The state should provide an alternate route that is free from regulatory obstacles that limit its usage and providers.
South Carolina limits the usage and providers of its alternate routes.
Guidelines for South Carolina's Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) indicate that candidates are only authorized to teach in critical need subject areas determined annually by the State Board of Education. Candidates may only apply for critical shortage areas for K-12, middle or secondary certification.
American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) candidates are only authorized to teach biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and science.
PACE is a state-run program, with coursework offered by approved colleges and universities. ABCTE is the only other approved provider in the state.
South Carolina Code of Laws 59-26-20 http://www.scteachers.org/cert/pace/PACE.cfm
Broaden alternate route usage.
South Carolina should reconsider grade-level and subject-area restrictions on its alternate route. The state should allow new teachers to work across all grades, subjects and geographic areas. Alternate routes should not be programs of last resort for hard-to-staff subjects, grade levels or geographic areas but rather a way to expand the teacher pipeline throughout the state.
Expand the diversity of alternate route providers.
South Carolina is commended for supporting licensure through completion of the ABCTE program. The state should continue to consider policies that encourage additional providers, such as school districts and other nonprofit organizations, to operate programs. A good diversity of providers helps all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.
South Carolina asserted that its alternative programs are not a last resort but rather they are valued pathways to the classroom. South Carolina's PACE program candidates are authorized to teach in all PACE-approved subjects in any public school district in the state. However, the state has requested a focus on secondary math and science. South Carolina stated that it is important that alternative programs help address the most critical teaching needs in SC. Over the last three years, the state has reduced the number of teaching positions by approximately 4,000. South Carolina contended that it currently has a sufficient supply of early childhood and elementary teacher. Further, the state noted that TFA corps members may teach in all subject areas.
Although PACE candidates may currently be permitted to teach in all school districts in the state, program guidelines give the State Board of Education the authority to limit the districts in which alternative certification candidates can teach on an annual basis. The potential for these restrictions may serve as a disincentive to prospective candidates. If the intent is always to allow PACE candidates to teach in any district in the state, South Carolina should consider changing the program guidelines to reflect this.