Jul 23, 2012

ARTICLE: Highly Qualified

'Highly Qualified Teacher' Designation Reconsidered By House Panel For TFA Corps Members, Student Teachers

"Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, all students should have a highly qualified teacher, and all school districts must inform parents which teachers are not highly qualified." 

I would argue, according to common sense, all students should have a highly qualified teacher.

"According to the Department of Education, to be deemed highly qualified, teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, full state certification or licensure and prove that they know each subject they teach."

I know that I'm just playing with semantics here, but a degree, a certification, and knowledge really just describe characteristics of a qualified teacher. Shouldn't you have to earn the adverb after a length of time and positive evaluations?

"The proposed legislation [from a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee], if approved, would ensure that teachers in training meet the “highly qualified” standard. This includes recent college graduates attending Teach for America’s five-week summer training institute."

Hey, now, I've taught for 15 years, and I wouldn't consider myself "highly qualified." I might be "enthusiastically qualified." Whatever that means. I continue to adapt and change and educate myself. TFA teachers train for five weeks. After my first degree, I still went back to school for two years. I spent my last year in the classroom, observing, completing grunt work, writing lesson plans, leading small groups, and working my way up to whole-class instruction. Five weeks?! And that's highly qualified?! 

When TFA fails to perform miracles, be sure to blame all teachers, look for ways to offer ignored choice, praise charter schools for nothing, attach more consequences to those ill-conceived laws and their standardized offspring, and systematically destroy our public school systems. Morons.

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