SC bill passes house to allow noncertified teachers in classrooms

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – There’s a push to fill hundreds of teacher vacancies in South Carolina by allowing people without education certificates in the classroom. But that idea is gaining some pushback from not only parents but also teachers.

The need for teachers is clear on district’s websites across South Carolina.

“We started the school year with 700 vacant teaching positions, that’s 700 classrooms that didn’t have a teacher to work with students,” said Patrick Kelly with the Palmetto State Teacher’s Association.

Patrick Kelly with the Palmetto State Teacher’s Association told us that’s a 26% increase from the previous school year.

But a South Carolina bill is looking to fix the shortage by allowing noncertified teachers in the classroom, if there are still vacancies within five days of the beginning of the school year.

“Encourage people with a four-year degree to get a taste of teaching and want to stay in this profession. It is not in any case a way to do away with a certified teacher. This would only apply when there is no certified teacher when school begins,” said South Carolina State Representative, Rita Allison.

Applicants would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the subject they would be teaching and five years work experience.

“Regardless of their education background, they’re not going to have the experience necessary to translate that content knowledge into effective instruction for students,” Kelly said.

Upstate Moms like Kyla Martinez are on the same page.

“Even if you have a degree in math, I’m not sure you would have the other skills needed as far as dealing with other kids because they can be extremely difficult at times,” Upstate Mom of three, Kyla Martinez told us.

An Upstate dad on the other hand told 7 News, it doesn’t bother him as long as his kids are learning what they need to know.

“It’s not so much a degree or math what have you, it’s the idea of doing it and teaching the right stuff,” Marc Brown said.

In the meantime, Kelly offers a suggestion on another way to address the shortage.

“The answer is to figure out why are people not willing to go into teaching, why aren’t they willing to stay and then, lets remedy that,” Kelly said.

This bill would allow for only 25% of the school’s teaching staff to be noncertified and it would limit them to two years of teaching.

These noncertified teachers would still have to pass a state criminal records check.

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