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

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Spellings Backs off Impossible Teacher Prep Requirements

The ED-led war on teacher preparation programs is apparently in full retreat (temporarily, at least), with Spellings whimpering out a nasty-gram on Thursday that blames states for not meeting the impossible NCLB highly-qualified teacher standards established in 2001. ED had hoped to have their own brand of teacher credentialing cooking by the time that this year's deadline came, but no dice.

Since 2002, ED, the ELC, and the NCTQ have been pushing to get their bogus brainchild, ABCTE, approved by state legislatures as a way to satisfy the impossible definition of highly qualified teachers established by this same group of wizards when they stitched together their monster in 2001. With the blessing of ED in 2002 before there was even an ABCTE credentialing test in place, the hope was to replace teacher training programs (everything from child development courses to teaching internships) with an online test that would satisfy the pedagogical requirements for teachers. Anyone with an subject area degree and $500 to pass an Internet test could become a teacher, according to the ED-approved ABCTE.

Even with Kathleen Madigan wining and dining state politicians non-stop from 2002 through 2005, only four states have bought the bogus credentialing that $40 million of your tax dollars was spent to make a reality. In this clip from the AP story on Thursday, Spellings suggests that the states are trying to avoid a rigorous process of certification recommended by ED, when, in fact, ED's idea of subject matter competency and teaching competency has always been to pass an ABCTE test. This was the case before Spelllings ever came to Washington. In fact, the state alternative certification requirements that Spellings complains about in the following quote remain more rigorous than what she would like to replace it with:
About half of the states have failed to stop using an alternative teacher-certification process as requested by the Bush administration, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings says, and she will now bring the matter to Congress.

"The department is concerned about the practice of allowing teachers who have been assigned to teach new subjects for which they have had little preparation" to win certification through less-rigorous procedures, Spellings said in a letter to the states that was posted on the Education Department Web site Thursday. She said "too many states" are using the alternative process.

What I suspect will happen is that Spellings will re-group with Kress and the sludge tank crooks at Fordham to put this matter back into the reauthorization bill that will be hatched in the back rooms of the White House next year. Waiting until next year to press the issue once more will give ABCTE time to squeeze out some more "research findings" and a better PR package. Time, too, to apply for some more of that discretionary grant funding for those insiders who haven't been indicted or locked up yet.

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