Judging teachers by their teaching

A Texas board narrowly approved a plan to give a two-year credential to would-be high school teachers educated in their subject but not trained in teaching. Normally, uncredentialed teachers would be required to take education classes. What’s radical about this plan is that teachers could earn a credential based on an evaluation of their teaching skills — not on coursework.

The temporary teacher certificate plan approved Friday would allow people to receive a two-year certificate to teach grades eight through 12 if their degree is related to the subject they would teach and they pass state teacher exams. All teachers must pass the exams.

School districts would be required to provide the new teachers with training, mentoring and professional development. After two years, they could be granted a standard certificate if they had received good reviews.

Texas needs math, science and foreign language teachers. The new plan is designed to pull in laid-off tech workers with math and science degrees. If the economy really is recovering, those laid-off techies won’t be available much longer.

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  1. Or if a lot of tech jobs are going to India, there may be a lot of qualified applicants….

  2. earn a credential based on an evaluation of their teaching skills — not on coursework.

    This should be THE primary gating factor for hiring and keeping a teacher ” teaching skills”, their ability to teach. The fact this is a radical idea shows just how far we are from ever having a laudatory public education system in the US. So sad …..

    And thank you for posting these items, I really enjoy reading this blog.

  3. Imagine what this would do to education “education” if it caught on. There would be condensed, content rich (instead of content bereft) seminars to gen the prospective teachers up on state regs, etc. I honestly believe that the actual content of my 4 years of ed classes could be done in a three day weekend. [Since my University expects math teachers to get the same degree as ‘real’ math majors, I can’t really complain about that part. But the Ed. Dept.? Oy!]

  4. greeneyeshade says:

    one thing that makes me nervous is that the first time someone complains of a ‘biased’ evaluation the authorities will drop the whole idea. it’s like zero-tolerance policies that lead to grade-schoolers being suspended for carrying butter knives: reformers’ default reaction to any abuse of discretion seems to be to make sure that no one has any discretion to abuse.

  5. I live in Texas, and I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this one. Unfortunately, I think greeneyeshade is correct: the first time someone whines, they’ll pull the program. The Teachers’ Unions are already whining and carrying on.

    I teach in industry, and I have taught in grad school. I’ve observed elementary schools classes in schools that are considered among the top in the state, and I’ve gotta say… I am NOT impressed by what they call ‘teaching’ today.

    I get notes from the teachers, from the principal, and from the various school district administrators that are, well, SHAMEFUL. When will the people teaching our children learn to write complete sentences, with correct punctuation? When will they learn to give clear instructions and information?

    Most of the teachers that I know (and I know quite a few, both professionally, through school, and socially) wouldn’t last a week in the business world.

    They can’t organize information clearly. They can’t communicate it clearly. They can’t do basic math (I have evidence). They can’t follow their own instructions. And I could go on. But I won’t – it makes me too frustrated.

    But I gotta give them credit. I bet they could win hands-down on ‘Bullshit Bingo’! (You know, where you have a Bingo card with all the politically correct words in boxes, and the first guy who gets 5 in a row during a lecture or presentation yells, “Bullshit!” Sometimes three or four yell it out at once.)

  6. Interesting, Claire. Some of the business people I know wouldn’t last five minutes in a school, and most of the teachers I know would do just fine in business. I’ve done both, and the teachers I know are just smarter and better than the business people. But I could be using as unscientific a sample as you are. 🙂

  7. Well we couldn’t last long in each others’ worlds, but for different reasons. Anyway, that BS Bingo thing was a scream, I will have to share that one! Thanks.