Htwe Htwe earned a math degree at Rangoon University. Now she works as a teacher’s aide at International Community School, a Georgia charter school that educates native-born and immigrant students. Many of the newcomers, like Htwe, are refugees. With up to 40 languages spoken by its students, ICS employs staff from Burma, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Bosnia, Cuba, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iraq and France. All go through training to teach the demanding International Baccalaureate program. But are they “highly qualified” under No Child Left Behind?
By summer of 2009, DeKalb County will require that all ICS teachers be state certified and all aides “pass a rigorous exam or complete two years of college,” reports the Christian Science Monitor, which has been following the school and its students. (The excellent series, which includes a blog, focuses on a Congolese-American boy named Bill Clinton Hadam.) Only half of ICS teachers have met Georgia’s certification requirements; no assistants have state credentials.
International staff make ICS what it is, they insisted – but members need time to get credentialed. Some of their educational records are irretrievable from war-torn homelands. Others hold credentials that satisfied countries around the globe, but count for nothing in Georgia. Still others are working toward English fluency and preparing to take qualification exams.
Htwe, who’s helped a Burmese student become an academic success, hasn’t been able to get the local community college to accept her high school diploma, much less her college degree, and fears her English won’t be good enough to pass the exam.
Via Education Gadfly.