The Daily Gamecock

Student teachers to graduate on time despite coronavirus challenges

USC education students will be able to graduate and receive teacher certification on time due to a state Board of Education decision regarding in-classroom training. 

In order to graduate and become certified as teachers, education students must complete an in-classroom training in a K-12 school. On Tuesday, the state Board of Education waived that requirement, as reported in the Post and Courier.

“The decision was smart on so many levels, and not only for our students, but for all the public school, private school, P/K-12 students out there,” Jon Pedersen, the dean of USC’s College of Education, said.

Student teachers are required to have 12 weeks or 60 days of experience working in a classroom with a teacher, according to the Post and Courier. With the closure of South Carolina public schools until the end of April in response to the coronavirus, getting in-classroom training would be difficult. 

Pedersen said this decision has ramifications beyond higher education and could have impacted the teacher shortage in South Carolina further.

“If nobody could certify teachers this year, or recommend for certification, this would have been a real disaster for the state as well,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen said the state Board of Education worked “very closely” with the College of Education when making this decision.

“They've just done a good job of reaching out to us, and working with us, and supporting us and supporting students,” Pedersen said.

According to Pedersen, the College of Education had been waiting for this decision, as the state handles teacher certification requirements for students.

“This takes a load off of our mind, just in terms of how we would respond to 315 students that are out there in the internships, ready to become teachers,” Pedersen said. “Now we have the answer, now we can move forward.”


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