Friday, October 12, 2007

"Licensed" Teachers? Or Controlling the Market?

It's a truism that once a monopoly or oligopoly is established, the monopolist or oligopolist(s) will do their best to maintain their stranglehold on the market.

This is not restricted to Big Biz. The Milwaukee Teachers' Association is perfectly willing to engage in similar practices. Welcome to "Restraint of Trade, Teacher Version."

...some schools have as few as four teachers, which means that teachers frequently cover several subjects while they are generally certified to teach in one area. State law permits teachers who are licensed in any area - even elementary school - to get "charter school" licenses that allow them to teach any subject in a high school and still be regarded as "highly qualified."

Advocates for some of the schools in Milwaukee said at this week's meeting that hard work and good training allow a teacher not licensed in, say, math to still be effective in teaching it - and sometimes more so than a teacher in a traditional classroom where students might be tuned out to what's going on.

They also said they could not afford to employ certified teachers to handle each subject on their small budgets and, in many cases, they have tried, but not succeeded, in attracting teachers in specialty areas such as math and science.

The Union Solution?

But in the eyes of leaders of Milwaukee's teachers union and some School Board members, to give students a teacher who is not certified in a specific subject is to give them an inferior teacher.

"Professional is professional," said Dennis Oulahan, president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association. "If we're willing to play with that, how serious are we about moving student achievement forward in this district?"

There will be a "study." That shouldn't be real hard to do. The rather prestigious local Jesuit high-school often uses Jesuit Scholastics to teach a variety of courses in which they are not "certified" by the State or anyone else.

Study their results.

3 comments:

Lois said...

The reason that Milwaukee Schools struggle (to be generous) has nothing to do with whether there are qualified teachers there. I have taught there with some of the best teachers I have ever known. Teaching people who are only in class once or twice a week is impossible. It is also impossibe to teach people who have not been taught that learning to read is a good thing and helpful for your future.

Dad29 said...

I agree with you regarding the REAL problem with MPS--which is the home environment.

On the other hand, MPS often shoots itself in the foot with silly regulations and rules, incompetent principals, and all the other problems which come from a large bureaucracy.

So even if the kids show up every day, they're not necessarily going to benefit by being there.

AND there is the usual percentage of nincompoop teachers.

Lois said...

True!