The South Carolina Board of Education has approved a new adjunct teaching certificate that would allow members of local communities to work in schools part-time as certified teachers. Currently, law prohibits public schools from hiring anyone who doesn’t have a teaching certificate to teach a class without a certified instructor being present.
Mark Bounds is Deputy Superintendent For Educator Quality and Leadership with the state’s department of public education. He says it will help local schools.
(Bounds on adjunct teacher MP3 4:41)
Bounds on adjunct teachers
The adjunct certificate is good for only one year, but it can be renewed. The new class of instructors would not be allowed to teach more than half the time that regular teachers teach.
Bounds says members of the General Assembly is expected to sign off on the change this year. Even if they don’t take it up, as an approved regulation it automatically becomes law and will go into effect for the next school year.
Adjunct teachers would not have to have a degree in his or her subject area, but only needs to have years of professional experience in that area. They must have had experience for five of the past 10 years and an exam is required.
Bounds says the new teaching certificate is not expected to create full-time teachers, and should not be confused with the existing Program for Alternative Certification for Educators(P.A.C.E.), designed to create full-time teachers.
P.A.C.E. requires that you pass a practice exam, and you go through a rigorous training program at the department of education before you begin teaching, and after you begin teaching. Then you go through certain hurdles and at the end of three years, if you pass the exams and the final evaluation, you can become a full-time teacher.
Charter schools in South Carolina already have the right to hire non-certified faculty members, but they can’t fill the positions of more than 25 percent of a school’s staff.
Bounds said the program will help local districts who don’t want to hire a full-time teacher for one class, or who may have a hard time finding an instructor for a certain class. He says for instance a rural school might not need a full-time choir director, so they could hire someone from a local church.
And Bounds says retired professors would be able to teach in high schools.