#2 Update the standard by which Teachers are deemed qualified to teach!
Example: Fast Track Education programs take individuals who have obtained their BA/BS in a field outside of a traditional BA/BS in Education. I know it all seems silly considering we are all being educated if in fact we continue on with education. What I mean to say for those of you that stumble upon this and find it an interesting read is this. Professional Educators take a great deal of course work to prepare them for the field of education. Beginning in the first semester of college, many future educators begin their training. They undergo rigorous practicum, training, hands-on curriculum development all focused in their particular field of study. Most educators in training complete over 120 hours of practicum work (Illinois) before they begin their student teaching. Student teaching for the traditional student is almost an entire semester without pay in the classroom. A great deal of that time is fulfilling the role of teacher, with a veteran teacher alongside to mentor, inspire, help, etc., all the while being graded, etc.
By the end of the 4-5 years of education a fresh out of college student will have clocked numerous hours without pay, and working towards the next step. Overall 130+ college credit hours later, and many hours observing in the classroom etc, a new grad hopes to quickly pass the certification test so as to land a job before they are all filled and the only recourse is an average $15 an hour subbing job.
So to the point: After all of this, an imposition of endorsement is placed upon the shoulders of the educator. After being trained to deal with children and being academically prepared to be a teacher after so many years of being a student, many are told that they are not qualified to teach X subject, and sorry that is the only position available, and well, we have it promised to our fast track teacher. A fast track teacher is one that for a variety of reasons has desired to switch careers. They are placed into Master’s degree programs, given a job with pay and benefits, given training, (on the job) go to class at night, fulfill the curriculum coursework, and graduate out with a guaranteed job pre-determined by the University that is in many cases working with the school systems. In the mean time, many fast-track teachers are placed before the traditionally trained educator. The purpose of the fast-track programs is a perceived teacher shortage.
The pervceived teacher shortage has more to do with this primary issue, most educators are capable of teaching a multitude of subjects, most educators know what their individual abilities are. Many educators have taught outside of their initial certification areas only to find themselves outsourced due to too much emphasis placed upon “endorsement” areas.
Case in point: Educator X taught reading, writing, under a pro-literacy program for over 4 years. Literacy integration has become a specialty. A Masters of Education in the area of Curriculum and Instruction was earned and educator X has over 195 credit hours, 37 of them graduate level (3.8/4.0 GPA), and she limited to teaching only social studies and vocal music, based solely on endorsements. More education is necessary to be competative in a teacher shortage environment? NCLB, has tied the hands of principals to the point that they are no longer able to utitlize their own insight and judgement to higher quality educators. Again who benefits?
So Mr. Duncan and President Obama, reform is necessary. Balance and reason must be brought back to education. The baby was thrown out with the bath water.
Oh, and when you are at it, identify how much is profited by Certification testing! It is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there is Very little evidence that suggests that this testing is improving test scores…but then again, standardized testing is another huge area of profit at the expense of us all!