Politics & Government

Jill Biden returning to South Carolina to meet with SC teachers

Jill Biden, the wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, is returning to South Carolina this week to meet with S.C. teachers, a month after 10,000 teachers and their supporters protested on the state capitol grounds to call for higher pay and better working conditions.

The Biden campaign said Jill, an educator herself, will be in the Palmetto State on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday morning, Biden will travel to Taylor’s Soul Food and Kitchen in Rock Hill, then Wallace Elementary Middle School in Marlboro County that afternoon. Details about locations and times for Thursday have not yet been announced.

The visit from Vice President Biden’s wife comes on the heels of Biden’s education policy roll out last month, focusing on paying teachers, investing more money into schools and putting more money toward early childhood education.

The visit also comes one month after thousands of S.C. teachers and their advocates marched from the state’s Department of Education offices to the State House, calling on state lawmakers to raise their salaries, reduce classroom sizes and cut state-mandated testing amid high statewide turnover and shortages of teachers for classrooms.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster signed the state’s $9.3 billion budget last month that includes nearly $160 million to raise teacher salaries by at minimum 4% and raise the state’s starting salary for new teachers to $35,000, up from about $32,000 — part of a five-year effort to raise the average teacher pay to the national average of almost $60,000. The state’s budget also suspends for a year three state-mandated tests in science and social studies.

The Bidens are no strangers to the Palmetto State.

The family vacations on Kiawah Island, and the couple traveled to South Carolina in April, where Biden gave a eulogy at the funeral for U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, then attended a May campaign rally in Columbia — his first S.C. appearance after announcing his 2020 bid.

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Maayan Schechter (My-yahn Schek-ter) covers the S.C. State House and politics for The State. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has previously worked at the Aiken Standard and the Greenville News.