State Teaching Certificate Renewed for Home Schooler
Rose Metzger of Robertsdale recently obtained renewal of her professional teaching certificate from the Alabama Department of Education based upon her experience during the past six years as a private tutor in her family’s home school. Like some other Alabama parents who are certified teachers, Mrs. Metzger had opted to conduct her home education program under §16-28-5 of the Alabama Code which authorizes instruction by a private tutor, rather than enrolling her children in a church school.
What is surprising and noteworthy about Mrs. Metzger’s certification renewal, however, is that as presently written, Alabama’s requirements for renewal of teacher certificates do not appear to apply to parents who are getting the required experience by teaching their own children at home.
The Alabama Department of Education requirements state that a teacher must have successful, full-time experience as a teacher for four of the eight years during the valid period of the certificate to be eligible for renewal. An additional requirement specifies “satisfactory participation in the approved professional development program for the year(s) employed in an Alabama school system in keeping with the policies established by the State Board of Education.” Alternatively, a certified teacher may meet the renewal requirements by earning 9 semester or 15 quarter hours of credit in the certification area.
While there is no question that private tutors such as Mrs. Metzger may renew their teaching certificate by obtaining additional college-level hours, the expense and time required to obtain such additional hours often discourages or prohibits many home-schooling parents in Alabama from pursuing this avenue. Mrs. Metzger had completed an additional eight quarter hours at the University of South Alabama—seven less than required under the alternate method of obtaining the renewal of her certification.
Mrs. Metzger had complied with all of the requirements relating to the private tutor statute, including filing a statement with the county superintendent of education showing the children to be instructed, the subjects to be taught and the period of time the instruction is proposed to be given. Based upon this information, the local superintendent verified Mrs. Metzger's experiences as a full-time private tutor in Baldwin County, and the Department of Education responded with the issuance of the renewed teaching certificate. Such teaching certificates in Alabama are valid for eight years before having to be renewed.