S.C. State House roundup: Bill would let noncertified teachers fill vacancies

South Carolina State House roundup
South Carolina State House roundup(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 3:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday allowing people without teacher certifications to teach in schools if there is a vacancy five days before the start of the year.

“[This bill] allows for the student to have more opportunity to be best prepared for the next grade level,” Republican Rep. Raye Felder said.

“Just because you have core competency in math...and may be a great mathematician...doesn’t make you a good teacher because you never had any teaching experiencing,” Democratic Rep. Wendy Brawley, who fears this bill would hurt rural schools, said.

House Bill H3590 stipulates that noncertified teachers cannot compose more than 25 percent of the school’s teaching staff.

Staffing shortages have plagued classrooms across the state for years, but concerns surrounding teacher vacancies have only been exasperated because of the pandemic.

While teaching certifications would not be required, noncertified teachers would have to possess baccalaureate degrees or graduate degrees from a regionally accredited college or university in the subject they are hired to teach and must have at least five years of relevant workplace experience as determined by the local school board.

The bill also limits the time a noncertified teacher could teach to two years.

Noncertified teachers would have to pass a state criminal records check by the State Law Enforcement Division and a national criminal records check conducted by the FBI to be eligible for hiring.

Deadline looming for South Carolina lawmakers

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A key deadline for legislation is coming up soon at the South Carolina State House.

Thursday marks the crossover deadline. Any bill that passes the House or Senate after that deadline must get a two-thirds vote in the other chamber to be considered.

That high bar makes it difficult to take up issues that have significant opposition.

A few bills that are trying to pass one chamber before the crossover deadline are a hate crimes bill in the House and a Senate proposal to allow medical marijuana.

The General Assembly’s regular session ends on May 13.

From reports by WCSC, WIS and The Associated Press