provide them with some experiences in content that help them understand how education works in South Carolina, and this is anywhere from District Human Resources offices to how Boards of Education work to where their salary is derived hopefully providing them a knowledge base to when they, when they get into the profession, they feel more empowered to engage that okay if I want to change how I’m paid, this is what I need to do. If I am struggling with this piece of what happens in the district this is the person to whom I need to speak. This is what the school board is going to do and having that experience and having that understanding hopefully will with future teacher generations get them more engaged in that process because again, that’s how change is going to happen in this state when teachers together start to allow their voices to be heard and knowledgeable voices from something we have started here in terms of understanding how education works.

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