Bob Jones University Receives Preferential Treatment
We carry a list here of all the states that accept TRACS accreditation to certify a teacher. I'm still amazed by how short that list is. One thing you may not know. SC does not necessarily accept TRACS accreditation. I've known this for quite some time. SC has a separate process to approve schools in SC to certify teachers beyond just accreditation. Bob Jones University undergoes this process every few years in order for students to actually receive certification in the state. So in all likelihood a Northland student who moves to SC would not be able to get certified to teach there.
While I knew this happened, I didn't quite realize how preferential that was until now. Here is a transcript from the State Board of Education minutes taken from last year. On page 5 we find this:
Amendments to 24 S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 43-62 (Supp. 2009), Requirements for Additional Areas of Certification (Second Reading)—Jim Turner, Director, Office of Educator Certification, Division of Educator Quality and Leadership
Jim Turner reported on the amendments to 24 S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 43-62. Mr. Turner said this section of State Board regulations deals with additional certification areas. Revisions included minor course changes for add-on certification in mathematics, revisions in reading to reflect the current emphasis on literacy, and the addition of new certification areas for adjunct instructor, Montessori, and on-line teaching.
Mr. Turner said there were several public comments received and shared with the Board two of these comments related to adjunct instructor. The first public comment was from Dr. Ed Dickey, USC Math Education Professor. He sent an e-mail letting the Board know he was very pleased that it implemented the changes he recommended. The second comment was from Kristin Maguire, former Board member and Chair. She sent an e-mail commenting on the requirement of a degree from a regionally accredited college for individuals applying for the adjunct instructor certificate. She recommended instead that the certification requirement allow for the college or university to be either regionally or nationally accredited to take in consideration graduates of Bob Jones University. [emphasis added]
This highlights just how volatile a position BJU is in. They need special exemption in order to qualify under these rules. But clearly the rules are moving to more stringent requirnments for accreditation, not less.
Mr. Turner pointed out that there are numerous national accrediting bodies, in addition to the one Mrs. Maguire referred to in her e-mail. One of these is the Trans-National Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRAC). By generally stating that national accreditation would be acceptable would open too many doors. The PACE guidelines also require applicants have degrees from regionally accredited colleges only. And, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) legislation also requires regional accreditation. [emphasis added]
Which again shows you just the pickle that both BJU and the state law makers are in. You cannot include national accreditation because then the doors are open to clearly unqualified teachers. But there is no clear way to support BJU in this case.
Our current State Board regulations specify regional accreditation only, but also states that we will accept credits and degrees not only from colleges that are regionally accredited but from colleges that have teacher education programs approved by our State Board of Education, which takes into consideration Bob Jones University. Because of this, Mr. Turner stated he feels the point is mute because it is covered in regulations that are already in place.
And there you have it. SC wouldn't accept BJU's degrees for certification if it weren't for this grandfathered in rule. This is a very difficult position to be in. At anytime the rule could change, though likely not without huge backlash. BJU is essentially wishing for continued good will from the government to keep their status. If that rule changes a BJU grad would be out of luck even in South Carolina.
The motion was carried and passed. So as it stands now they only accept regionally accredited degrees unless the State Board specifically approves the non-regionally accredited school's education program (likely only BJU). If you went to any other TRACS accredited school you are out of luck.