A Survey of State Initiatives
Gov. Richard W. Riley of South Carolina in June signed into law a $1-million appropriation for the training and retraining of mathematics and science teachers. An effort to expand the program to teachers other than those in math and science was defeated.
The guidelines for the program will be written by the state board of education, a spokesman for Governor Riley said. Most programs will be run by local districts with the state money, he said.
Officials said the state has not experienced a shortage of math or science teachers yet but added that there are signs that public schools, as well as colleges and universities, are having trouble retaining qualified teachers.
The state board of education is considering a proposal to encourage teachers in other fields to work toward certification in math and science. To renew certification, teachers must now take six credit-hours of inservice training in subjects they teach. The new proposal would allow all six hours to be in math and science.
The state board of education in June sent the General Assembly a proposal that would increase the number of credits required for high-school graduation from 18 to 20, and the requirements in math from 2 to 3 years and in science from 1 year to 2 years. The proposal also calls for mandatory instruction in computer literacy.
State education officials, who expect Superintendent Charlie G. Williams's 41-point "Move to Quality" plan for education to be a major priority of the legislature next year, are developing cost estimates for the program. It would revise acadamic and vocational-education standards and target funding for improvements in critical areas such as mathematics and science education.
Governor Riley in June appointed 25 members of a business-education partnership group to devise ways of giving the private sector a greater leadership role in school districts. The Governor and Mr. Williams will be co-chairmen of the panel, which will study all areas of education but concentrate on math and science.
In June, the Governor also appointed a blue-ribbon commission to study excellence in education. That panel will look at math and science education as well. The chairman is William Page, vice president of the U.S. Shelter Corporation and the former chairman of the board of education of the Greenville school system.