There is a story today in the LA Times about the fake credentialing that is going on in L.A. for teachers who work in poor urban schools. Apparently this is being done to circumvent the "highly-qualified" teacher requirements of NCLB.
These guys should have checked out a few Web sites--there are fake ways to become "highly-qualified" that are endorsed by the U. S. Department of Education. When the NCLB wizards included their demand for highly-qualified teachers in every school by 2005, they knew, of course, that their demand would create a big problem that would be solved by offering alternate routes for teacher certification. Falling short of the bombing that NICHD Director, Reid Lyon, wanted for the colleges of education, this cynical scheme offered a chance to have teacher candidates avoid the "liberal agenda of teacher education programs," while offering a chance for some of the White House's cronies in the ed biz to engage in some real education reform profiteering. The American Board for Certification of Teacher Education is one such opportunity for teacher candidates and uncertified teachers to become credentialed and certified without ever taking an education course.
ABCTE offers certification via Internet test-taking, which is handled by Pearson Education, a division of McGraw-Hill. Credentials are offered for beginning and “master” teachers, and neither credential requires any coursework in education. ABCTE requires a Bachelors Degree and $500 for the Internet test, and 100 dollar discount coupons are often available on the Web site.
The Back to Basics Redux crowd even got the Dept. of Education to provide grant money to help set up their venture, and they did something, who knows, to get verbal support by former Sec. Paige for ABCTE. In the DOE Secretary’s 2003 Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge (pdf), the Secretary enthused: “States could decide that individuals who pass the relevant sections of the American Board assessment would be considered fully certified to teach, regardless of where they learned the important knowledge and skills that were tested” (p. 5).
Did I say this outfit was started by by Eugene Hickok, Paige's Deputy Secretary, and other charter members of the Education Leaders Council. Hickok also happens to be a former Commissioner of Education for Pennsylvania, one of the four states that now accept ABCTE credentials to fulfill regular teacher certification requirements. Imagine that!