In an economic climate which continues to see school budgets cut even more, it’s no longer a wise choice to make teaching your college major or professional aspiration. There just aren’t enough teaching jobs out there anymore.
So why, if the state and private schools can’t hire them (it’s not in the budget), can’t certified and experienced teachers become approved as homeschool teachers, paid privately by parents or parent groups who choose homeschooling? Because the state law (South Carolina, here), specifies that only the child/ren’s parent or legal guardian can apply to homeschool the child. Attorney General’s Opinions: Statutory provisions do not authorize students to be taught by anyone other than their parents or guardians in a home instruction setting. 1989 Op Atty Gen, No 89-22, p. 60.
Is this logical?
I mean, if you look at HomeSchoolingInSouthCarolina.com, you find a list of the laws regulating homeschooling in our fair state. Homeschooling is very narrowly defined by SC as parents teaching their children rather than allowing for the historic option of private tutors. This means that if a parent who does not meet the minimal requirement of having a bachelor’s degree (in anything), the homeschooling application will be denied. This means that the following of my parent friends do not qualify to homeschool their children:
- My Boeing QA and Customer Satifsaction friend: who builds helicopters and airplanes that don’t fall out of the sky
- My SAHM friend who left her career managing an entire region of KMart stores (pre-bankruptcy)
- My Chief of Police friend who leads and trains the lawful protection of an entire city
- Oh, yeah, and my friend who is the main administrator for all of Charleston County.
And the nation wonders why we consistently come in last (or close to it) in most areas of education. These friends who hold significant positions of knowledge, authority, and responsibility don’t qualify to teach their own children because they don’t have a college degree. And I don’t qualify to teach their children either just because they’re not mine.
All this came about because I’m being laid off from my current job as a communications director and am wondering some things about what I want to do. I’m lucky I have the luxury of taking a few months off to explore some things (including this blog thing), and one option is returning to teaching. My departure in 2007 was abrupt, unexpected, and unwanted. I am a great teacher, with old students from many years ago finding me on FaceBook to ask for advice, networking help, and sometimes just to thank me for making them do all those things they were sure would they’d never use (kind of like algebra).
So why is it that I’m not eligible to be approved by the State of South Carolina or Charleston County School District to be a homeschool teacher…just because I don’t have children of my own. What is it that makes me–with several advanced degrees in a variety of subject areas as well as 12 years of professional teaching experience, positive peer and student reviews, and real-life experience too–unsuitable as a candidate for private teaching at home? I mean, I have spent a lot of time teaching people how to teach, people who go on to be traditionally certified teachers for SC or other states.
Oh, and I’m not just picking on the homeschooling laws; I am also ineligible to be hired by the school system, even on an emergency basis, because I do not have a teaching certificate. I tried; I’m only good enough to be a substitute (though I have to say that’s fun!). Again, 12 years of professional teaching including teacher education means nothing?
For the past two years, one of my friends has only half-jokingly promised to hire me to homeschool her children. Little did she know that with six degrees and 15 years of professional experience in six different industries, I am underqualified. That’s a first for me.