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

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Alabama Leads the Way toward 19th Century Education

Ever heard of an adjunct K-12 teacher?  I had not, either, until Alabama defined it for me, as someone with at least a high school diploma teaching part-time in an Alabama public school.
Someone who is not a certified teacher can now teach your children in Alabama.

The State Board of Education approved a new category of educators called adjunct teachers.

The board says it is a way to solve the teacher shortage in Alabama for certain subjects.

An adjunct teacher is someone who has worked in a career field other than education, will work part time under a licensed teacher and has a high school diploma or equivalent.

Katy Bryan is a mother of two elementary school kids in Huntsville.  In theory, under the new resolution, her kids could soon be taught by someone who does not have a state teaching certification. Bryan has some concerns with the idea.

"I think that they probably need to have a teaching certificate because just because they're knowledgeable about a subject might not mean that they're skilled at teaching techniques," Bryan said.

Mary Scott Hunter sits on the State School Board who approved the resolution. Hunter represents District 8 which includes Madison, Limestone, Jackson, DeKalb and Etowah Counties in Alabama. She says the goal is to find people to fill specialized classes like welding, because those can be hard for a district to fill.

Beverly Sims is the District 3 Director for the Alabama Education Association, who represents Madison County, Madison City, J.F. Drake Technical College and John C. Calhoun Community College.

Sims says she is okay with the idea of adjunct teachers for career tech classes, but is worried that some of these adjunct teachers might not be fully prepared to handle the challenges of a classroom.

"Classroom management and the various learning styles of the kids and the biggest problem is going to be learning the federal laws and the state laws," Sims said.

While Bryan says she has concerns as a parent, she says there could be a place for adjunct teachers.

"I think there could be advantages like a lot of engineers in our area are good at mathematics, physics and those types of topics," Bryan said.

WAAY 31 reached out to some area school districts.  Huntsville City Schools and Madison City Schools spokesmen say the resolution is on their radar, but the people who can talk on the issue weren't available Monday.

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