Teaching Profession

S.C. Teacher Certification Extends to Those Online

By Vicki Grooms, The Sun News, S.C. — January 14, 2013 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The South Carolina education department is beginning to apply the state’s certification regulations to teachers of online courses, raising questions about future course offerings for school districts that rely on outside providers.

School districts contract with providers that are approved by the state for online content and teachers, said Edi Cox, director of online learning for Horry County Schools. Since those courses can originate from a variety of sites, many of the teachers are certified in states other than South Carolina, but the education department told districts about a month ago that all online teachers must have S.C. certification.

The regulation always has been on the books, but the growth in online learning is one reason the state is taking a closer look at accountability, which is a good thing, Cox said.

The state’s certification process, however, can be complicated, and it’s not free—a $105 nonrefundable processing fee, $54.25 for fingerprinting to start. For online teachers, who in many cases may have only a fraction of S.C. students in their class, applying for the state’s certification may not be worth the trouble.

Online education continues to have tremendous growth, with about 1,816,400 enrollments in K-12 school districts in 2009-10, compared with 40,000 to 50,000 enrollments a decade ago, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (INACOL), a nonprofit education association in Washington, D.C.

The top reasons districts offer online learning is to provide courses not otherwise available at their schools and to provide opportunities for credit recovery, INACOL said. HCS offers a variety of programs for online courses, including honors and Advanced Placement classes for grades nine through 12.

“A big move in the online learning world is that a lot of states recognize this issue,” Cox said. "[The state] is supposed to be working on a way to make it easier for providers who may not have S.C. certified teachers. ... Everything needs to be seamless for out-of-state providers and for smaller districts to be able to work that system.”

Jay Ragley, education department spokesman, said in an email that while the state approves the list of online content providers, it only reviews the alignment of online courses and state academic standards, not the certification of the teachers those providers employ. He said no proposal has been finalized to address this issue, but the department’s Division of School Effectiveness is in the early stages of researching policies enacted in other states and will be seeking input from school districts.

Until now, the district’s few contracted enrollments were handled much like student credits are transferred from state to state, Cox said, rather than denying a student a course opportunity. She said districts do their homework when seeking providers, and that HCS uses an extensive vetting process.

“The aim has always been to provide the best teacher for everyone,” Cox said.

Related Tags:

Copyright (c) 2012, The Sun News, S.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


Student Well-Being Webinar After-School Learning Top Priority: Academics or Fun?
Join our expert panel to discuss how after-school programs and schools can work together to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.
Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Summer Jobs Have Become an (Unwelcome) Tradition for Many Teachers
Many teachers rely on summer as a time to earn much-needed extra income.

4 min read
Image of a computer at a desk with "Job Search" in the search window.
Syuzanna Guseynova/iStock/Getty + EdWeek
Teaching Profession Opinion The Teacher Who Inspired Me to Be Who I Am Today
It wasn’t until 10th grade that a teacher truly saw me for the first time.
Raj Tawney
3 min read
Surreal art of dream success and hope concept, a man in a grey environment looks through an open door into a bright colorful exterior
Jorm Sangsorn/iStock
Teaching Profession Opinion Teacher Stress Is Not Inevitable
But first we need to stop expecting teachers to be Band-Aids for system inequalities. Sacrifice shouldn't be part of the job.
Kristabel Stark, Kathryn Meyer & Elizabeth Bettini
4 min read
Illustration of teachers and students.
Mary Haasdyk Vooys for Education Week<br/>
Teaching Profession Dear Administrators: Here Are 7 Things Teachers Want You to Know
Teachers offer unvarnished advice about how administrators can make them feel heard and respected.
6 min read
Image of someone balancing happy, sad, and neutral emojis.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty