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New law opens door for people with ‘specialized knowledge or work experience’ to become adjunct instructors

Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday signed into law a bill that allows people with a bachelor’s or graduate degree to become “adjunct” high school teachers after they complete one college semester of teacher preparation courses.

Adjunct instructors will be able to teach courses in core academic subjects “in the individual’s area of specialized knowledge or work experience.”

The General Assembly unanimously approved Senate Bill 582. The bill stipulates that adjunct instructors can be employed on a part-time basis — up to 20 hours per week for no more than six months at a time —and should not be required to hold or apply for licensure as a teacher.

Adjunct instructors will need to pass background checks. School systems will need to train adjunct instructors in areas such as educating children with disabilities, and managing student behavior.

The bill also tasks the State Board of Education with developing criteria to allow college faculty members to serve as adjunct instructors in K-12 fine and performing arts and foreign language courses.

S.B. 582 will become applicable at the start of the 2021-22 school year.