UPDATE 8/9/2017: I have spoken with South Carolina Senator Shane Massey and Carrie Ann Power, Standards and Learning Education Associate for Visual and Performing Arts for the South Carolina Department of Education. Senator Massey informs me Read to Succeed is here for the foreseeable future, at least until data on its effectiveness can be gathered and analyzed. To date, no data has been gathered. Carrie Ann Power was extremely sympathetic to my concerns and assures me she has to meet the same criteria for R2S that we do. Since R2S is not an initiative from her office, she knows only what we know and she’s learning about the act’s implementation and ramifications in very much the same way you and I are learning about it.
Also, let me clarify when fine arts teachers must earn their R2S endorsement (because I wasn’t quite correct earlier). If your certificate renewed in 2015 or 2016, you have until your current certificate expires to earn your R2S endorsement. If your certificate expires in 2017, 2018, or 2019, you have until your next certificate expires to earn your R2S endorsement.
I have learned that some districts will offer the R2S training at no cost to their educators, others will offer the training at a reduced cost to the educator, and still others will require their teachers to bare the full cost of the training.
Lastly, The SCMEA Choral Division is neither a political organization nor a union, but we will advocate for our teachers in any way we can.
Perhaps you’re like me. Perhaps you’re just learning about Read to Succeed. Or maybe you’ve never heard of it and this is the first mention of it that you’ve seen. Were it not for my wife who recently asked me, “Have you heard about this Read to Succeed requirement?” I would have no knowledge of it. My district hasn’t mentioned anything at all and if it has been mentioned in other meetings with legislative updates, I certainly have missed that information.
Here’s the gist:
- 2017-2018 is the third year of the Read to Succeed Act’s implementation
- See update above.
You have until your next certificate renewal (not your current renewal cycle, but your next renewal cycle) to complete the course work (3 credit hours or 60 contact hours in an approved course from an approved course provider)
- There is a specific course for fine arts teachers
- Unless your school or district is generous, the cost of the coursework is the educator’s responsibility.
Please know that we are researching all of the possible implications of this legislation and how it affects our members. I have been in touch with a friend of mine, a South Carolina Senator, to get his input and his thoughts on the longevity of this requirement. How many times have we all seen education initiatives crash and burn before they’re fully implemented (e.g., Common Core)? I would hate to have our members get halfway through their coursework only to have the initiative repealed or quietly shelved.
If we can provide resources for cohorts, we certainly will do everything we can to reduce the burden of this new requirement. And make no mistake: this is perhaps the most burdensome requirement with which we’ve been tasked in a very long time.
I hope to have much more information available for you at the Choral Arts Seminar in September. In the meantime, summer on.
Gregory Pittman, President
SCMEA Choral Division