It makes no sense that in the midst of a national obsession with teacher quality and “accountability” the new ESSA law makes it easier to become a teacher.
From the Washington Post: ” Provisions in the legislation for the establishment of teacher preparation academies are written to primarily support non-traditional, non-university programs such as those funded by venture philanthropists.”
Apparently, accountability and teacher quality are only important when you want to bust up the teacher’s union and fire all those lazy tenured types. But when it comes to who we certify in the first place, we revert to the idea that anyone can be a teacher as long as we hand them the right script. However, any real educator knows that teaching is an art and it takes years of reflection and experience to refine your practice. If we actually cared about students succeeding, we would make sure only qualified teachers made it in to classrooms.
I know people who “graduated” from TFA , Relay and Teacher U, some of the non-profit charter indoctrination camps that pass for teacher training these days. Every single one said that their “training” was useless. Some refer to it as brainwashing. And guess what, many of those people are not teaching any more.
If reformers actually cared about teacher quality and all students succeeding they would mandate that every teacher get a masters degree from an accredited institution with a balance of theory and practice, including at least a year of student teaching or other experience in the field.
Imagine if the government decided that doctors don’t have to go to 4 years of medical school anymore to practice. Instead a bunch of venture capitalists can put them through unregulated, non-university programs for 6 months and then send them out to heal the masses. People would be outraged, as we should be. Moreover, white upper class people would make sure they were treated by the real doctors.
The white privileged elites in private schools and in demand public schools will always have qualified teachers from Bank Street, or Harvard or Teacher’s college. It is and will continue to be the low income students of color who are being taught by unqualified, brainwashed 23 year olds who will inevitably leave the profession after a few years.
Every student will not succeed until as a nation we learn to respect teachers as professionals, not technicians. Qualified and empowered teachers make for qualified and empowered students. Until we realize that, no amount of legislation will undo the damage done by Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind.