COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - 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.