I keep waiting to hear something from one of the proponents of free market for education.
After all-- no other part of the trained labor market works like this. If a hospital can't find enough doctors to fill its staff, nobody says, "Well, okay-- let's just let anyone with a college degree work in the operating room."
If you're looking for someone to rebuild your porch, but you only want to pay $1.50, you'll have trouble finding anyone to hire. The first solution that will enter your mind would not be, "Well, I'll just hire some fourth graders instead of experienced construction guys."
If you can't find someone who is willing to babysit your kids, you and your fellow parental unit don't sit down and say, "Well, our problem is that we're defining 'babysitter' too narrowly. Who says it have to be a human? Who says we couldn't just leave our two-year-old at home with the dog? Sure-- the DOG can be our babysitter."
No, as any free marketeer can tell you, if someone will not sell something to you under certain conditions, whether we're talking about buying labor or a toaster, you must offer better conditions. If nobody will sell you a Porsche for $2.99, that does not mean there is an auto shortage.
But in Utah, the state school board has just thrown up their hands and said, "Let's just get our spleens operated on by a twenty-one year old with a music degree."
Starting Monday, any warm body with any college degree-- and no additional training-- can be hired as a teacher.
"I don't view this as an attack on traditional teachers," Thomas said.
That's Dave Thomas, State School Board vice chairman, who ran as a "common sense conservative." Thomas's resume includes State Senator, but by profession, he is a Civil Deputy County Attorney. [Update: Also, he's apparently also a charter school operator-- see comments below] I am wondering how Thomas would feel if the court said, "We're having too much trouble finding actual attorneys to try cases, so we're going to start letting anyone with a college degree come in here and try cases? Training? Nah-- college degree should do it."
The board says it's not so bad because local districts can still set whatever job requirements they want. But let's think about this? Which districts will be able to recruit actual teachers by offering better conditions for employment, and which districts will be left even further behind in a talent bidding war? Which districts do you suppose will end up filling classrooms with unqualified faux teachers? Yes, this is a plan that will further shaft students and families of poorer communities.
And because it will drive teacher pay further down, and make working conditions worse (which actual experienced and trained teachers will really enjoy working in a hall with a constantly changing roster of not-ready-for-prime-time faux teachers?) It will destabilize schools-- look, we tried just the lightest version of this in PA with a system for letting anyone with a college degree become a substitute, and the turnover is huge because-- shocker-- a lot of civilians who haven't been in a school since they were eighteen nor spent any time studying or training about education--a lot of those people find actual school a lot harder and different from what they imagined.
And it is, absolutely, an attack on "traditional" (aka "actual") teachers. Utahns may feel some desperation about the teacher shortage, but telling the teachers you've got, "Yeah, we're not going to get you real colleagues, because you're probably not all that special anyway. We don't really take you seriously. Now don't you feel like a sucker for spending time and money on a teaching degree? Oh, and if you don't like it-- we can replace you really, really easily"-- that's going to feel a lot like an attack.
Utah will reap the same reward you get when you need surgery and instead some amateur slaps some duct tape on your injury-- you've made matters worse, not better, because you've used a fake solution and you haven't addressed your problem.
If Utah can't find enough teachers, the question to ask is not "Well, can we just redefine 'teacher' and lower the standards?" The question to ask is, "Why don't people want to take teaching jobs in our state?" And then address your actual problems. Because, despite the state motto, if I were a Utah teacher, I would not be feeling all that elevated.
Of course, this being Utah, I wonder how much of a priority having qualified teachers is next to the goal of completely eliminating the federal Dept. of Ed.ReplyDelete
Not as much as you might think, Rebecca. While there are a lot of calls to eliminate federal government programs, there really hasn't been a call around here for eliminating the federal Department of Education.Delete
They're a pretty far right website. They hate Common Core, but they all homeschool their kids. They're from an area of the state that is WAY hyper-tea party types. But I don't hear a lot of calls to eliminate DOE in general, regular people and media.Delete
I was at the hearing for this. The only people speaking for it, where people with ties to charter schools.ReplyDelete
There is the whole point of this rule.
As the supporters of this rule where talking, you could tell they see teaching as a hobby, not a career.
Dave Thomas, the associate chairman of the board, owns three charter schools (I'm in his district). He's currently running for the general election, but he lost in the primary to a teacher.Delete
The board chair, Dave Crandall, already lost, and is not in the general election, as is another charter supporter who doesn't support public education.
People in Utah are starting to wake up and realize that the reformers' ideas are damaging public education in Utah. I hope that this continues.
What was obvious by those two's attitudes (Plus Leslie Castle & Jennifer Johnson) is that they just don't respect teaching.Delete
Exactly! I was out of town and couldn't go to the hearing, but from the reports I heard, you are exactly right. And it's no surprise.Delete
By the way, in Utah, it is already legal to hire high school graduates to substitute teach. The quality of substitutes is horrifyingly bad.ReplyDelete
I substitute taught in elementary school for 5 years, I do not have a degree, but I was a much sort after sub. Not all high school graduates are bad substitutes and not all teachers leave great sub plans.Delete
You're right, of course. And I've had some excellent subs. But in this last year alone, I had a teacher who complained that I had left sub plans because he liked to "teach his own things," which meant lecturing to an AP class on study skills they already knew, another sub who only read his Bible the whole time and wouldn't even talk to the students, and another who left the classroom, while students were there, for 10 or 15 minutes at a timeDelete
Here's a novel argument that the proponents used to justify putting totally untrained, unlicensed teachers in classrooms:ReplyDelete
"We should maintain a sense of humility about the (teaching) profession. Good teaching and learning are human activities that existed long before current teacher preparation programs."
--- Christine Cooke, from the Sutherland Institute
(from testimony given in favor a Utah state bill
removing all qualifications for teaching)
By that logic, since "medicine", in primitive form, has existed for thousands of years, it's okay for those who've never had a day of medical training be allowed to practice medicine, or perform surgery.
Here's more from the Sutherland Institute:
"Sutherland also believes that Utah should be brave enough to question the status quo when it is prudent. The teaching profession is ennobled when teachers do a good job in the classroom and are rewarded for it, not when the profession keeps candidates out through licensing traditions."
--- Christine Cooke, from the Sutherland Institute
(from an article congratulating the Utah legislature
for eliminating all requirements for teachers)
Wow. According to Sutherland, you "ennoble a profession" by removing all licensing and basic requirements to perform it --- education, training, state board testing, etc.? Indeed, to do otherwise is just more warped liberal thinking from that selfish, rotten ol' "status quo" that wrongfully keeps people out of teaching through the use of antiquated "licensing traditions."
Up is down, black is white, and we're going through the Looking Glass.
The latter quote is here:
The Utah legislature gives the Sutherland Institute a regular forum to testify at State Senate and State Assembly hearings.
The Sutherland Institute has WAY too much influence in Utah politics. It's sickening.Delete
Okay, so who are the folks at the Sutherland Institute, and what are they all about?ReplyDelete
SUTHERLAND INSTITUTE - OUR PRINCIPLES
"Our desire for freedom extends to generations to come and requires Sutherland constantly to educate Utah’s elected officials, community leaders, and electorate in the principles of freedom.
"Sutherland calls these principles of freedom “authentic conservatism” and has framed authentic conservatism into seven governing principles:
" ... "
"Religion as the moral compass of human progress
"A free and prosperous Utah requires active religious influence among its people. This means that every Utahn should seek some reflection of the Divine in their purpose in life; that every Utahn should think beyond the moment and themselves to consider the broader context of their existence and their children’s future; that every Utahn should set their personal morality against the backdrop of millennia of universally-held faith-based experiences; that every Utahn should appreciate the religious heritage that gave birth to this state; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that protect religious liberty, integrate universal religious morals and values in our laws, and that publicly express our reverence for religion in our lives.
" ... "
"Limited Government as the essence of good government
"A free and prosperous Utah requires accountability from its people. This means that every Utahn should seek to expand their personal influence in their community; that every Utahn should seek to solve their own problems and work voluntarily with their neighbors to solve community problems; that every Utahn should well-understand the principles of limited, constitutional government and seek to abide them; and, that every Utahn should support public policies that limit government spending, limit the role of government programs in our lives, limit the authority we delegate to governments, and limit the physical and legal expansion of governmental presence."
Bottom line: this is about pushing privatization through charter school expansion, and also cutting taxes, and to accomplish that, the Sutherland Institute has no problem destroying the quality of public education in the state, and coming with idiotic arguments to do so, and then making them at state legislative hearings..
The more recent pieces that Sutherland Institute has put out on this all make the argument that those opposed to the legislation are just ... you guessed it ... putting adult' interests ahead of children's interests. They claim that those teachers who complain that the recent de-professionalization of teaching "demoralizes" them .. well, they're just a bunch of self-interested whiners.
Sutherland argues that the children's best interest should could always be put ahead of adults' hurt feelings.
Here's some of that in an Sutherland opinion piece printed in several Utah newspapers:
Good research, Jack. Thanks.Delete
I'm not a raging feminist, but I still think a big reason teaching is so disrespected is misogyny. Since teaching is traditionally thought of as a "women's profession", politicians and businessmen just can't believe there can be that much to it.ReplyDelete
This is particularly the case in Utah. There are VERY few legislators that are women in our state. Men truly run the show here, and there are a lot of misogynists in the group. It shows.Delete
I agree. This is why, although there are many more malpractice cases than suits against teachers, no one goes after doctors like this . . . or lawyers, because they're defending the (assumed to be male) doctors . . .Delete
Absolutely. The war on teachers parallels the war on women.Delete
There's an amazing amount of false equivalency liberally peppered through this article that completely defeats the point being made. Comparing teaching to other professions is not convincing because it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.ReplyDelete
Your argument would be strong by stating facts like: "states who used the same teacher criteria saw [x] problems: [then defined] and decided to reverse course and the problems were rectified".
Instead, this piece is filled with hyperbole, logical fallacies and empassioned pleas.
Your English teacher (who is also a computer engineer) would have you rewrite this and resubmit it.
Your post makes no sense.Delete
Are you then okay with teachers who have NO experience or training, and never have to get any training, who don't have to major in any content area, teaching in schools?Delete
And I'd like to see what hyperbole you have found. I'm from Utah. I can discuss the situation with you.