"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Highly-Qualified Teachers Minus Teacher Certification="Highly-Qualified Teachers"

With college degrees a dime a dozen and many more service jobs available in the future than white collar ones, and with an all-out campaign beginning anew to increase the number of college grads, particularly in science and math, the stage is being set for a cut-throat and cut-rate future for college graduates. (Click chart at left to enlarge).

There may be such an oversupply of science and math majors, in fact, that some of the unemployed ones may find themselves in the market for teaching jobs. There will be some.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Deanna Hamilton-Meyer had an announcement for the fourth- and fifth-graders in her special-education class last Wednesday. She was leaving.

"Some of them started crying,'' she says. "They said, 'We can get together and loan you money.' ''

That would be nice, but won't work. In fact, like teachers in schools all over California and around the country, Hamilton-Meyer is leaving Cambridge Elementary in Concord at the end of the school year because she can't make it financially.

This isn't the story of a single teacher who needs some help. This is the beginning of a tsunami of a teacher crisis. With a huge chunk of teachers who went into the profession in the idealistic '60s about to retire, and the financial demands -- particularly the Bay Area's high cost of housing -- those in the business fear that Hamilton-Meyer is the face of the future.

It is a double whammy. The teacher shortage is coming, and schools are losing their top professionals.

Many of those who are leaving are doing so because the idealism that they brought to teaching is being crushed by scripted curricula and texts and straight-jacket teaching methods that treat children as potential test scores, rather than breathing, developing humans. In the process, of course, the teacher is converted from a professional that plans lessons and modifies them based on student needs to a memorizer, an actor, who learns her lines in a play written by a hack for McGraw-Hill for the purpose of turning children and their teachers into malleable work units.

There is a big story that is about to break, and Nicholas Kristof, waving his Pulitzer Prize for commentary, became the town crier this past week with his piece on the virtues of eliminating professional teacher certification programs. With some flimsy documentation from the Bush/Spellings shill, Fred Hess, and with no research to back up his opinion, Kristof shows why he should stick to commenting on subjects for which he knows something.

Showing what he does know about children who attend Exeter, Kristof shows what he does not know about children who attend public schools, those who have all the problems and issues that children who attend Exeter don't. If teachers do not have a grounding in the historical and philosophical foundations, how will they understand how public schools came to be the neglected and demonized unfulfilled panaceas that they are? If teachers don't have an understanding of the sociological and psychological issues of children, how can they deal with the real problems that children bring to school? If teachers don't understand developmental realities and cultural needs, how can they know who their students are? If teachers don't know about special needs students, how can they meet them and address their unique needs? If teachers haven't have done extensive observations in classrooms and completed supervised student teaching, how can they know what teaching is? If teachers are not stimulated to reflect upon their own practice and their continuing education, how can we place them in the critical role as preservers of our continued democracy?

And yet, Kristof offers this lie that he has been handed:

The idea behind teacher certification is that there are special skills that are picked up in teacher training courses — secret snake-charming skills to keep the little vipers calm. But there's no evidence this is so. On the contrary, several new programs have brought outstanding young people into teaching without putting them through conventional training programs, and those teachers have been widely hailed as first-rate.

One superb initiative for young college graduates is Teach for America, which last year had 17,000 applicants for 2,000 spots teaching in low-income schools. Among those who applied were 12 percent of Yale's senior class and 8 percent of Harvard's and Princeton's.

Nick, go to this site and read the research by Stanford professor, Linda Darling-Hammond. To whet your appetite, here is a clip form the Abstract:

Controlling for teacher experience, degrees, and student characteristics, uncertified TFA recruits are less effective than certified teachers, and perform about as well as other uncertified teachers. TFA recruits who become certified after 2 or 3 years do about as well as other certified teachers in supporting student achievement gains; however, nearly all of them leave within three years. Teachers' effectiveness appears strongly related to the preparation they have received for teaching.
The Hidden Agenda Coming to Light

What is going on here with Kristof firing the first big gun, is that May 15 is the NCLB deadline for states to line up and tell Mrs. Spellings if they have met requirement for "highly-qualifed" teachers in every American classroom, with "highly-qualifed meaning teachers who have state certification and a major in the subject they teach in high school, or one of the big four subjects for elementary teachers. Many states will come up short, given the fact that four years was another one of those impossible NCLB targets.

We will see, however, beginning on May 11 with a National Press Club show by ABCTE, a full-scale campaign to use the imminent failure by the states to meet the deadline to argue for eliminating the need for those bulky teacher certification programs in favor of degree majors who have passed a teaching test. Get it? Create an emergency with un unrealizable goal, and then solve the problem by making teachers highly-qualified by making them less qualified.

The ABCTE, the creation of the ELC (the Education Leaders Council that has shut down until they can find out if there are indictments to be handed out) and the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ). (Check out the names on the NCTQ Advisory Board here at Source Watch to see where some ELC members have gone). You can't find much on the Web about ELC that has not been scrubbed, but here is an old announcement that gives some names you may need to connect the dots on where this outfit was headed before the corruption meltdown:

Written By: School Reform News staff
Published In: School Reform News
Publication Date: November 1, 1999
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

It takes more than a little wind to keep intrepid education reformers down. Hurricane Floyd may have blown us a little off-course, but the ELC Conference is back on track.

Due to Hurricane Floyd, the Education Leaders Council’s fourth annual conference for education leaders was postponed. The conference, still slated for Orlando, will now take place December 3-4.

Conference speakers include Governor Jeb Bush (Florida) and Lt. Governor Frank Brogan (Florida), as well as state education chiefs: Wilbert Bryant (Virginia), Arthur Ellis (Michigan), Tom Gallagher (Florida), Eugene Hickok (Pennsylvania), Lisa Graham Keegan (Arizona), William Moloney (Colorado), and Linda Schrenko (Georgia), and other speakers, including Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform, State Senator Anthony Williams (Pennsylvania), and T. Willard Fair of the Miami Urban League.

Hickok, who was Commissioner of Ed. for Pa., would go on to become Asst. Secretary under Paige at ED, and dish up the $40 million from ED funds to create ABCTE (GAO investigation continues), which offers, by virtue of an online test and a bachelors degree, state certification in three states (two of them being Pennsylvania and Florida). Small world. Small world, indeed.

Mark Your Calendar for May 18

(Click the message at left to enlarge important unspeakable lie from NCTQ). Remember, these are the guys at NCTQ who want to eliminate dispositions advocating social justice from certification requirements approved by NCATE.

And so you can plan your May schedule around this revival to end teacher education programs, here is a date you won't want to miss. May 18, the National Press Club will again host NCTQ's Launch Event: What Educatioin Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning. Sign up today.

ED and its minions at ELC, NCTQ, and ABCTE, the Fordham Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute (let's not forget the NY Times) have had four years to prepare for this big failure NCLB created and for which they now have the solution.

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