Posted in Children

Bias Against Certified and Experienced Teachers?

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, 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.


If you've had my cooking or heard me sing, you've shared some of the happiest and most memorable moments of my life. But if you've been lucky enough to listen to me sing while I cook, well, then you've seen the real me. And if you've sung and cooked with me, you know what being loved by me is!

4 thoughts on “Bias Against Certified and Experienced Teachers?

  1. Unbelievable!?!? I would have my kids homeschooled if I could have someone else to teach them. It probably would cost me about the same amount of money. Between and the fundraisers, doctors appointments, time off from work because they are sick, not to mention the mental toll it takes to listen to your kids cry about all the horrible kids in school. Is this what the states are thinking as well? Makes me wonder! Thanks for a great post!

  2. I don’t think we have the same law in MS, I know a girl that I went to high school with has a small “home school” group in her home. So, if you really wanted to do it I suppose you could relocate? Are you close enough to a state line to check neighboring state laws?

    I still feel a nagging guilt about not homeschooling mine, and I haven’t totally dismissed the idea. Luckily, we haven’t had any problems in school- academically or socially- that would be the impetus for that decision. I just hate that the bus comes by my house at 6:40 in the morning and doesn’t bring them home until 4:00 (and the other day 4:20). That is a long day for a little fellow! I pick my third grader up on Tuesdays so we can go to Boy Scouts and Wednesday he gets off the bus and barely has time to do homework before we turn around and are back out the door to go to church. The other days he works on homework from when he comes in until dinner. He has a wide range of interests that we just don’t have time to explore because he is never home!

    I have made the decision to enroll the second child in a church kindergarten again for next year rather than enrolling him in the public school (and I will take the baby to preschool there three days a week). They have an excellent program and, although he recently turned five, he is beginning to read now. Maybe by the time he is done there I will have settled my conscience with regards to what I “should” be doing for my babies.

  3. Oh, I went on a tangent there and totally forgot my initial thoughts when I read your post! You may also be horrified to know that qualified teachers are passed over for monetary reasons as well. Several years ago my dad applied to teach at every school system within an hour of home. He was turned down repeatedly before a sympathetic interviewer told him, “I’m really sorry. I would love to hire you but we don’t have the budget to pay a teacher who already has a masters. I have to hire someone with a basic degree. You probably are going to have the same results everywhere around here.”

  4. Rebecca, I haven’t even gotten far enough in SC for degrees/money to be an issue. I just wanted to find out how to get approved to be a homeschool teacher. It never even occured to me that I wouldn’t be eligible to even apply, desirability and hireability notwithstanding.

    And for now I’m not willing to relocate quite that far [sorry :-(]. So I’ve put in my credentials with the local colleges and tech schools as an adjunct.

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