Thursday, April 13, 2006

Teacher Quality

CNN has a story about the numbers of "high quality" teachers in the nation's classrooms, and what states are reporting in order to comply with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Under federal pressure, most states are close to getting teachers who are rated highly qualified in front of every math, history, language and other core class by the end of the school year. Or so they say.

Thirty-three states claim 90 percent to 99 percent of their main classes have teachers who are highly qualified. That means, based on the No Child Left Behind law, that those teachers have a bachelor's degree, a state license and proven competency in every subject they teach.

And here's the stick:

States must prove they have:

-- Set a fair definition of "highly qualified." Although the federal law sets the parameters, states have huge leeway when it comes to qualifying their veteran teachers.

-- Provided parents with a clear picture of how many classes are taught by qualified teachers. This is supposed to happen in state, district and school report cards.

-- Given complete and accurate data about their teacher corps to the Education Department, including the disparities between poor and wealthier schools.

-- Ensured that poor and minority children do not have a higher percentage of inexperienced or unqualified teachers than any other youngsters.

By May 15, states will find out where they stand and whether they will lose federal aid, which is the government's only real enforcement tool.

Weren't we hearing, just a couple years ago, about teacher shortages, especially in math and science? What happened? I haven't heard about a shortage in quite some time. Did these teachers mysteriously appear from the ether?

Apparently they did. And they appeared highly qualified, too.

What am I getting at here? Oh, I don't know. Maybe the teacher shortage was a myth. Or maybe it's not as bad as some people want the public to believe. Or maybe that's only trotted out when it's good for the teachers unions to do so.


Onyx said...

Quite a few teacher in my part of the country are going through an alternative certification program and since they do not have a degree in education it is easier for them to certify as highly qualified, because they have a degree in business, or humanities or underwater basket weaving.

I've seen what we are getting from that sector and for the most part they last about 2 years. Oh yeah anybody can be a teacher. Right.

Teacher shortage, yep it's there, it's just no longer a headline. Give it a while it will come back.

Polski3 said...

Those "highly qualified" math and science teacher positions were filled by illegal know, if there is a need, they will come and take those jobs that 'Americans' won't do....... (yes, I am being sarcastic and snide.....)

Good question though, jsut where are these teachers coming from?

Lillian said...

The teacher shortage 'thing' only comes up when unions want to justify why they protect bad teachers, who have no business being in the profession in the first place - (many are called, but few are chosen).
I don't believe in teacher 'bubbles' anymore than I believe in real estate 'bubbles'.