Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What Highly Qualified Teachers?

Once again comedians rule in education.  Some months back Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan toured the country publicly ringing his hands about the urgent need to improve teacher quality in the good old US of A.

One might think that Secretary Duncan was worried about a Bush-era regulation classifying thousands of novice teachers who were just beginning their training as "highly qualified"as required by NCLB. No, Arne wasn't worried about that at all. In his department carried forward Bush's regulation, and when a federal judge ruled that the policy clearly violated No Child Left Behind, the President quickly signed a bill officially lowering that standard to next to nothing.

Just what did "highly qualified" mean before the President and Congress officially castrated it? It meant that if you wanted to teach math, science, social studies, the arts, reading and languages you must hold a long-term license and demonstrate your content knowledge by obtaining a college major, by passing a test in the subject taught, or by some other means established by the state. In other words, every state was allowed to choose its own criteria and there was no requirement that a candidate be actually trained in teaching!  

Only in the politicized lala-land of public school policy would such a weak-kneed and ill-defined requirement be taken as too tough. Yet both George W. Bush and Barack Obama thought it necessary to water the law down. See why comedians rule in education?

For more such considerations please visit Highly Qualified Teachers: misgivings

-- GKC

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