Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Last night I went to a program at school that the PTA was sponsoring.  It was given by a group called MinnCan.  It's an educational reform group.  They are basically a lobby group whose aim is to make public schools better. I'm all for a political lobby group that wants to make public schools better, but I am highly suspicious of this particular group. They successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to pass a bill that allows for "alternative" teacher licensure. This basically means that anyone with a bachelor's degree can be  certified to be a teacher with FIVE WEEKS of training.  Americore is one of the outfits that provides "teachers" in this way.  These young college grads take a summer course after they graduate with degrees in anything from marketing to nursing to engineering, and in a miraculous five weeks they can get enough credentials to go into a public schools to teach, all on their own, classes with 35+ kids.  But you know what? Their education and experience isn't nearly as important as their heart and enthusiasm and if they believe they can make a difference! EEEEEEEEEEEEE❤!!!❤!!


I have a real problem with that.  If the goal is to improve public schools and to close the achievement gap, isn't putting unprepared people who are not teachers in the classroom in charge of teaching the kids, the exact opposite of what you want to do? And isn't that obvious?  So why would a supposed educational advocacy group want to do that?

I went to this program with a group of about twenty teachers and I was easily the least educated person in the bunch, and I've had five-plus years of college dedicated to the sole purpose of educating children.  Altogether I've done almost 20 weeks just student teaching to get various degrees and certifications.

Before the program I was talking with a man who is in his fifties and has been teaching for decades.  He was telling me about all these new apps he's using with his geography class.  He's also doing an educational fellowship.  And then the program started.  It was called "Improv to Improve" and it was supposed to be an improv group doing an entertaining show about public education.  The gist was that old teachers and methods are obsolete and we need new blood in education.  What a kick in the teeth.  I was sitting in a group of people who together have had hundreds of years of teaching experience and we were being told that old is bad and obsolete, and new and young is better.  Screw education and experience; to improve education, we need to employ LESS educated, experienced and prepared people.  Please.

The teachers watched the show and clapped politely, but when it ended, we were asked if there were any questions. Oh, there were questions.  The teachers wanted to know what MinnCan's stance is on teacher seniority, alternative licensure,  union busting and other specifics.  The MinnCan people cut the Q and A portion short and told us they had another improv performance for us instead.  No thanks.

But I guess I have to look at the silver lining of "alternative licensure."  If a nurse can be a teacher, then it only makes sense that with a few weeks of preparation, a teacher can become a nurse.  Or a lawyer.  Or an airline pilot.  When the alternative licensure law came up in Minnesota I wrote a post about all the things I will be doing when anyone with a bachelor's degree can do anything they want.  Here it is again:


Minnesota legislators are soon going to vote on a bill that would allow people with a bachelor's degree, but no teacher training, become teachers!  You could spend four years in college, get a degree in underwater basket weaving and then get out and teach school! All you will have to do is take a 200 hour crash course in teaching.  (I was a real sucker for taking over five years to learn to be a teacher.  It apparently only takes five weeks.)

The second having to have a license or any kind of specific training to practice a profession is moot, I think I will try out all kinds of things, why not! I have a bachelor's degree!  I can do anything!

The first thing I'm going to do is become a nurse.  RNs  have bachelor's degrees, I have a bachelor's degree, therefore, according to the Minnesota legislature, I could probably do a pretty decent job of being a nurse. Better than the old hags that have been doing it for decades, anyway! I'm new! I'm fresh! And I want some scrubs.  However, I'm kind of squeamish so as soon as bodily fluids come into play, I'm out.  Kind of like when I joined track in high school to get the cool sweatsuit, but then learned I was expected to run. Every day. Yeah, right.

Then I think I'll be an electrician.  I use electricity literally all the time.  In fact, I'm using it right this minute. I'm an electricity expert; flip switch up: on.  Flip switch down: off.  I'm trained (enough)!  I have a bachelor's degree in education.  I'm educated.  If I'm educated, I can do anything, right?  All that's been in my way are these pesky standards and licenses!

Need anything rewired?

Oh, you know what I'd really like to do?  Fly commercial airliners!  I'm sure that YEAR LONG course I suffered through: Methods and Materials of Teaching Secondary English will really help out with takeoffs and landings. Once I get my job being a pilot, flying will be much more pleasant (for me).  Trips go by so much faster when I'm the driver.  I have lots of experience driving a car, and a little bit driving a boat, and I actually took over the yolk (that's what they call it!) in a small plane and controlled it myself once for about five minutes (actual flying experience).  I'm totally qualified.

Then I think I'll become an architect for a while.  I live in a building, I go in buildings all the time, I've built Sims houses.  I could do it.  I'm qualified because I have a bachelor's degree, and more importantly, I BELIEVE❤ I could be an architect although I have a degree in English Education; just like some Minnesota legislators believe that anyone with a four-year degree can walk into a classroom and teach 30 kids.  Easy.

If this bill passes and you can do ANYTHING with your bachelor's degree, what do you want to do?

1 comment:

  1. My experience in taking Masters Degree courses in business taught me that a person may know their material, but have no idea how to teach. I agree that it's a foolish notion that anyone with a degree can teach. (I was a teacher for 17 years)


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