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There are times during a debate when the candidates are bantering back and forth on their platforms and issues, where one can expect what their position is going to be.  But there was a small, almost unnoticeable statement from McCain last night that made my hair stand on end!

Follow me here...

John McCain was explaining his education plan in response to a question posed, in which he wrapped it up with this remarkable statement:

"We need to encourage programs such as Teach for America and Troops to Teachers where people, after having served in the military, can go right to teaching and not have to take these examinations which -- or have the certification that some are required in some states."

Excuse me???  What???  You mean to tell me that I spent four years, thousands of dollars to earn a degree in education, spent a year in student teaching, spent additional dollars to take the Certification tests so that I can apply for teaching jobs within my state.  And, like all other aspiring teachers, they are all asked to do the same.  But, a returning veteran, who has no teaching training whatsoever, is not required to meet this requirement before standing in front of a classroom filled with our children?  This is one of the most ludicrous, irresponsible notions I have ever heard!

I popped over to this morning to gauge their reaction or to read more about this program, Troops to Teachers.  While the immediate knee-jerk reaction is to envision a 20'ish returning Iraq veteran handing out homework, there are those veterans who have Bachelor degrees before entering the forces who would and should think about entering the teaching field. I'm all for helping find careers for our veterans who return, it is the right and thoughtful thing to do.

I am attempting to familiarize myself a little more on this, and read that Troops to Teachers provides an alternative certification of some sort. In theory it sounds like a wonderful plan, but I'm still not clear on whether or not this is correct.  Per what McCain stated last night, his view is quite alarming and should be as well to many employed teachers in this country.  I for one do not feel this is exactly the right direction we need to be taking for our struggling education system!

Here's one of the reactions that I read on the to McCain's comment last night:

"I cannot believe that McCain thinks the solution to education
is Troops to Teachers & Teach for America and NOT having
teachers have to pass certification tests!!! That is so
disrespectful to those of us highly qualified teachers who are
well trained in our professions.

Maybe he'll want his next doctor's visit to be with someone
who became a doctor through alternative certification: how
about Troops to Doctors or Medical Care for America???"

If anyone here is familiar with this program, do they require certification?  I would like McCain to explain to me and the teachers of this country, how he plans to implement his non-certification version of the Troops to Teachers program!

Update:  Thanks so much for Rec status!  Now let's nail McCain on this!

Originally posted to carolh11 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:12 AM PDT.

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  •  Tips for qualified Teachers out there! (550+ / 0-)
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    by carolh11 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:13:15 AM PDT

    •  A slap at teachers, typical right wing thingy. (189+ / 0-)
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      Translation: Teachers needn't be certified because what they do isn't all that important.

      "You don't make peace with friends. You make it with very unsavory enemies." Yitzhak Rabin

      by pikkel on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:18:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another bone to the right wing (101+ / 0-)

        here's the thing: many private school teachers don't have certificates, it's often not required even in the most "elite" of the private schools. And so some of the people who want to organize charter schools want to have that same "freedom" they see the private schools having.

        It's part of the school choice thing - agreed, a typical right wing thingy.

        Try talking to some of the folks who send their kids to private schools: they are all for testing, when it's those "public" school kids, but oh noes, not for my kids. We private school parents have accountability, you see, so we don't need testing. Plus we can buy any services our kids need, so we don't need testing. We all live in Lake Woebegone, don't you know.

        And many people who support the charter school movement, in my experience and in some of the things I have read, have similar attitudes; they just want that supported by the taxpayer.

        Here in Baltimore, as the charter movement has gotten up and running, there has been an ongoing debate (putting it nicely) about what the requirements need to be for teachers and whether or not they have to be members of the teachers union. Of course, being part of the union provides protection for teachers, but there is this prevailing attutude among some people that that is too much of a constraint on the "freedom" to be "innovative" in schools.

        Basically, they want their cake and want to eat it too. Typically Republican.

        Hockey Moms for Obama!

        by stitchmd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:37:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There absolutely must be certification (92+ / 0-)

          for all teachers. This needs to be a law. I was sent to a extremely right wing private school. I graduated in a class of less than 30, the first graduating class of their "Christian Day School". My education in Grammar and archaic languages was quite good, but my "Chemistry Teacher" couldn't tell me where the "air bubbles" came from at the bottom of a boiling beaker of water and my "Math Teacher" told me there were no such things as irrational numbers.

          Luckily I was a reader. There are many students that are being deprived of a good education in the name of separating children from the "evil influences" of public school. I will be for charter schools the day every child gets to go to one.

          As if things could get worse without getting better.

          by A Voice on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:00:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

            •  Remember: no need for GI education benefits (30+ / 0-)

              if you don't require them to go to school and get a teaching certificate.  It's consistent with his world-view that we shouldn't be spending so much on those who have served.

              Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

              by lineatus on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:40:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Just as being Gov of Alaska (12+ / 0-)

              makes you an expert on Russia!  Government by osmosis.

            •  It's a ploy to deregulate and defund education (8+ / 0-)

              Tied to "no child left behind", if we stock our schools with unqualified teachers, no one will have to be paid for a damn thing.

              Just another attempt to make our country just a big yarn-ball of insanity.

              "The only sin is stupidity" -Oscar Wilde

              by Raskalnikov on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:52:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  As a veteran myself... (30+ / 0-)

              I am here to tell you, I am thoroughly UNQUALIFIED to be a teacher.  Maybe instead of throwing teaching jobs around, he should concentrate on giving vets things  like decent health care, or here's an even crazier idea:  how about we don't ask our brave men and women to spend the next 100 years or so baby sitting a bunch of assholes half a world away?  John McCain hasn't ever done shit for vets, why should he start now?

              •  There are good military teachers (5+ / 0-)

                I don't know how they teach in the military now, but in the 60's when I was in the navy, the teachers in "A" school were generally quite good. Just like in civilian schools there were good teachers and ok teachers.
                The teachers were 2cd class petty officers or above. these guys were people that were on the 2cd reenlistment or more and knew their subject matter very well. I was a gun firecontrolman and they taght ballistics math, trigonometry, electronics, physics, etc. In six months they had taken high school graduates 18 years old and turned them into radarmen, corpsman, machinist mates, cooks, sonarmen, and all of the other 100 or so skills in the navy.  Since they were petty officers they knew how to control students in their classes. Discipline was not a problem. I think people who had spent years teaching in the navy would make good teachers. The average sailor would not necessarily make a good teacher, but petty officers teach 18 years olds to operate and repair some of the most sophisticated ships in the world.
                I don't know how the other military services train their people, but I assume it would be similar. I personally thought the military education I got was excellent.  

                •  Of course discipline was not a problem (9+ / 0-)

                  Who's going to give a superior officer a hard time in a class where they are teaching you the very thing you joined the military to learn?

                  Put that same instructor in front of a 7th grade middle school class and see how they make out.

                  I'm certified in both Math and Physics (my undergraduate minor/majors respectively) and taught both for a few years before moving on to other pursuits (in no small part because I had to spend more time on oh-so productive activities such as hall and cafeteria duty than prepping for labs and to grade lab papers making it impossible to do more than one or 2 labs per quarter - oh, and the money sucked), but I'll tell you, it was the adolescent psychology, learning theory and similar coursework (in 1 year grad MSE program) and especially the mentoring of my practicum supervisor that prepared me for success in the classroom.

                  IMO, there is no way that most military trainers could successfully transition to a middle or high school environment with out at least a semester's worth of additional training - and no guarantees even then.

                  Democracy is a contact sport...

                  by jsmagid on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:14:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think a semester or two of training (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tovan, B Unis

                    would be good for anyone, and they should have several years of teaching in the military before being considered. The school district in South Florida had a program of allowing math and science teachers to teach without teaching certificates if they had 12 or more hours in the subject being taught. I believe they started as student teachers.
                    I do believe that people with teaching degrees would be preferable, but I understand that there is a shortage of teachers in some fields.
                    Maintaining discipline is an attitude. I think most petty officers have developed that attitude and could handle a seventh grade class. I am not sure that prior servicemen have the rounded education to teach elemtary school. I think they would be better in their field.

                    •  I've taught seventh grade classes, AND (8+ / 0-)

                      I've dealt with petty officers up close and far too personal.  No contest.  The kids would wipe the floor with him.

                      In the military you have an entire disciplinary structure behind the rating, and everyone knows it.  They know that disobedience has consequences.  At 13 there are no consequences, the kids will not do brig time for spitballs, they won't be busted down to seaman for sticking out their tongue.

                      At worst, they will be kicked out of school.  Now there's the solution.  Just empty the classrooms and we'll have plenty of teachers to go around.

                      The right wing LOVE this idea, because to them, ALL problems in education stem from lack of discipline.  Just one more way in which they are and always have been out of touch with reality, and incapable of dealing with subtler issues of cause and effect.  They want hard, simple answers where there are none.

                      When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

                      by oxon on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 12:09:01 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  this one deserves several more recs NT (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                      •  Actually, my son was a petty officer, (5+ / 0-)

                        (and did some training) and he's now a high school teacher--economics, polical science, and history.

                        First, he went back to university on the GI bill after service and got his degree and requisite teacher training and student teaching and certification.

                        Second, he teaches survival skills for the modern world, both theoretical and practical.  Everything from how macroeconomics and politics affect them personally to real-world household budgeting (which the parents love--quite a few of his kids have decided maybe they'd better go to college after all, instead of dropping out to work at MacDonalds).

                        Third, he's a liberal, so the kids get the straight dope across the board instead of propaganda, with multimedia presentations (he's a techie).  The kids love that, and they're so engaged they give him very little trouble.

                        I'm so proud of him.

                        McCain now decries greed on Wall Street and suggests a commission .... This is like Casanova coming out for chastity. Garrison Keillor

                        by tovan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 01:08:30 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  And there's the difference. He trained to be (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          a teacher.  He didn't assume that being a petty officer automatically qualified him.

                          When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

                          by oxon on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 02:45:19 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Absolutely. He knew it didn't qualify him. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            He put in a lot of hard work learning to teach.  For little pay and fewer benefits.  But he's found his calling, so it's worth it to him.

                            Teaching certainly isn't for everyone.  One former special forces type (rigid rightwinger) at his school dropped out to go into a job the private sector.  Apparently the kids drove him nuts.  I'm not smiling.  I'm not.  (Okay, I am.  Go kids!)

                            McCain now decries greed on Wall Street and suggests a commission .... This is like Casanova coming out for chastity. Garrison Keillor

                            by tovan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 03:35:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  LOL!! You're last paragraph made my night. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            peace to you, tovan.

                            When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

                            by oxon on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:52:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  There are good teachers, but... (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  hopesprings, tovan, kyril, happyslayer, B Unis

                  ...further education is still required.  Navy recruits are more motivated than your typical high school student because they are paid to be there.  The more they learn in their rate, the better chance they have to earn more money through promotions.  I think if you were to throw a Navy "A" School instuctors into an inner-city high school, without a degree or certification as a teacher, they would find themselves in WAAAYYY over their heads.

                  rstnfld, just a little background on myself, I struck Engineman in the fleet, so I firmly believe that you, as a Fire Controlman, are probably way more intelligent than me.  Enginemen are the dirtbags of the Navy!

                  •  Lest I be accused of dissing ... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... military training, I should note that my Army language training did give me considerably more fluency in Chinese than a Yale Chinese major I tested with at one point.  But then again, I had been given nearly 2 years of almost full-time language training by that point.

                    And the military had another unfair advantage.  In addition to not permitting students to take most of the harder languages unless they had achieved high scores on aptitude tests, and even once we were allowed to attempt language school our wash-out rate was around 50 percent.

                    There's really very little comparison to be made (at least believably) between military tech schools and public, primary or secondary schools.

                •  Umm... public schools don't have the same (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  options for discipline that the military does.  There are no Article 15s or courts martial (yet) in public schools.  This dog don't hunt.

                  Or maybe it's that I was in the Army during the Reagan admin.  Yes, my NCO teachers got me through what it took to pass the tests for AIT -- though I noticed that they didn't "hire" NCOs to teach us Chinese, German, Korean, Arabic or any other languages at DLI.  There were some shady civilians teaching some material there, and I'm sure a few of them had started out as NCOs before ending up on DLI staff.

                  Teaching in a tech school, especially teaching how to use specific types of equipment is not quite the same as teaching high school or younger students.  I don't doubt that some former military folks would make outstanding teachers.  But there has to be some kind of preliminary filtering, if only to weed out the most obvious psychos and sexual predators.

                  OTOH, before I entered the Army during the 1980 recession I had briefly "taught" as a substitute teacher in Colo., with no more qualification than 2 completed years of college, and no specific training.  As it turned out, most of my call-backs came from the local junior high, where, even with no military training, I somehow figured out how to prevent junior high students, looking to press all possible advantages, to avoid killing each other, and even sometimes doing the assignments their real teacher had left for them.

                  But I really don't count my experience as a sub as anything like real teaching, especially after my experience with some of the fine (trained) teachers in my daughters' schools.

                  •  My experience -- middle school substitute (0+ / 0-)

                    First "boundary seeker" goes to the office.

                    Most classes calm down at that point. Those who want to learn, like you. Those who don't, usually shut up and wait out the period to avoid an office visit.

                    I was a consistent call-back and had a reputation with the students -- I was a teacher, not a baby sitter.

                    I also had an understanding with the vice principal about the boundary seekers. He backed me up.

                    "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

                    by KJC MD on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 02:36:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  The A school teachers are fantastic (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tovan, B Unis

                  at teaching what they teach. And you know why? Because they know the subject. Inside and out. They've worked with it day-in, day-out for five or more years and excelled at it - that's why they were selected to teach A school.

                  Take the same sailor and ask him to teach English grammar and lit to middle school students, and you'd have an unmitigated disaster academically. Certainly, they could maintain discipline, but they're not English specialists - they're specialists in a technical field.

                  Would the experience be invaluable after they went to school and gained a thorough grounding in the subject matter? Certainly, and that's why Troops to Teachers is a great program. But the idea that a technical expert is qualified to teach academic subjects with no further education and training is, to put it bluntly, absurd.

                  Now, there is one area of public schools where many enlisted vets would shine with little additional training, and that is in teaching shop and other technical education classes. I was an airframer in the Navy, and if I had a kid who was interested in engineering or a technical field, I would jump at the chance to get him/her into a class taught by an AM or MR A-school instructor any day. There's nothing like hands-on experience with metalwork, machining, and hydraulics to make a future engineer appreciate the real-world implications of his or her designs. But would I let MR2 Lopez or SSgt Rodriguez teach the same kid math without a math degree? Not on your life.

                  During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

                  by kyril on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 12:19:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  How, exactly, would they... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    ... maintain discipline?

                    Speaking as a former Army 98G-CM who made it to E-5 (Sergeant) over the course of 4 year enlistment, and taught one bomb class and one first aid class in that time.

                    •  Same way other teachers do (0+ / 0-)

                      and the same way Navy petty officers do. Set limits and expectations, use a reinforcement system, and talk to kids who are having trouble meeting your standards and find out why. Use the school administration as backup, and the parents if necessary. Oh, and be upfront and straightforward about why rules and expectations are in place.

                      I don't know anything about how the Army or the Marine ground units operate, but I do know that military discipline and leadership in the Navy and the Marine air wing isn't about the stereotypical pushups and screaming fits. That doesn't work when you're trying to train or lead skilled technicians who, after a few years on the job, will probably know more about their field of expertise than the people in charge of them and who therefore shouldn't be trained into instant reflexive obedience. You have to be able to get people to do the right thing voluntarily just because it's the right thing (and think for themselves in order to make that judgment). Those are the same qualities society is looking for in the character of graduates of our public schools. It would make sense to go about developing them in the same way.

                      During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

                      by kyril on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 12:45:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Teachers with guns. (0+ / 0-)

                  That's what we need.

                  Information is free at the library. Bring your own container. -Anon.

                  by stonepier on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 01:57:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Agree... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cville townie, kyril, B Unis

                I got out of the Navy after being a military jet flight instructor and did a six-week stint as a substitute Spanish teacher...without doubt, one of the hardest jobs I ever had.

                It wasn't that the kids were bad (rural Ohio...nice people, few major problems.)  It wasn't the subject; I had used my high-school Spanish lessons throughout my career and it came in handy.  And it wasn't that I was just lazy about it; being fresh out of the military, long hours and organization came pretty naturally.

                For me, the hard part was immersing yourself in the people, the lessons, the personalities, and the whole environment.  Teaching (and doing it well) is just plain hard!  The hours, the emotional bounces, and the dedication all took an enormous amount of energy, and by the end of the day, I was exhausted.

                I like teaching people new things, and I like working with kids.  But I'll be the first to admit (from experience) that being a career teacher requires a combination of dedication, energy, and personality that is very specialized and rare.

                As much as I'd like to believe that my background qualifies me to handle just about anything thrown my way, I know it's not completely true.  McCain's debate statement just shows a lack of understanding about this subject that is, at the very least, troublesome.  At the very worst, it could cause long-term damage to our schools and our country.

                PS.  I still run into the kids from those 6 weeks; they say I did a good job and had fun.  My wife is a third-grade teacher, and she's the perfect example of the hard-working, dedicated, inventive teacher that schools need more of but can hardly find.

            •  Hey, I resent this... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ... I recall being a sergeant in the Army and teaching my unit's bomb threat class several times.  Surely, reading out a ridiculous canned outline to others, after being told by the real bomb squad personnel that -- basically a bomb can look like almost anything and be hidden almost anywhere -- this must qualify me to teach high school physics, right?

            •  Yup, deregulation did a lot of good (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              for the economy -

              why not try it on the public school system?

              Information is free at the library. Bring your own container. -Anon.

              by stonepier on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 01:55:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Just one more example of how (29+ / 0-)

            out of touch John McCain is, and how he will say anything to pander. As far as McCain is concerned, if you serve in the military, you are qualified to do anything. He really believes his military service qualifies him to be President, so why shouldn't he feel everyone else who serves is qualified to teach.

          •  Education departments typically suck (33+ / 0-)

            Top private schools get excellent teachers with great backgrounds from top universities. Most of those teachers don't have education degrees.

            Certification tests typically are filled with edubabble, not real tests of knowledge in technical subject areas.

            We need to change the system of certification to get away form the education departments and tests of useless edubabble. We should not abandon certification.

            There is still a strong need for education departments to teach classroom management skills. Practical curriculum development classes are needed.

            But education degrees should not be required to be teachers of middle school or high school. Degrees in subject areas are needed to teach those subjects, not education degrees.

            "It's the planet, stupid."

            by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:17:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, but replacing education departments... (16+ / 0-)

              ...with military basic training is not the right approach!

              This nicely summarizes what's wrong with American political life today. (Source)

              by GreenSooner on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:29:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  maybe (19+ / 0-)

                my wife, a recovering middle school teacher -- certified, tho she taught in a private setting -- virtually fell off the couch when she heard McCain opine that teacher training was unnecessary

                it wasn't clear from his brief statement that Troops to Teachers obliged the troops even to have a college education; let's stipulate that it is...

                ...and let's talk about of the real problems with college education is that the professors are never (or rarely) taught actually to teach!

                the issue, for me, isn't that certificates do or don't matter, it's that we need to teach teachers skills which work in the classroom, AND they need to have demonstrated competence in the fields they teach

                Beware all ventures which require new clothes, and not a new wearer of clothes. -- Henry David Thoreau

                by Shocko from Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:34:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  not only are they (8+ / 0-)

                  not trained in how to teach, some have no interest in it.  my virology professor was openly hostile to it - her research was her passion and teaching was an imposition to her.  she basically told us as much one day.  

                  my parents paid money for that?!??

                  "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                  by Cedwyn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:05:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  then explain why (6+ / 0-)

                  private schools don't feel the need to hire those with certification?

                  The notion that teaching can be taugth in abstractrion from the subject matter is, to my mind, fallacious. The whole philosophy is off kilter.

                  Think of the good teachers you have had. Aren't they the one's with passion? Aren't they the ones who are creative? Who can ispire? you don't learn that from a class.

                  •  Passion is definitely required (8+ / 0-)

                    but so is the ability to: plan a decent curriculum, manage the obstreperous kids, conduct the class so that it engages the students, and know the legalities of issues you're going to face in a classroom.  

                    It's these "other" things as well as passion that a teacher needs to have to be, IMO, an effective teacher.

                    The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

                    by Heiuan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:22:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  but this does not require (6+ / 0-)

                      taking education classes--one can learn from experience, from student teaching--watching and observing other teachers. (Student teaching is one aspect of teacher training that does seem to be helpful)

                      I get kind of excited about this topic, because I think the philosophy behind Education depts. is fatally flawed. So I might have been hyperbolic.

                      There are obviously some practical skills involved in teaching, but these are best learned as an apprentice in a real classroom environment.

                      •  yes, and that apprenticing gels with reflection (9+ / 0-)

                        ... and discussion, best fostered in a Masters or certification class.

                        I agree that education theory--can we call it this instead of 'edubabble'?--must be taken with a grain of salt, and is very hard for new teachers to connect to the classroom. But, speaking as someone who has been teaching for more than a decade and thought at the outset that education theory was a crock, the further on I get, the more I see connections between my own classroom planning and execution and the 'out-there' abstractions of Dewey, Freire, and others. I would have a much lower ceiling as a teacher without having encountered their ideas. In a classroom.

                        It's not breaking news that there is bullshit in academia, just as there is in every industry. Admittedly, academic bullshit often rankles more for its pretensions of grandeur. But let's not make the mistake of falling into the same anti-intellectual 'hell, a fool could do that on day one with just some durn common sense' attitude about education that has cost our nation so dearly when applied to foreign policy, macroeconomic planning, and governance in general. Some aspects of teaching can't be taught; for everything else, there's Masters degrees. And/or certification.

                      •  Apprenticing has always worked (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        We had teachers and lawyers and doctors before we had ed schools and law schools and med schools. Apprentice teaching strikes me as a particularly good way to learn to teach for older folks interested in becoming teachers, but school districts need to have someone pay the cost of the apprentice.

                        •  They already have apprentice teaching (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          hopesprings, cville townie, DrFitz

                          it's called student teaching.  My wife did a year of practicums and a semester of full student teaching before getting her certification, on top of a BA...

                          "If the good Lord had intended for us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates." - Willy Wonka

                          by RethinkEverything on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:19:43 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  it's alt-cert. (0+ / 0-)
                          In our district it takes a year and the teacher pays $4K.

                          Do you want your kid in an apprentice's class? Just wondering.

                        •  Apprentice/student teaching is also a good (0+ / 0-)

                          way for the prospective new teacher to find out if he or she really does enjoy teaching and feels up to the task.

                          If it turns out they don't like it, everyone is better off for their having discovered it before entering the educational job market and occupying a position that could have been filled better, and appreciated more, by another, more suitable person.

                          You need dedication, communication skills, empathy, passion, a love of challenge, and patience as well as a thorough knowledge of your teaching subject(s). Only real hands-on classroom experience can give you at least an idea of whether it may be the "right" job for you.

                          As it is, there are plenty of mediocre, disinterested, burnt-out teachers already -- imagine what it would be like if they had had no prior specific training or classroom experience at all.

                          "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

                          by Donna in Rome on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:17:56 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  There are some classes (5+ / 0-)

                        that I do believe are absolutely necessary for being a teacher.  Classes like Developmental psych, for instance, and the basics of classroom planning and management.  The student teacher needs to come into the field situation knowing the basics already. It isn't possible for a classroom teacher to teach an apprentice all these skills when they have to concentrate on their classes.

                        OJT or apprenticeship can and should be used by the student teacher to develop and refine these and other skills.  That's what student teaching is for.  But the time necessary to learn the basics and then practice the skills would make for a very long apprenticeship if they don't already have a basic knowledge. Remember that, historically, apprenticeships usually were several years long.  

                        The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

                        by Heiuan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:06:05 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Heiuan, kyril

                          Learning theory, sociology of education and adolescent psych were all extremely valuable. In fact when I taught Physics I completely ignored the book (except for problem sets) and put together my own sequence of topics to build a logical foundation of information (you can't study/understand the nature of light if you haven't first studied both mechanics - momentum, kinetic energy, etc. and waves) based on what I got out of the learning theory class (and following from my paper entitled "The Pedagogical Unsoundness of College Curricula" - should have seen about getting that one published way back when...).

                          I got a lot of help from experienced teachers during my first couple of years, but without the base in these non-subject areas to work from I would have been in serious trouble.

                          All that said, of course it is critical for teachers to know their subject matter. I do think the path I followed, undergraduate degree in academic subjects followed by full-time masters program in education is the best way to go - but of course I would!

                          Democracy is a contact sport...

                          by jsmagid on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:31:51 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Private schools can get away with it. (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pollyusa, cville townie, kyril, DrFitz, B Unis

                    It is cheaper so it make good business sense, even for a non-profit. Private schools pick their students, and parents are usually more involved, either by money or participation. Private schools limit their class sizes, allowing the teacher to spend more time with each student. And finally, a lot of private schools are religious, and proper adherence to the trappings of their religion is more important than competence.

                    I went to both public and private (CoC) schools, I had good and bad teachers at both. I had several bad teachers, and their degree wasn't why they were bad. It's not the degree that should be the concern, it's the person who is the teacher.

                •  McCain is clueless. (11+ / 0-)

                  He probably doesn't know what the requirements for alternative certification are. Here in Texas, they require a bachelor's degree in the subject to be taught, as well as passing of the state test that education majors have to take. The only difference is that the alternative certification people don't have to go back to college and can take classroom management and curriculum classes (offered by the certification agency) at night or on the weekends. It is doubtful that McCain has read any materials on teacher training and has no idea what Troops to Teachers is all about. As my father would have said, "He heard something ringing, but he didn't know where the bell was hung."

                  •  You still have to student teach (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyril, dhshoops, MemphisProfessor

                    and who can stop working for six months to do that?

                    The certification program is a joke for anyone with a full time job or too poor to afford the "classes" that allegedly teach you what you didn't learn in school.

                    It's a complete racket.

                    Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

                    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:01:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think this is a major problem... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kyril, carolh11

                      I think there needs to be more ways to get people into teaching that want to be teachers and have the knowledge, skill, and education.  In particular, there need to be more programs for professionals. If you want the best and brightest to be teachers there need to be more programs designed to help full time professionals transition to teaching.

                    •  From what I read (0+ / 0-)

                      here in Texas, the student teaching part lasts a year but is paid according to entry-level teacher salary rates.

              •  what is required (6+ / 0-)

                is a solid, serious, liberal arts education. I have known many smart people turned off from teaching because of annoying mickey mouse education classes.

                There is an entrenched bureacracy in Ed. depts in the University which will be hard to challenge. But it must be challenged.

                Really, I teach at a University and can speak from experience.

              •  much as it would be tempting... (0+ / 0-)

                ... to cast McCain's proposal in that light, even a diehard leftie like myself is not going to claim that he was proposing "replacement" of education programs with military service.  At most he was suggesting an alternate route to some minimal sort of certification.  

                As long as we have no draft, there aren't going to be many people who choose military service as the easier route to teaching credentials, even if it turned out to be that for a handful of veterans.

                FWIW, I do agree that ed departments don't seem to have a high correlation to teacher quality.  But I think that's a whole other issue.  Gaaack... am I beginning to agree with McCain a little.  Stop me now.

                Anyway, with McCain's 1000-year war plan, a draft will be inevitable, and so everyone without a medical excuse is going to have a teaching certificate too, if they survive their enlistment.  So we wind up with what's really a zero-sum game, since almost everyone is going to be on the same level ground when it comes to seeking teaching jobs.

            •  what you call edubabble (23+ / 0-)

              Is the terminology of our profession.  If you don't understand it, it's because you're not trained in the subject.

              Teaching is more than subject knowledge and classroom management.  It's also being able to take the body of human knowledge, determine the most important parts for kids to know, determine how to make it salient to your audience, and figure out in course of a quarter to several years how to get it to stick in the minds of your students while igniting their curiosity to learn more.  If you want to do it well, you actually do need to spend some time studying it, thank you.  While you may classify that as "practical curriculum development", it's a bit more involved than a phrase.  Teachers also need to know child development, smatterings of sociology, be culturally aware, know how to work with kids of ridiculously different levels in the same environment, etc. etc. etc.  This sort of knowledge needs a degree.

              •  Simply. Not. True. (16+ / 0-)

                I have been through public and private schools. I earned an advanced degree in science.

                The best teachers I had did not have education degrees.

                Have you ever heard of Richard Lederer, linguist and author?

                He taught my seventh grade English class. He was a brilliant teacher. He didn't go to Ed school.

                I have had brilliant college professors who were great teachers. They had no Ed degrees.

                "It's the planet, stupid."

                by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:46:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  some things you may not have considered (16+ / 0-)

                    I can't buy your argument that if some teachers are good with out training, that means we shouldn't have any standards to train teachers.  That strikes me as a direct parallel to arguments like, "if some people are good at paying their mortgages, we shouldn't need to make everyone jump through all these pointless hoops to borrow money".  Look where that got us...

                    To continue - the college application process weeds out a lot of students.  When you teach in the public schools, you have to teach all of them.  That requires a bit more knowledge of kids.  When students get to college, it's expected they either know how to learn material, or they drop out.  When kids are in K-12, they are still learning HOW to learn.  Not only do we have to teach them how to learn, but we need to be really aware of how they don't have their act together and address 30 kids in a way where the one kid that's not getting it can also figure stuff out while giving extension projects to the smart kids.  That's hard, and especially people who that doesn't come naturally to need training.

                   Sure, there can be great natural teachers.  I haven't been through culinary school, and nevertheless I do very well indeed in the kitchen.  However - many people benefit from the training.  

                  •  That's a silly analogy. (7+ / 0-)

                    You can keep training the majority of teachers a certain way, but when you have a subject matter expert or a proven college-level teacher trying to teach in the public school system, what is gained by making those people jump through the same hoops that a raw recruit would need to go through?

                    College-level teachers learn classroom and student management and how to do their own lesson plans to achieve the desired course aim.

                    Why should I have to go take four education classes and student teach for free for six months when I've already BEEN in the classroom? That is what teacher certification programs currently require, and it's a complete waste of my time and my money.

                    Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

                    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:12:00 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  not every program is the same! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Brooke In Seattle

                      and there are other paths - for example, if you were here in Milwaukee, MPS would snap you up immediately and certify you while you're teaching.  You would be taking classes after school.

                      I think you'd admit that the average person switching careers to K-12 teaching does not come from a college teaching background, no?

                      •  Very true, but TX and WA don't want me (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kyril, CarrieNYC, B Unis

                        unless I go to school for at least two or three more years and then spend six unpaid months as a student teacher.

                        That just seems so dumb to me, to have a willing crop of smart, proficient teachers, but turn them down because of some bureaucratic hoop they didn't jump through. The people at the Texas Education Agency literally laughed at me, saying there were plenty of people with my education and background but we don't deserve to teach in Texas public schools without their certification. And where do Texas public schools rank on the nationwide list? Somewhere in the bottom half.

                        Washington state was a little nicer, but had the same answer: no certification, no classroom teaching. But would I like to sign up for the waiting list to teach community college? There are only a few hundred in front of me.

                        I wonder if I could brave the winters in Milwaukee. Except for my time in Seattle, I have been living in the South for most of my life.

                        Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

                        by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:04:35 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  hmm. (0+ / 0-)

                          I made this comment somewhere else in this thread, so please forgive me for repeating myself.  You may be perfectly suited to teach K-12 after college teaching experience.  Not everyone is, and I'm sure that's why they have those programs in place - there are a lot of differences which may or may not come naturally.  I hope things work out for you and you find the right program.

                          As far was winter? It can be rough :-) I'm from Seattle originally, and I was only marginally prepared for having 2 solid weeks where it doesn't rise above zero.   It is entertainingly bracing, though, and has a certain novelty value for the first few years.

                •  I don't think reenactor (11+ / 0-)

                  means education degrees do the trick, but at the university level top teachers frequently have to teach themselves how to teach.  But most universities now have plenty of assistance for those who find it difficult to teach themselves how to teach.  That aspect of university-level instruction has improved tremendously in the base 25 years.

                  •  should be past 25 yrs (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Alden, kyril

                    Too early in the morning!

                  •  yep. (7+ / 0-)

                      If a degree fails someone, it does not follow that degrees are useless.  If someone by happenstance is a good teacher without a degree, it does not signify that this instance will be a rule for everyone.  I'm thinking that FishOutOfWater is confused on these points.

                  •  very helpful when I was a grad TA (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Heart of the Rockies, B Unis

                    I was grateful for having at least a few classroom technique classes before the first day of teaching in grad school. I don't doubt there's a lot of jargon and pet philosophies that make their way into certification tests, but I would think that anyone serious about teaching would be able to jump those hoops.

                    My concern with the troops to teachers is more PTSD related...

                    If it's too big to fail, it's too big to exist.

                    by musicsleuth on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:30:22 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Hoping you're not saying that PTSD (0+ / 0-)

                      should be a disqualification for employment?  I say this as someone with PTSD, and I'm not sure that mine even comes from my military service, though I suppose if I ever wanted VA benefits I should never, ever even think that thought.

                      Could you please expand on what you mean about concerns with teachers having PTSD?

                  •  Should be required for all (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    B Unis

                    From TA-ships to the most prestigious professorships, EVERY person teaching in a University should have to complete a one-semester course on teaching.

                    By relegating such instruction to the category of "if you find it difficult to teach yourself to teach," an institution puts an automatic stigma on the workshop.

                    The reality is that egos are often so big and fragile in the university environment that the people who need such instruction the most will generally be the last to seek it.

                    Besides, it's not realistic to expect people teaching something like a hard science to have the insight into human learning even to recognize what such a course would be about, much less to self-teach the fundamentals on their own.  And even if everybody DID successfully self-teach themselves the rudiments of effective teaching (after years of learning from some of the WORST teachers), that's pretty nearly the most INefficient route to universal competence that could be devised.

                    Hey, Wolf. DailyKos is the Best Political Team on the planet.

                    by Alden on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:31:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Taught a hard science (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Alden, kyril, B Unis

                      for decades in a major university.  We had a culture that respected teaching.  I can think of only a few faculty members in this large department who weren't outstanding teachers and they were not respected for that, even if their research program was admired.  I think most of them figured it out themselves how to teach.  Efficient or not, it worked.  I came to the university having had experience years before teaching at the secondary level, so I did start out with more background.  This simply made it easier for me.  I didn't end up being any better than my colleagues.

                •  Wish I could give you multiple recs. (9+ / 0-)

                  New Hampshire private school is a pretty stratospheric place to get an education, though.

                  Put Lederer (and I dearly love him) in a classroom with 40 seventh graders in urban Baltimore and the picture would likely change. Certification probably wouldn't necessarily make the difference, though.

                  I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

                  by leolabeth on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:55:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, but (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pollyusa, kyril

                    having to control and teach 18 yr olds might.

                    Which is what a drill sergeant has to do. Now, he certainly has more power over them than your normal HS teacher does. But he also knows procedure, chain of command, and how to work within a system.

                    Remember too - the military also has schools. They teach some very technical skills. They also teach social skills, interpersonal relations, management, leadership.

                    Most recruits spend anywhere from 2 mos to 2 YEARS in school, almost all of which is taught by MILITARY instructors. Many of them have advanced degrees, and teaching experience.

                    Do they need some training to acquaint them with the differences in the rules? Sure. Do they need some time in a classroom with an experienced teacher in that school? Sure. Should they be certified? Sure. But they don't necessarily need ALL the same classes that someone with absolutely NO experience would.

                  •  College profs don't worry about classroom manage- (4+ / 0-)


                    There is a world of difference between teaching a bunch of high school kids who could give two shits about anything, and teaching college kids who have chosen a particular class and are paying for it.

                    Most of my profs were PhD's and mostly they did a good job. There were a few clunkers.

                    As a former teacher, I'm insulted by McCain's cavalier attitude toward certification. I worked very hard, and the state praxis exam was a killer.

                    I mean you can't just make stuff up. - Barack Obama

                    by Trim Your Bush on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:52:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  those same high school 18 yr olds (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      are the same college freshmen forced to take gen eds they didn't "choose"

                      remember to use positive affirmations. "i am not a dork" is not one of them

                      by Altoid77 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:15:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  ...and if you've ever wondered... (0+ / 0-)

                        what a difference a few months of child development, let alone a year, make, teach h.s. sophomores and juniors. There's a reason the word sophomoric means what it does.

                        Those college freshmen are galaxies away from their h.s. senior brethren, especially in their ability to peacefully tolerate another's "choice."

                        I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

                        by leolabeth on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:33:38 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  i've worked with kids from 3rd grade through (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          leolabeth, kyril

                          college level -- and no, the "transformative" three months between graduation and freshmen fall semester is not as significant as you'd like it to be.

                          remember to use positive affirmations. "i am not a dork" is not one of them

                          by Altoid77 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:35:55 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  The fact they (or somebody) is paying (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      for their education means nothing.  If it did, they would behave better in class, and they wouldn't be looking for a "party school."

                •  Sorry (11+ / 0-)

                  The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."  

                  Just because you can cite an exceptional experience with a teacher who you can deduce a general rule about the value of certification.

                  In addition, since you have advanced degrees, you were doubtless an exceptional student.  But teachers have to know what students are developmentally ready to learn, what techniques work in the classroom for all students, and how to motivate students to be learners, among many other things.

                  Citing a few examples of teachers you particularly liked does not reveal how effective they were with other students, nor does it constitute "evidence" against certification.

                  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke

                  by mathGuyNTulsa on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:00:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Always trust the data n/t (0+ / 0-)
                  •  I gave personal evidence to make a point (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pletzs, pollyusa, Alden, kyril

                    Private schools that provide students with extraordinary educations have followed a different model than the public school model for finding and training the best teachers.

                    New England private schools such as Choate, Andover and Exeter do very well compared to public schools when you look at the data.

                    I am not suggesting we follow McCain's idiotic approach. I am suggesting that we need to look at new ways of finding and training good math and science teachers.

                    "It's the planet, stupid."

                    by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:52:22 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And OF COURSE, Andover draws from the same (5+ / 0-)

                      population as inner city schools. Obviously.

                      Your argument is is based on a silly premise.

                      •  So smart kids just teach themselves? (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        pollyusa, Alden, kyril

                        FYI Andover has students from the inner city.

                        Your argument is tangential.

                        "It's the planet, stupid."

                        by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:38:42 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  In some ways they do (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Alden, cville townie
                          You take a kid that out-of-the-womb has a 125 IQ, and just give that kid a book and some space in a classroom ... she'll do better than the 90-IQ kid getting instruction by a great teacher (who is splitting time teaching 20-30 other kids).  Even more so if the smart kid has a parent or two encouraging the kid to learn.
                        •  In other words, Andover skims the cream (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Alden, cville townie

                          from the inner city schools. Got it.

                          And of course, the parents who go through all the hoops to put their kids in Andover are the most involved parents who would be running the PTA and demanding good quality teaching in their local public school. They are also the ones who would be organizing fund raisers for their kids' schools and being good examples in their neighborhood of caring about education. Their kids know that they better do well in school, get plenty of exposure to books and educational experiences, and are made to do their homework each night.

                          This leaves the public school with all the parents that can't be bothered (or are too stressed and busy to give the time and energy) and all the kids who don't know enough to understand what they are giving up by not taking their education seriously because they lack peers and role models who do.  And so the educational environment deteriorates as more and more parents abandon the public schools to (understandably) save their own kids.

                          But, then the destruction of public schooling is precisely what is desired by the right wing, isn't it?

                          •  Sounds like it's the parents (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            who need an education from your description of the state of public schools.

                            and Andover doesn't just skim the cream from inner city schools. Andover and others get the kids who's parents made the effort to find alternatives.

                            These schools work with community groups all over the county to encourage inner city kids to attend independent schools.

                          •  That Andover is populated by kids whose parents (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            are involved and care about education is my point. Charters, vouchers, and private schools receive the benefit of parents who are involved, not just in the school, but in their children's lives and the larger world.

                            Involved parents are often the support network, role models, and alternative to hanging out on the street for many kids besides their own. But naturally, much of this effort is likely to be expended at the school that their child attends rather than at their neighborhood public school.

                            These parents could be leaders and organizers in their community and when they become disengaged from their neighborhood, it negatively affects the environment of the local public school.

                            Think of any organization. There are a small number of committed leaders who start and push actions, a largish group of people who are willing to do some of the work (at least sometimes and if asked) and a smallish group of apathetic or actively obstructionist members. Remove the leaders from that organization and what do you think will get done?

                          •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            and I said so with the point that it's the parents who are invested who are getting their kids into good schools.

                            but my other point was that the uninvolved parents need to learn how important their role is in the education of their children.

                          •  And how will they learn that? (0+ / 0-)

                            If the more involved parents are gone, they don't have people who will ask them to participate when their children enter school so they get the confidence and knowledge to advocate for their kids or the schools, or run the PTA bake sale. If  they don't have role models for parenting and involvement, how will they learn how to be leaders or even active followers? Do the teachers and administrators really have the time to teach the parents as well as the kids?

                          •  When parent perceive that their (0+ / 0-)

                            children are getting a quality education at the public school, they will keep their kids at public school rather than paying again for a private school.  As far as involved parents go, many schools, public and private, may say they want parent involvement, but consider involved parents a nuisance, especially if that parent is an educator and "in the know."   School authorities tend to be very condescending to parents.  

                        •  No way. Selection issues are THE major (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Alden, cville townie

                          difference between public and private schools.  Other things some private schools do that may be positive or innovative are secondary.  I'm not saying they should be dismissed, but clearly the biggest thing that leads to differential learning outcomes is control over who is admitted and who is allowed to remain enrolled.  Having that sort of control makes all the difference in setting a basic atmosphere in which an excellent, passionate teacher can flourish.  Probably the biggest problem public school teachers have faces over the past few decades is the erosion of authority and respect they weild.  Rigidity in the credentialing process is secondary.

                          McCain/Palin = Unstable/Unable

                          by DrFitz on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:43:32 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm particularly impressed with the Andover grads (0+ / 0-)

                      Like uh...

                      Oh, never mind.  Too obvious.

                      Hey, Wolf. DailyKos is the Best Political Team on the planet.

                      by Alden on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:33:48 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The old med-school maxim (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        churchylafemme, cville townie

                        There's an oft-repeated story about the dean of a medical school addressing the incoming class about competition.

                        You know, there's a word we use for the student who graduates at the bottom of the class.

                         It's "doctor."

                        Andover would only need to change one word.  "Doctor" to "President."

                        Hey, Wolf. DailyKos is the Best Political Team on the planet.

                        by Alden on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:55:31 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank God Obama named the parents (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kyril, DrFitz

                      Obama grazed only lightly against the biggest problem in public schools.  But I think it's the first time a Presidential candidate has gone there.

                      It's the parents stupid.

                      Or maybe it would be safer to put a commma in there.

                      It's the parents, stupid.

                      Hey, Wolf. DailyKos is the Best Political Team on the planet.

                      by Alden on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:36:09 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  As a trustee of a private school (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I serve on the Board of Trustees for an independent school and agree that independent schools can and do follow a different model.

                      My daughter's teachers were Harvard, Dartmouth, Middlebury, Brown... grads. Several are pursuing graduate work in education through a summer program at Columbia.  

                      Many of the teachers are certified, but are willing to earn less money to teach at an independent school for several reasons.

                      They have much greater freedom in how they structure curriculum and manage their classes, their children can attend the independent school at a low cost, and they feel a part of a community.  

                      My daughters attended 3 independent schools and both went to New England boarding schools in 9th grade.

                      The old term preparatory school still applies. These kids are prepared for college. There are about 4 mandatory study hours each day for freshman and 3 for upperclassman. The students usually start their day at 7AM on work crews and finish at 10PM at the end of mandatory study hours with classes, sports and activities filling the 6 day school week.

                      BTW both girls graduated cum laude with National AP Scholar honors while competing as elite athletes all over the county.

                      Note: these schools are incredibly diverse.

                •  We don't make college professors go to Ed school (9+ / 0-)

                  In general, my college and grad school professors were FAR better teachers than those I had in elementary and secondary school.

                  None of them had a single education course in their lives.  As is the case for most college professors.  Likewise, I encountered some terrific teachers at my local science museum and other non-school setting, who mostly did not have "education" backgrounds.

                  I'm not saying that there's nothing to learn.  I certainly benefited from experience as a teaching assistant, from advice from mentors, etc.  But I'm extremely skeptical that the current ed school curriculum is what's really needed.

                  •  by the time you got to college (13+ / 0-)

                    You already knew how to learn.  And you left your less-talented colleagues behind.  It's a different thing to teach kids, and not just some kids, but all the geniuses and all the needy kids in the same classroom.

                    •  The Troops to Teacher program (6+ / 0-)

                      took those with degrees, and often with experience teaching in a military setting, usually retiring from the military (not 20 yr olds), and gave them a path to certification. Most of the time, they did NOT teach at the elementary level - they were teaching JrHS/HS. And often, they taught the worst kids, because they were NOT scared of them and were mostly men, big strong men, who had seen guns, and war, and could out macho the kids.

                      In many cases, they'd already taught these types of kids in the Army. So they had some idea of what they would be dealing with.

                      And it was a VERY successful program.

                      •  Thanks for the information (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        churchylafemme, kyril, B Unis

                        When McCain brought it up, I had the feeling it was something that probably had some merit for limited individuals and in certain settings.  One thing my local school system found made a HUGE difference was the ability to separate disruptive students into a separate program.  It made things a thousand times better in the regular high schools.  These types of motivated retired military would probably be the perfect match for students who don't click with regular school environments and who need a strong figure to get through to them with experiences outside the culture traditional school systems, from which they feel alienated.

                        But McCain did make it seem like a broad program of major import to education as a whole, which kind of freaked me out that it may include young soldiers with not much education themselves.

                        McCain/Palin = Unstable/Unable

                        by DrFitz on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:52:41 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  troops to teacher is awesome. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kyril, B Unis

                        I don't see that that's what McCain was really talking about.  If he was, he did a terrible job of explaining it.

                    •  You did not necessarily leave your less (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      churchylafemme, kyril

                      talented colleagues behind.  Nearly all universities are remediating math and English.  Some report that significantly more than half of the students need remediation in math and/or English.

                      •  universities don't accept everyone. (0+ / 0-)

                        The colleges that accept the bottom quarter of a graduating class are very different than the ones accepting only the top 10 (or indeed 5) percent.  I'm not sure why you're ignoring that aspect of reality, unless it's just to state that there are remedial classes in many colleges.  There is also the point that there are kids in public school who will never go to a four year college (that's 58%, more than half).

                        •  One university that I know very well (0+ / 0-)

                          is considered one of the most selective in the state, but it one where more than half of the students need remedial math.  The math department says 65%.  So very roughly, and making the possible untrue assumption that the 58% who will never go to college would need remediation, then that 58% plus the half of the 42% who do go to college gives an estimate that some 79% of US students would need remediation.

                          Nearly every college has programs to get more students into college.  In a sense the success of these programs can be measured by the growth of college remediation programs.

                  •  Most college professors cut their teaching teeth (4+ / 0-)

                    as grad students, teaching assistants, homework assistance.  Its still qualifies as learning how to teach.  Also, most graduate programs now require a course in instruction.

                    For K-12, learning how to create lesson plans, classroom management, and understanding the latest education theory is just as important as learning the finer points in any other industry.

                    Clearly there are exceptional teachers in every walk of life who have perfected the skill of teaching through life experience and an interest in doing so.  I had a wonderful Boy Scout leader and a great swim coach where this was certainly the case, and some of my best bosses have been skilled instructors.

                    The entire point many are attempting to make here is that there is a traditional path to becoming an educator, and other paths should be scrutinized to ensure we get people who are fully qualified to be teachers.  McCain's statements regarding the programs he cited show he has a clear lack of understanding about education in general and these programs in specific.

                    "If the good Lord had intended for us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates." - Willy Wonka

                    by RethinkEverything on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:30:41 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  In most colleges and universities there (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    B Unis

                    are a lot of complaints about the quality of teaching.  It is often easier to overlook crappy teaching because great research is more respected in a university setting.

                    Maybe you lucked out ... or maybe you are just not recalling the classes where you were mystified and had to figure it out by talking to a teaching assistant, or a peer, or from the textbook. At any rate, in college you are responsible for your own learning and have the option to change majors, repeat a class (preferably with a different professor), or drop out. Part of being a good student is knowing what to do to, at least, make it through the final.

                •  I. Agree. Not. True. (5+ / 0-)

                  The problem isn't the vast "educator defense complex" but the sheer intensity demanded of teachers and relatively low compensation for such work.  If we treated it as a profession akin to medicine, engineering, or law, more people would show greater commitment to the field.  There are many ways to become a good teacher, education programs represent one path, and certainly commitment and outstanding ability in a K-12 subject coupled with "on the job training" is another.  I personally wonder about entrusting a classroom of kids to someone  without certification, but maybe that's my belief that professionalization is a good path for success.  

                  I'd also draw a clear distinction between teaching in a college/university setting and K-12 (public or private).  Post-secondary education places a much greater burden on students to take charge of their learning.  The emphasis on advanced concepts and skills also diminishes the importance of style and method over depth and sophistication of knowledge. Differences in contact hours also highlight these points; a full load for most profs would range from 3-12 hours a week.  (No offense intended to teachers, btw, I salute every teacher's amazing dedication to their students day in, day out.)

                  •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    FishOutofWater, kyril

                    Too early in the am for more, but Wilmguy has it exactly.  Personally, I'm grateful to the K-12 teachers.

                    "We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community." - Dorothy Day

                    by MemphisProfessor on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:18:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I may be misreading this, but... (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't think people slack off due to lack of pay.  It's a given going into this profession that your first year (some places, first several years) you'll make less than the average video store manager.  That said, it's seriously stupid that I have to put up with a standard of living so low just because I fell in love with this particular career.  I do get mad about it.

                •  Brilliant people are by definition exceptional (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  concernedamerican, B Unis

                  And exceptional people are by definition the exceptions, not the rules.

                  Certainly there are people born with the skill or at least the right instincts to communicate brilliantly.  But average people thrown into a teaching situation flounder.  You can't run a school, a business, a government, or a society by relying on brilliance.  The truly brilliant organization is one based on getting good results from average people.  Because the bigger an organization gets, the more it is certain that most of the people working in it will be average.

                  I have a lot of experience teaching adults, none teaching children of any age.  I know enough to know that my good intentions do not in any respect prepare me to go into a children's classroom.  I know enough to recognize what I don't know.

                  In the subjects I've taught, I've been told I teach them (to adults) exceptionally well.  But that didn't happen overnight.  It took a lot of effort and practice thinking not only about the content but specifically about how to lead various types of people to interest and understanding and confidence and competence about it.  You need to understand your students at least as well as you understand your subject.  You need to understand what's important to know and to be able to do with your subject.

                  I don't have an ed degree, but I do know something about theories of learning and I've worked a lot around instructional designers.  Some of them I respect, others I don't.  But I do respect what it is they study, even if I don't always respect their individual attitudes or practice of their own field.

                  I don't know whether our education departments create excellent or even adequate teachers.  Sometimes a discipline becomes so full of itself that it loses touch with the basic realities that matter the most.  Maybe that's a problem in Education.  Maybe not.  I don't know.

                  I do know that for every natural teacher you encounter in a university setting, there are a dozen who don't have a clue how impart their knowledge effectively. In some cases they're too arrogant to consider they'd have something to learn about teaching as a discipline in its own right.  I do know that although the people teaching in academia are often smarter and dealing with much more interesting material than those in corporate training, the ones in corporate training are often much better teachers.  (And I've taught in both environments, thank you very much.)  I know that each environment has very little respect for the other.

                  The notion that boot camp and a few tours of duty in a war zone prepare people to light the fire of learning in children's brains is simply ridiculous.  It illustrates how little understand McCain has of this and many other problems we face.

                  In fact, there's a lot that soldiers pick up in those environments that may be useful in becoming a good soldier but puts them on the road to being BAD teachers.  Such a preparation for the classroom is NOT good for the children OR the returning vets.

                  And by the way, Lederer DID apparently have some education in how to teach at the time he could have been your teacher.

                  Hey, Wolf. DailyKos is the Best Political Team on the planet.

                  by Alden on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:21:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Troops to Teachers (5+ / 0-)

                does require a degree Link  I didn't realize that every teacher has the attributes that you describe, so I guess that my BS in Mechanical Engineering with minor in Physics precludes me from teaching 6th grade math because I didn't take any primary education classes?

                •  the point is (10+ / 0-)

                  have you ever been around kids?  lots of 'em?  like, been outnumbered by them 20:1?  it's a !@#$%& skillset, mang.  

                  and really; what would 6th graders need of physics and engineering?  even the whizziest of whiz kids i knew didn't take even algebra until 7th grade.

                  "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                  by Cedwyn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:08:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What about high school physics? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cville townie, kyril

                    Should we require teachers of high school physics get the education needed to teach third graders?

                    FWIW, I have said repeatedly that classroom management skills are important.

                    "It's the planet, stupid."

                    by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:56:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Most states have different licensures (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      in MN there is a preschool/kindergarten license, one for primary (1-6) ed, and one for secondary (7-12) ed.  In addition to lesson planning and classroom management skills, it is vital to understand the abilities and needs of the age group you are instructing.

                      "If the good Lord had intended for us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates." - Willy Wonka

                      by RethinkEverything on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:33:37 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  no, but they should be required to have the (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      cville townie

                      education needed to teach high schoolers!

                      my senior year is HS, the physics teacher got married and moved away. the class was given to a prior math tutor not certified in physics. there were 9 of us in the class.

                      the first day, he told us "i'm learning as you learn." the class was scheduled to have lab every other day. we never had a lab first semester, but played Skipbo and used it as a study hall.

                      i dropped the class at semester after asking him a question to which he responded: "you're getting the answers right, but you're adding the vectors backwards or something. but i don't know enough about physics to tell you what you're doing wrong."

                      #$%^&*!! dropping the class, btw, resulted in me being 1/4 of a core credit from salutatorian and 3/4 of a core credit from being valedictorian -- even though i had more total credits and the highest (significantly) ACT score. ("oh, but you'll still be ranked #1 in your class on your transcript.")

                      remember to use positive affirmations. "i am not a dork" is not one of them

                      by Altoid77 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:30:23 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I didn't say (0+ / 0-)

                    that 6th graders needed classes in engineering or physice. Stop reading into what I say, or actually read it.

                    Point was that the Troops to Teachers does require certifications, just not all of the education classes.

                    To answer, yes I have spent time with kids.

                    Most teachers I've met were caring and insightfull, but not all.  

                    •  okay, i misread that earlier (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      but yes; in a very real sense, it would preclude you.  teaching math at a 6th grade level is not your mathematical comfort zone.  you're used to differential equations and stuff.  to drop down to teaching 6th-grade would be a quantum leap.

                      and i'm sorry, but math teachers, above any and all others, bloody well need to be experts in how to teach!  i mean, if your history teacher's kinda flaky or your english teacher is a bit of a dolt, who cares, right?  but if your math or science teacher can't reach students and tech effectively, those students are screwed.

                      "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                      by Cedwyn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:04:52 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thinking (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        about it that way, I'd agree.


                        •  not that you'd even be (0+ / 0-)

                          completely precluded from teaching, either.  the point was just that without training in education, yes; teaching 6th grade math would be pretty difficult for someone used to really hard core math.

                          funny story:  i took calculus in high school and then was taking college core classes, math is your friend type stuff.  so the homework was to find the vertices of some parabola or something.  and for the life of me, i couldn't do it without taking the first derivative.  i had skipped class that day and i guess it was something the textbook didn't think was necessary, but the prof threw in to the lecture and was on our homework.  i had to go ask the hall bimbo in my class how to do it!  LOL

                          "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                          by Cedwyn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:55:03 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  The issue with science and math is (0+ / 0-)

                    that since they're cumulative disciplines, as a rule of thumb, teaching a given level of science or math effectively requires a thorough understanding of the level of the discipline above the level at which you're teaching, and the way to prove your understanding and competence at that level is to succeed at the level beyond that. (This breaks down somewhat at the graduate level where the progression becomes less linear, but it's a good rule of thumb at the lower levels).

                    High school students have no particular need of an in-depth understanding of multivariable calculus, but a good teacher of high school math will have this understanding, demonstrated by successfully completing a bachelor's degree in math which requires completion of courses like real and complex analysis.

                    Community college students taking introductory calculus don't need to know real analysis or abstract algebra, but their professors will understand it, and must demonstrate that understanding by obtaining a master's degree in math; freshmen and sophomores at four-year colleges get instruction from (at a minimum) TAs studying graduate-level math successfully.

                    Upper-level undergraduates don't need master's-level math or science yet, but their professors have Ph.Ds in the field.

                    And elementary and middle-level math and science students don't need high-school-level math or science yet, but their teachers should have a thorough understanding of the subject matter - an understanding which can only be demonstrated through success in the field at the freshman and sophomore undergraduate level.

                    But we don't require this at the moment. We ask elementary education majors to complete high-school math (or equivalent remedial courses, which many take) and then "math for elementary teachers" which teaches pedagocical techniques using math at the elementary level. And then we're surprised when we see students coming into our high schools with an inadequate understanding of math and science concepts, math anxiety, and a need for remedial courses.

                    Am I saying that just any engineer or physicist is qualified to teach math or science to elementary students? Certainly not. Pedagogical techniques are particularly important when dealing with younger children. On the other hand, the engineer or physicist has the subject matter background to do it, while an elementary education graduate often does not.

                    We need to insist that future elementary teachers take (at a minimum) the same freshman-level college courses that majors take in the subjects that they will teach at the elementary level - something tehy already do in the much less cumulative disciplines like English and history. We need to ask for one year of calculus, biology, and one of the physical sciences.

                    And given that we don't currently have enough elementary educators who meet this standard - and it should be a universal standard - it would be very helpful to arrange for people like Reformedrep who currently have degrees in the listed subjects to get some form of alternative certification reasonably easily so that we can put them in classrooms as math and science specialists at the elementary level. It is not absolutely necessary that elementary students be taught all subjects by the same teacher; we already have specialists in music, art, and physical education.

                    During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

                    by kyril on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 01:49:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i hear what you're saying (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      and it's an excellent point - that someone needs to understand a subject several levels deeper than what they teach.  but i don't see how someone would need to grasp trigonometry or calculus to teach elementary math, which i don't think goes beyond pre-algebra.  certainly mastery of, say algebra II makes sense as a requirement.  get reformedrep teaching high school math and calculus?  absolutely!

                      and i also agree with you that elementary schools should have specialty teachers for math and sciences.  absolutely.

                      "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                      by Cedwyn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:59:50 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thanks :) (0+ / 0-)

                        What I'm trying to say is, in essence, that they don't need to understand calculus to teach elementary math, but they do need to understand algebra and geometry. And the way that one demonstrates an understanding of algebra and geometry (rather than simply the ability to pass the classes, which requires only the ability to apply procedures as taught) is to pass trigonometry and calculus.

                        During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

                        by kyril on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:49:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  nah (0+ / 0-)

                          i see geometry and trig, and even calculus, as bearing very little resemblance to pre-algebra/algebra.  imo, all geometry is is using the tools of algebra to run off and play with shapes.  all well and good, but the important part is the ability to identify variables and understand the relationships needed to obtain the answer.  geometry is a fun little side project, but not integral to these mathematical foundations.

                          and i just don't see that you need a mastery of angle relationships (geometry), or planar relationships (trig) or even super complex problem solving (calculus) to master the principles of equation solving integral to algebra and all the math leading up to it.  

                          but i could just be biased because i hated both geometry and trig with a passion, but excelled at algebra.  suffered through calculus as a high school senior with a C, but got an A- with almost no effort in "calculus is your friend" at college.  hahaha.

                          math is wacky stuff!

                          "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                          by Cedwyn on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 07:41:13 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It is (0+ / 0-)

                            and I hate geometry and trig  too. With a passion. I have an NVLD and struggle mightily with any field of math/science that's primarily visual, but I love manipulating equations and doing algebraic proofs.

                            But you do need a solid understanding of high-school math to teach pre-high-school math effectively, because you need to know what the kids will need to know in order to succeed at the next level, and the only way to really know that is to have a really strong understanding of what the next level requires. And the only way to demonstrate that you have such an understanding is to succeed at the level beyond that.

                            Calculus may not be algebra, but you can't pass calculus if you don't "get" algebra. You can certainly pass algebra - several years of it - simply by learning certain techniques and applying them when you're asked to - but calculus requires that you really know those techniques and be able to judge for yourself when they're applicable, which requires an understanding of what they do and what the results of them really mean.

                            Someone who's taken calculus has a very different perspective when teaching fractions to fourth-graders than someone who's only really experienced math through algebra 2. They'll understand that the skills for manipulating fractions really truly do need to be learned, and that kids who take shortcuts and change everything to decimals and do it all on their calculators are severely shortchanging themselves and will be utterly lost in a few years when they have to deal with fractions involving variables.

                            The teacher who's only been through algebra will only have dealt with variable-fractions in isolation, near the end of their math sequence, and probably still views them as something difficult and not particularly useful - because they're not, in isolation. But a few courses in trig, calculus, and calculus-based physics will change their whole perspective.

                            During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

                            by kyril on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 10:22:50 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well, and this is where it all just gets weird (0+ / 0-)

                            and stereotypical and stuff.  my sister was NOT a good student and math was her worst.  she worked her ass off for a C in algebra, which i took in 8th grade.

                            she is now a teacher, fully accredited and master degreed in all the "edubabble" stuff and she is a damn good teacher.  damn good.  but she would never be able to teach math by those standards.  of course, she teaches kindergarten, but the point remains:  we shouldn't discourage those who are great teachers by demanding so much higher math of them.

                            and it begs all kinds of crazy questions, namely, how important is subject matter expertise vs. really teaching well?  and by "teaching well," i mean teaching children how to learn.  imo, * that * is what early education and teaching are all about.  teach kids how to learn, inspire their curiosity, keep them motivated - that's what matters.  and if done well, it will enable them to study and learn anything.

                            and again, math is so complex; understanding it well oneself doesn't mean one will be able to explain it effectively.  

                            "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                            by Cedwyn on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 11:45:21 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Teaching kids how to learn (0+ / 0-)

                            is an important part of teaching, I agree. But it's not the only part. Knowing how to learn math does not equal learning math. And because math builds on itself so much, there's just not time, when a kid finds him/herself in trig, to go back and figure out all the rules of fractions, even if that kid is very, very good at learning math.

                            I pick on fractions in particular because they are the sticky point for students struggling to adapt to college level math - but they're taught in the fourth and fifth grades. The roots of college students' math problems really do go that deep. Fourth- and fifth-grade arithmetic problems are the reason why millions of students across the country end up in remedial college math eight or nine years later.

                            I'll agree that you don't need to know much math to be a kindergarten or first-grade teacher. Counting, addition and subtraction, and general number sense are straightforward and most everyone - certainly everyone who's made it through a teacher training program - knows what they are, why they're taught, and what kids need to know about them. Multiplication and long division in the second and third grades aren't much different.

                            But when you get into fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade math, you're dealing with much more complex concepts like fractions and square roots - things that aren't obvious and that most people don't think about in the way they need to be thought about to do well in later math classes. And that's where you've got to have a teacher who understands not only the everyday, "pieces of a pie" or "marks on a ruler" concept of fractions, but also the fraction-as-operator, fraction-as-division, fraction-as-number concepts and can communicate them to kids.

                            This is a big deal to me in part because Mr. kyril is now in college. He just finished the remedial algebra sequence with flying colours, and is now struggling with trigonometry. You know why? Fractions and square roots and combinations thereof, rationalizing denominators and giving answers in exact form. Elementary-school math. Not the visual-spatial aspect of trig that I struggle with, but basic skills needed to understand that 1 over the square root of two is the same as the square root of two over two, or the rules for multiplying, dividing, and adding fractions, or the fact that (the square root of x) squared is x.

                            His immediate reaction on seeing a fraction or a square root or pi is to turn it into a decimal. That's a skill that almost nobody leaves elementary school without, because it's a good skill for everyday life. But it's completely counterproductive in trigonometry. And like I said, he's struggling. Because of elementary school math. And he's the rule, not the exception; sophomore-level engineering students in my differential equations class still have the same bad habits he does. The difference is that they all now realize they're bad habits, and understand what was wrong with the way they learned math in elementary school.

                            I will agree with you 100% that subject matter expertise doesn't equal the ability to explain the material effectively. But the two are not mutually exclusive. You can learn to be a good teacher and take the freshman calculus-for-scientists-and-engineers sequence. And I really, truly don't think that's too much to ask of someone who would teach the foundations of that sequence in the fourth through sixth grades.

                            I do understand that not every kid who passes through every teacher's fourth-grade math class will end up taking calculus. But the issue is that at that age, you can't tell which ones won't. It's pretty easy to identify the math-gifted kids who will, but not every future engineer or scientist presents with a math gift at the fourth-grade level. I sure didn't. But between my school and my math-teacher mother, I learned enough math and I learned to think about math concepts in such a way that I would not be handicapped later if I chose that path. That's the goal we should have for math in the upper elementary levels: make sure that no kid leaves the school with misconceptions and bad habits that will handicap them later. And the only way to do that is to provide upper-elementary teachers who know enough about "later" to understand.

                            During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

                            by kyril on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 01:32:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i am not familiar with this decimal thing (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            what's the dealio?  kids are refusing to think in fractions now and are at a point where the idea of ratios is foreign to them because of this dependence on translating to decimal?

                            "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                            by Cedwyn on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 09:34:01 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Essentially, yes. (0+ / 0-)

                            Advanced arithmetic and pre-algebra classes in elementary and middle school have essentially all accepted calculators. That, in and of itself, may not necessarily be a bad thing, because it does allow kids to continue to advance in math even if for whatever reason they haven't quite mastered the times tables. I don't think that a lack of rote memorization ability at an early age should hold kids back, since there is almost no rote memorization required in math past the beginning arithmetic level.

                            However, once kids learn that their calculators can convert fractions or square roots to decimals, they have an easy shortcut around actually learning to work with the things, so long as only numbers are involved. Teachers who aren't aware of the need for kids to truly master the fraction rules are lax on the requirement to show work and often accept rounded decimals as final answers; some kids are never even asked to give their answers in "exact form" until they meet trigonometry in college.

                            On a related note, one lesson they often learn all too well is the "improperness" of "improper fractions." While it's of course important to be able to report fractions greater than one as a mixed number when communicating things like measurements, it is a royal pain to actually work with them when solving a problem. Which is another reason why students prefer to work with decimals.

                            The students I've tutored in the remedial math courses here at community college practically have heart attacks when the back of the book provides the solution to a problem as "13/7". And they (along with poor Mr. kyril) literally have no idea what they did wrong when their instructors mark their test answers wrong and circle the phrase "exact form" in the question. Quite a lot of un-learning of old habits is necessary before they can progress.

                            During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

                            by kyril on Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 03:35:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  fascinating (0+ / 0-)

                            why would anyone even posit that a calculator is necessary before 6th grade?  absurd!

                            as to the rest of it, i can definitely say that as an adult, i abhor fractions.

                            "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                            by Cedwyn on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 04:03:11 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Well, yes, (7+ / 0-)

                  at least in my book.  Just a degree in the subject matter doesn't mean that you have the pedagogical background to actually deliver that information in a way that young adolescents can process it and remember it.  And let's not forget that teaching really isn't just about teaching facts to kids; a huge part of it is understanding the developmental stages children are encountering and figuring out what activities are most appropriate for their brain and body development.  A general degree-holder will not have that background.

                  And isn't there something in that pesky law, um, let me see. . .what was it. . .Leave No Child a Dime that says something about teachers being "highly qualified"?

                •  I know that. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Heiuan, RethinkEverything

                  That's not what the gentleman above was talking about.  As far as your second point, it may be that you're a natural teacher.  But many aren't, and would benefit from learning how to teach.

                •  All you need to know is MechE & Phyics? Really? (0+ / 0-)

                  If you think that's all you need to know to teach 6th grade math effectively, you're illustrating the problem.

                  It's not about the subject matter.  It's about how people learn things.

                  Think of it as learning how to program a computer to solve mech-e and physics problems.  Only more complicated.  And using some opposite principles.

                  Hey, Wolf. DailyKos is the Best Political Team on the planet.

                  by Alden on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:41:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  If you don't understand the children you are (0+ / 0-)

                  teaching, you won't teach effectively and might do more harm than good.  As a lawyer who has spent a lot of time volunteering at my son's elementary school, I say this with great confidence.  Einstein would not necessarily have been a good 6th grade science teacher.  So yes, it is absolutely necessary to have a background in education as well as in the subject matter you are teaching.

                  "...we all of us, grave or light, get our thoughts entangled in metaphors, and act fatally on the strength of them."

                  by beagledad on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:28:44 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Just checked that link... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... dangit... I was discharged far too long ago to qualify.  But thanks for bringing facts to the party. ;)

              •  Big Problem Though (7+ / 0-)

                Education departments at universities haven't always been noted for the quality of their research. Styles have gone in and out of fashion with anecdotes as substitutes for data and confusion about the role of the school in society.

                One room schools worked well a century ago. No one thinks that the students have become more stupid, yet we have more students who have spent years in school who have failed to develop literacy and numeracy than we had a century ago. Some of those problems can be laid at the foot of society, but not all of them.

                Politics has become inextricably mixed with education. We have people who think that it is more important to mix ability levels to meet some ideal than to track students. We have people who are obsessed with teaching reading in a particular manner, who cannot fathom that every good reading teacher is pragmatic in their approach -- changing to meet the need of the child, not trying to find the magic way to teach that works for everyone, because we already know that different students learn best in differing ways.

                Let's not forget that home schooling works for the vast majority of children who are homeschooled. What do they have in common? Private tutoring. Give me any ten kids and ten folks who are competent tutors, certification or not, and I can make certain that they have a good education. It's not that hard. The hard part is getting children a good education in a classroom with other children, with disruptions, distractions, boredom, foolishness, silliness, and the rest of the problems with a classroom.

                •  Really? Strange. As late as the 1910 (0+ / 0-)

                  only about 10% of Americans graduated from high school. You consider that working well? It was a pretty elite group that learned a lot of Latin and Greek in preparation for a classical collegiate education. See:

                  America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century, Claudia Goldin
                  The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 58, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 345-374  (sorry no link)

                  There was a rapid increase in high school attendance over the 20s, 30s and 40s that helped to fuel our economy. America was also earlier than most other countries (even in Europe) to extend secondary schooling to the entire population. The above article mentions that when FDR was signing the GI Bill, Churchill was signing a bill that guaranteed secondary schooling to everyone.

                  •  But (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pletzs, kyril

                    The kids who graduated from eighth grade were overwhelmingly literate and numerate whether they went to a one room school or an overcrowded city school with 40 or more kids in a classroom.

                    No, there weren't a lot of kids who thought they needed high school, including my grandfather who dropped out after a couple of weeks because they "wouldn't let him learn what he wanted to learn." Still, he continued to learn his entire life. The decision not to finish high school was rarely a result of being unable to handle the classes, it was much more of an economic decision. Most farmers and laborers didn't see much value in high schools and really couldn't imagine going to college back then, not even the fairly reasonable land-grant schools.

                    •  My dad only finished 8th grade, and while (0+ / 0-)

                      he was a smart guy, I wouldn't say he was "overwhelmingly literate and numerate". But this is another example of why anecdote is not data. If you want data, you might look at national and international measures of literacy and note that literacy rates are lower in older Americans and are better in younger generations, suggesting that the amount or quality of schooling received (augmented by life experiences) by older generations might not have been as great as you suggest.*

                      * Yes, I know that there could be many reasons--including immigration and leaving school for the factory before graduation--for the relatively low scores by older people, but the fact remains that they are lower which must be explained before you posit a golden age of education in the one room schoolhouse.

              •  In the day and age of NCLB (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FishOutofWater, kyril

                how in the world do you have time to

                take the body of human knowledge, determine the most important parts for kids to know, determine how to make it salient to your audience, and figure out in course of a quarter to several years how to get it to stick in the minds of your students while igniting their curiosity to learn more.

                You don't.

                And the school districts I am familiar with have all the teachers in the same content area of a grade teach the same things at the same time. That way, all the kids are ready for the tests at the same time.

                It's hard to use innovative teaching techniques for your individual students when you have to keep on the same pace for both over-achievers and under-achievers in the same classroom.

                Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

                by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:06:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  thanks for explaining my profession to me. (0+ / 0-)

                   Maybe I'll just stop.  Or, maybe I'll do what I continue to do (fairly effectively, in my opinion).

                   Just because I think it's hard to build rockets doesn't mean there's not someone out there trained to do exactly that.  And they work really hard to prepare us to work with kids at all levels at once.  It's not easy, and it takes a lot of my days and evenings to figure out how to do it well.

                   Yep, standardization of curriculum can suck.  It's still possible to make connections that are illuminating, though.  It's not necessary to teach to the test to the point where you can't get other things in.  The preparation for the test can be the framework for higher-order thinking.  And studies show that if you approach it this way, kids learn better than if they just try to memorize shit.

              •  While I don't think all ed theories are crap... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ... on an anecdotal basis it does seem to me that the teachers who are very good tend to avoid edubabble, while those who seem incompetent try hard to mask their cluelessness in the classroom by using as much of it as possible.  I assume this is done to prevent dialogue and real discussion of the practical problems in their classrooms.

                I don't think Ed. training actively hurts anyone.  But I'm not sure its benefits are hugely greater than its costs.  

                Then again, those teachers who speak English to concerned and actively involved parents, are probably understanding more and using more of what they learned in their Ed. courses than those who use the lingo as a defensive shield from real conversations and problem solving?

                I certainly have learned over the years that my own concerns about the bad teachers I ran into during my own school years were overblown, and that traditionally trained teachers in my daughters' schools are doing fine work, for the most part, and can be coaxed to do even better, when the approach is a collaborative one between teacher, student, administration and parents.

                •  people hide behind terminology. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kyril, B Unis

                  That doesn't mean the terminology is bad or wrong. It's just a lot easier to work with a concept you use all the time if you have a convenient label for it.

                  That said, I abandon that crap when I talk to parents because I, actually, you know, want to talk to them.  Someone that can't pare that crap out of their speech when talking to a parent probably can't for little Johnny either, so point well taken.

            •  Are you saying... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Void Indigo, miss SPED

              ... that you want a practical curriculum?

              Both political parties reject that.  Every kid has to go to college, according to their thinking.

              I'm a special ed teacher at a HS.  We can't find classes for kids to take.  The State requires 4 years of English, 4 years of math, 3 of science, another 3 in social studies, 1 year of foreign language, 1 year of phys ed.  How many hours are there in a school day?

              Practicality is passe.

              "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

              by gsbadj on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:37:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Not just degrees in subject areas... (8+ / 0-)

              excellence. I agree that there are plenty of barely educated certified teachers. Attend any "Teachers Workshop" and you'll see them in the audience and presenting material.

              Schools of Ed were typically where the second-best went. That started to change 20 years ago when schools like Stanford began offering fifth-year programs to teach classroom techniques to those who excelled in their subjects. More work along these lines is critical.

              Testing, rather than certification is my preference. The NTE is easy enough that a smart high school senior can get in the 90th percentile. That has to change.

              Almost all bets are off now, however. Teaching is about to undergo a revolution and we're in part responsible. We herald the coming change by doing what we do every day here in the Intertubes.

              The world of teaching, in part because of demography, in part because of the crumbling economy has changed and will continue to change. I, a certified teacher in English, Dance, Phys. Ed, and a few credits shy of a Social Studies credential, have been looking for a teaching job since April and just got an interview for a h.s. ed tech position. It'll be the first interview I've had. I'm oldish 49, and have a dozen years good experience, ergo I'm on the expensive side as a teacher. As an ed tech, I'm probably affordable. We'll see.  

              I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

              by leolabeth on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:51:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  There have always been provisional certificates (7+ / 0-)

              in areas with difficulty in recruiting teachers.

              I do agree with you on the edubabble, but if there's a problem with certification (which there certainly is), then fix the problem don't do away with certification.  Teaching is like parenting--people seem to think it comes naturally and requires no training.  Wrong.  Although some have a natural talent for both, training and practice improve performance.

              •  If you've watched parents in unguarded moments (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Heart of the Rockies, mmacdDE

                It doesn't take long to tell the difference between a good parent and an inferior one, Not all good parents have the same parenting style, but they have elements in common. Same with teachers. There are things that every teacher needs to learn to be a good teacher, the best practices mentioned above, but that doesn't require the teachers to all have the same approach.

                The most important thing for good teachers and good parents is to listen to the kids so they can respond to the kids needs. Of course that means understanding the kids so they aren't just responding to requests. Wants aren't always a good expression of needs.

            •  I disagree. Knowledge in a subject area (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vacantlook, TexMex, Heiuan, FishOutofWater

              is quite different from knowledge of pedagogy, specifically in the primary grades.  Reading instruction in particular requires skills far beyond the ability to read.  

              Maybe I read your post wrong.  I just woke up, but I must say that in Florida (where I took the subject area exam) certification requires a great deal of knowledge both in content area and what you refer to as "edubabble."  (Do you mean "edubabble" like Bloom's Taxonomy, Piaget, Groom, and Skinner?)

            •  This is the premise of the Florida and Georgia (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mmacdDE, FishOutofWater

              plans. You take your degree and experience and begin working, but you MUST have a degree. You have a year to a couple of years to take the classroom management/best practices courses that actually show you how to "be" a teacher.  Then you take the certification test.  

              The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

              by Heiuan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:18:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  There's a lot more to teaching than knowledge (13+ / 0-)

              I disagree with most of your post, at least as it pertains to my part of the country. Your location may be different. The gist of your issues with education degrees and education departments actually argue for them.

              But education degrees should not be required to be teachers of middle school or high school. Degrees in subject areas are needed to teach those subjects, not education degrees.

              Agreed. Most teaching programs in public schools (Teach For America, alternative licensing, etc.) here require that already. Alternative licensure requires a masters in education or subject matter.

              Top private schools get excellent teachers with great backgrounds from top universities. Most of those teachers don't have education degrees.

              Do you have any documentation for your assertion? The top private schools in my area require teaching certificates and a masters before you can even put in a job application. The best private school in my area (arguably) has many teachers with a minimum of an Ed.M or Masters +30 and a state teaching license, which requires an education degree of some sort.

              There is still a strong need for education departments to teach classroom management skills. Practical curriculum development classes are needed.

              Another reason for an education degree. The theory of education is important. It teaches classroom management skills, but until you actually manage a classroom, it is theory only. Involving an education department doesn't change that.

              Again, people who get education degrees are taught curriculum development. Even though it is mostly background and not practical because the state defines curriculum standards for every public school.

              Certification tests typically are filled with edubabble, not real tests of knowledge in technical subject areas.
              We need to change the system of certification to get away form the education departments and tests of useless edubabble. We should not abandon certification.

              That is why there is certification. The criteria to take a teacher certification test requires you to already have knowledge in subject areas; it tests you on education knowledge. 'Highly Qualified' is not a nice label or simple appellation; it is a specific designation showing that the teacher meets criteria, both in education, testing, and subject matter knowledge. My wife has spent the past 3 years teaching in inner-city schools, thousands of dollars getting her masters (after her BS in her subject matter) and hundreds of dollars on Praxis testing to get her designation of 'highly qualified'. She ranks in the top 15% of Praxis II test results. It was earned and is not some 'edubabble'.

              And then she gets to spend time at an inner-city school trying to make her curriculum fit NCLB with no textbooks and no computers and no materials with the additional treat of occasional riots and shootings. She has been surplussed twice and had a very real fear of being laid off because of budget concerns. Her student to teacher ration is 36-1, even though it is supposed to be 25-1 (which is still too high). She has a few 19-22 year olds in her classes who aren't even trying to learn anymore and several pregnant freshmen who are just putting in time until they deliver.

              NCLB is an issue. It emphasizes standardized testing (for students) and no critical thinking with unrealistic performance standards and no money to teach to those standards. The teachers get penalized for each student that fails, and the school gets gigged for test scores. In that environment, gaming the system is encouraged to keep the scores high, even if the kids can't think. Maybe we need to focus on teaching the ones who want to be there, instead of trying to save people who don't want to be there. Maybe we should teach them to think instead of to pass tests.

              Instead of saying 'let's get more teachers', why don't we pay the ones we have and set realistic performance standards for them. Reduce the student to teacher ratios so that teachers can teach.

              Blaming education departments or education degrees is simplistic and fails to acknowledge some of the real world hardships teachers face. Sorry if it sounds like a rant, but I have seen what she goes through, and I don't know why she does it, but I'm glad for somebody's kid she does.

              •  36 to 1 in the inner city. That's a crime. (3+ / 0-)

                Most private school teachers have masters degrees and PhDs now. Obviously, certification requirements vary according to state law.

                The kids at your wife's school deserve far more than we are giving them.

                Thanks for your excellent comment.

                "It's the planet, stupid."

                by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:59:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks for reading it; it's a litle long :) (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dem in the heart of Texas, kyril

                  It may be a crime, but it is a widespread crime.

                  Standards don't always work, but right now it is the only way I can see to decide who can be a teacher objectively.

                  Unfortunately, some good potential teachers get caught in the middle and never become teachers. Even more simply cannot afford the process, so my wife is lucky by timing and training that she could do both.

                  I totally agree that some people without training are excellent teachers, but feel that they are the exception rather than the rule.

              •  I've been having the same argument (2+ / 0-)

                elsewhere in these comments and making most of the same points, but you've done it far better than I did.

                Thank you (and you're wife) for your dedication to professional teaching.

                History has a well known reality bias.

                by Stwriley on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:06:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I have lost track of how many times I had to console her after a staff meeting where the teachers are blamed for the poor student performance (even for the ones who never show up in class) or a particularly bad day at work (like the time she was hit at her desk with an open pint of milk).

                  She has found her calling; all I can do is let her vent when the frustration at the system builds up.

            •  You are fucking out of your mind. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Obviously you have never taught. The whole purpose of the education degree is to teach "how to teach". Most middle school and high school kids have little or no desire to be there. And if you are not prepared to deal with this attitude then you will be a miserable failure as a teacher no matter how many poli-sci degrees you have.

              In California teachers in public and private schools have teaching certificates for the school to receive accreditation. Which is the way it should be.

              I can see an 18 or 19 year old returning from Iraq and teaching, when his only knowledge base is how to do push-ups and kill with an automatic rifle. Perfect for our gang oriented society.

              No matter how cynical I get, it's impossible to keep up.

              by Flippant on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:59:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The education departments I have been associated (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              were/are fantastic!

              The University of Texas at Austin is a great department. I got my undergraduate degree there in Elementary Education specializing in Biology and Spanish. Fantastic professors in Education, in Biology, and in Spanish. The best of the best.
              Exellent school Hook em!
              Yay U.T. Longhorns...... RAH RAH RAH!!!!!

              I also studied at Niagara University  a Catholic university with also excellent credentials I got a Master there and also cerified as a  Administrator. It took ten years to do all that and I learns so much about what educational leader should be doing in their schools.
              I taught at the SUNY Buffalo as Clinical Faculty with the science education professor. We did a tag team bit between theory and practice. We had excellent students who already had a degree and went on to get thier master's and a teaching certificate. Excellent teachers, one of them replacement me when I moved away. And the education school I am associated with now is the best in western Canada. Those kids don;t have any problems getting a job, they are the first to get offers.

              But education degrees should not be required to be teachers of middle school or high school.

              And I don't know what kind of junior high kids you know but one really needs to understand the particular uniqueness of a middle school student to know how to teach hands on science.
              I agree that degrees in subject areas would be excellent for middle and high school but also those people need to know HOW to deliver the instruction.

              And it isn't read the book, answer these questions, copy these notes off the board, listen to my lecture and take notes, memorize, take this test and you're done.

              Too young for me but....

              by TexMex on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:16:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I mostly agree with you, FOoW, but there's (4+ / 0-)

              a caveat:
              a degree in the specialty should be accompanied by a minor in communications (e.g. an ag teacher needs to have a minor in ag communications) so the students can understand what's being offered to them.
              The US Military uses instructor schools, most of which spend 7/8ths of their time on the technical subject knowledge and 1/8th on presentations / communications.
              I'd be for letting anyone who'd been certified as a military instructor take the teacher certification test -- and waiving test fees, etc. If the prospective teacher scored a passing grade, that would be enough for me.

              I'm another Edwards Democrat

              by BlackSheep1 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:21:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks. Modifications accepted. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                There's a lot (an infinite amount) I didn't say because it's a complicated problem.

                I'm not suggesting that a military instructor would be qualified to teach elementary school based on that training. Young children have different needs. Some of the best teachers I worked with on Kauai had military instructor backgrounds. They were well trained to teach high school kids.

                "It's the planet, stupid."

                by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:33:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that's cause military instructor training aims (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FishOutofWater, kyril

                  to teach you how to teach high-school-age kids, mostly.
                  At least, at first. Later (if you're doing advanced courses) they teach you college-level techniques, so the LTCs in your classes aren't bored to death or the Master Sergeants don't find you too didactic.
                  Full disclosure: I graduated an Air Force instructor school in  

                  I'm another Edwards Democrat

                  by BlackSheep1 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:48:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Agree, agree, almost... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Having two degrees in biology I taught in secondary schools for 12 years as a second career.  I was amazed at how many of my fellow science teachers knew so little about the subjects they taught.  In Texas, the qualification exam for the science certificate is only 40 questions long and stresses chemistry and physics.  Earth science is not taught in Texas.  Imagine.  

              I agree that edubabble and education degrees do not a teacher make.  I think we are all hard-wired to teach, otherwise we wouldn't be the technological wizards we are as a species.  The most useful part of teacher education is understanding the pile of bureaucratic bullshit that comes with the job.  I also agree that real live degrees in content area are foremost, not the other way around.

              "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

              by dolfin66 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:05:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I disagree. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Both education and subject matter degrees are sorely needed, as is the certification process. I say this as a certified secondary school teacher in California, which has by many accounts one of the most rigorous teaching certification processes in the country. I can also tell you that the 4-part CSET was filled not with "edubabble," as you call it, but with "real tests of knowledge in technical subject areas." The CSET, in fact, seems to be the primary obstacle to certification among many of the other teachers on staff at the charter high school where I teach.

              Before I took and passed the CSET, I complained like a whiny teenager about having to take a test to demonstrate "subject matter competence" in material that my bachelor's degree already declared me competent in. But now that I see many teachers, already hired in charter schools, struggling to pass the CSET, I have come to believe that state certification tests are the only obstacles preventing highly unqualified teachers from taking long-term positions at charter schools. For this reason, we absolutely need them.

              Do you want creationists teaching in science classrooms at charter schools funded by the state? I don't, but I have seen it happen. And the CSET is the one thing preventing these particular teachers from being kept on staff beyond the expiration of their emergency permits.

              As for education degrees, I came into teaching with a literature degree from a top university. Like many graduates from top universities, I secretly harbored the notion that teaching English is primarily a matter of knowing the subject matter. It is not. A degree in education, and some real time in the classroom, quickly changed my opinion on this.

              I teach at-risk teenagers at a charter high school, and I can tell you that as a rookie teacher without university training in education, I would have been sorely unequipped to handle the swift currents of the modern cross-cultural classroom.

          •  F#cking hypocrite (7+ / 0-)

            So suddenly it's not all that important to have teachers certified?

            Ummm, what happened to NCLB's requirment that all teachers be "highly qualified"?  Teachers and districts that are going through contortions trying to deal with that requirement.

            I taught special ed math at a HS last year and for several years before that.  The math being taught is at its hardest 4th grade math, precisely because these kids haven't learned it.

            I'm not teaching it this year because the Feds decided that I (and others like me) aren't highly qualified, even though I took and passed the elementary ed exam, along with my special ed endorsement.  The Feds want me to either get a BA in math, an endorsement in math or pass the state math test.

            In other words, they want someone teaching 2nd to 4th grade material who is qualified to teach pre-calc and cal.  So it's no math for me this year.

            "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

            by gsbadj on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:31:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  His comment shows how low the regard for (8+ / 0-)

              teachers is in the right wing.  The notion that just anyone can teach is so disgusting.  Some people can have an incredible knowledge base or a most interesting life story, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they have the ability to transmit that knowledge to anyone or the proper temperament to teach.  Teachers are special people.  Heroes in my book.  

              It's over. - Peggy Noonan 9/3/08

              by churchlady on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:36:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Certification not necessarily equal to highly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              qualified. And the most highly qualified are put off by the cost and arbitrary inanity of certification.  Then there are the most highly qualified who have inadvertently blocked themselves from getting certified in their state.  Unbelievably, there some some strange cracks in the system.  For example if you were a university supervisor of student teachers in one state, and then move to a state that requires that you have had experience as a student teacher. If you had never been a student teacher, that box will not be checked and you will not get certified.

              Previous teaching experience, even years and years of it, may not count if there was a gap of more than, depending on the state, 3-5 years.  If you spent that 3-5 years teaching in the university, it doesn't count.  If you had a provisional credential but were unable to find a job because you had too much experience, the credential will expire.  You are still the same highly qualified teacher but no certificate.  No wonder you head to the private school or charter school.  More power to you.

          •  is that for lack of certification? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mmacdDE, Brooke In Seattle, kyril

            Sounds to me as though the problem wasn't that your math and chem teachers lacked certification.  Sounds to me as though they lacked an education.

            Yes, I'm one of those who believes that certification is unnecessary.

          •  You people need a Waaaaambulance. (10+ / 0-)

            All this yapping about teachers.  

            Teachers, parents and students need to quit their complaining and realize the importance of the plumbers in our society.

            Last night was not Teacher's night.  It was Plumber's night.

            I would think you would have noticed that.


            Droogie... I know you're in here somewhere.

            by blueocean on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:14:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  EXACTLY - I'm a product of "no certification" too (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            freelunch, left turn, kyril

            I had a very similar experience. Went to an evangelical private school. The only requirement for teaching there was that you also had to be a member of the church. Every day started with an hour of "worship". There was another hour every day devoted to Bible studies. And, I spent more time in "prayer" than in actual class. Seriously, all we had to do to get out of class was say we were going to "pray" (which of course we didn't)! And don't even get me started on the "abortion" debates we were required to have... ugh. Palin would be so proud.

            Thank god for libraries then (and the Internet now). I love to read, and spent several hours a day with my nose in a book. Math, on the other hand, is nearly impossible. To this day, I have to have my 12-year-old son do any math for me (adding tips, grocery store etc). History? Science? What's that?

            Amazingly, I passed my SAT with flying colors - only because I got a near-perfect score on the English portion. I failed the math portion so horribly that I felt certain I'd never make it into any college.

            When McCain said this last night, I thought I was going to throw up. I'm so glad others have as much cause for alarm.

            McCain/Palin: Change They Can Deceive In

            by naviline on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:05:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think that a teacher needs a background (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            left turn, kyril

            in the subjects that they are teaching.  Therefore, someone with a college degree in math or chemisty should be able to teach those subjects without having to have additional certification.  It's hit or miss whether someone is going to be able to be a good teacher, but I don't think a course in "teaching" makes the difference.  A new teacher can work with experienced teachers to get started and to see how they teach, but essentially, a new teacher has to figure out their own way of dealing with students and how to teach their subject matter.

            I worked in an elite private school for 22 years.  I had a masters degree in my subject area.  I watched new teachers come in who had education degrees.  I couldn't see what those eduction degrees did for them.  They still had to learn how to deal with a classroom and teach the subject matter from scratch.  They ended up getting advice from me on the day to day process of teaching.

            No one should be teaching a subject that they don't have a sufficient background in, but people with degrees should be able to try their hand at teaching without having to pay out thousands more dollars.  It's the type of job you have to learn on the ground, from experience.  You may or may not be any good at it, or enjoy it, but those education degrees don't seem to mean much to me except to hold back potentially good teachers because of the expense of getting that degree.

            Qualified people should be able to explore teaching to see whether they like it, whether they are good at it or not, without having to spend many thousands of dollars.  Enjoying kids and enjoying your subject; and having a sufficent background in the subjects you teach, are key ingredients to teaching--not another expensive degree.

          •  'll bet that Ohio requires JTP (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to be a licensed plumber (as it should).

            The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

            -- John William Gardner 10/8/1912 - 2/16/2002

            McCain and his ilk have turned this on its head. They scorn education in general, and their political and economic theories simply don't hold water as it is.

            Hey, Sarah, who are Todd's friends that helped build your house?

            by RudiB on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:03:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, BREAKING, as they say: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Per Yahoo! News:

              HOLLAND, Ohio - Joe the Plumber said Thursday he doesn't have a license and doesn't need one. Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, the nickname Republican John McCain bestowed on him during Wednesday's presidential debate, said he works for a small plumbing company that does residential work. Because he works for someone else, he doesn't need a license, he said.

              Hey, Sarah, who are Todd's friends that helped build your house?

              by RudiB on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:09:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I agree that there should be certification (0+ / 0-)

            but I think some of the certification requirements in place are wrongheaded. I don't think anyone should be able to teach math or science at any level - even the elementary level - without the equivalent of a strong minor in the subject. And I'd like to say the same about English, music, art, and history, but math and science are the most critical fields. It's been demonstrated that elementary ed. majors have an extremely high prevalence of math anxiety and this may be subtly communicated to kids, along with mathematical and scientific misunderstandings due to their only having to take classes in the subjects at a very basic level not requiring in-depth understanding.

            During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

            by kyril on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:45:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Knowledge of history too is vital for history (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              teachers- it's not just about math and science. I teach middle school American history, and was a sociology and history major in college. Watch Jeno Leno interviewing people on the street and you see the products of poor teaching and low standards. I believe teachers should be dual certified in both education and a secondary subject, so they'll have deep knowledge and passion about the content as well as a grasp of methodology and classroom management. You need both, as well as student teaching, mentoring, and high standards for classroom performance. We need high standards for admission to teacher training programs, and teaching salaries that attract excellent candidates. Notice I have not mentioned standardized testing. The over-testing of kids stifles learning and creativity, and assumes that all kids will learn at the same pace, in the same way.

        •  Bad for kids. We need teachers that actually have (12+ / 0-)

          a solid grasp of their curriculm. And best practices and a whole host of other isues that impact the modern classroom.

          Palin accuses Obama of secretly being a white, old, senile guy.

          by hideinplainsight on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:01:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  correct me if I'm wrong (7+ / 0-)

          but isn't it true that those private schools families can opt-in to on these voucher plans aren't required to pass NCLB either? In other words, no certification and no accountability. Certainly no school board made up of local citizens. How exactly is the quality measured?

          If it's too big to fail, it's too big to exist.

          by musicsleuth on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:01:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's exactly right. (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musicsleuth, vrexford

            Ooh, look its the oppressors: Christians and Republicans and Nazis, OH MY! - Big Gay Al

            by Oh Dannyboy on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:13:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Quality measured by which (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musicsleuth, vrexford

            universities the rich kids can get into, or the power of the purse; if the kids aren't able to compete, parents stop sending their kids and stop paying.

            "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

            by MsWings on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:27:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  tests don't measure quality (5+ / 0-)

            I almost have a Ph.D. in music.  I have a bachelors, a masters, and years of teaching piano, teaching choirs, teaching at university.  I know I would make a great elementary teacher.  Yet if I want to teach, I have to prepare for a bunch of exams, and pay for various courses to fit "prerequisites" and it would probably take me two years to do it. I think the certification requirements for teachers are ridiculous.  You know what - I would prefer a real scientist teach my kids science, a real artist teach my kids art, a real writer teach my kids writing.  I don't care about certification, I just want people who really care about their area of expertise and my kids to pass on their love of their subject.  Let's give principals and parents much more autonomy in selecting, hiring and keeping teachers and forget about this certification crap.

            •  I think that some classes are still necessary (0+ / 0-)

              I think that the psych classes were valuable, along with the methods classes the tech classes and the reading classes.  And student teaching is a must.

              The philosophy of ed class and the class on multiculturalism could have been covered within one of the other classes.

              "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

              by gsbadj on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:44:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  i think what it boils down to (9+ / 0-)

                is the difference in developmental stages.  for pre-k through 6th, you bet your ass all the crazy certifications and "bloated fluff" of the education degrees are necessary.  little kids have different world and mind boundaries and learning absolutely, always, must be age appropriate.  

                and there is simply no way being an expert in your field imbues the necessary knowledge or ability to manage the development of children.  i don't care if you're stephen hawking; young children need specific types of stimulation and classroom environments to learn well.

                once you get out of elementary school, you can start going for the narrow expertise in specific subject matter.  that actually does make sense.  but again, if that individual is a craptastic communicator, or an egomaniacal power tripping jackass, i.e., not a good teacher and ineffective with kids, what good is what he/she knows?  

                "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

                by Cedwyn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:21:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I get what you're saying (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I overstated my case somewhat "forget this whole certification crap."  But, I do think kids can really pick up on when a teacher is "faking" it and really doesn't know their subject matter well.  There really is a problem with the way that our society selects those individuals to which we entrust our children's education.  I am not saying there are not good teachers out there, but in all the teachers I had through elementary and secondary education I think I had about 10 good teachers, and the rest were phoning it in.  We know that the French teacher couldn't really speak French, we had never seen a painting or piece of art by our Art teacher, etc., etc.  I just think there needs to be whole lot more flexibility and autonomy to the principal and parents.

            •  not how good you are at your subject (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cedwyn, vacantlook, Heiuan, akasha

              The question isn't how good a musician/scientist/artist you are.  

              How good are you, right now, at lesson planning, explaining your subject at a 5th grade level, composing appropriate tests, assigning and marking homework, and keeping discipline in the classroom?

              •  Being good at your subject is necessary, (5+ / 0-)

                of course, but it's not sufficient. I've had a number of teachers/professors, all the way through law school, who were clearly experts in their field but were entirely incompetent when it came to transmitting that knowledge to me. Teaching -- good teaching -- requires much more.

                "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." -- Gandhi

                by akasha on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:19:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It also often happens the other way. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  akasha, karend27

                  I have known many teachers who are experts in test construction, lesson plan making, classroom management, and child psychology.

                  Yet they know little to nothing about their subject area, and therefore they teach their students little to nothing -- perhaps even going so far as to introduce errors which are then accepted as correct by the students because they trust the teacher to be right.

                  Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

                  by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:30:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You're lumping 2 different ideas together. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wenchacha, Cedwyn, vacantlook, Heiuan

              I agree that you sound like you have a lot of experience--teaching.  But in your case, you've had trial-by-fire, on-the-job training.  Do you think, though, that you did the best job you could with your first students?  Would you want your child being the guinea pig in a classroom with an untrained instructor?  That's exactly what you'd get if you just threw scientists and artists into the classroom.  

              I also agree that the passion one has for one's subject goes a long way towards engaging students, but you also have to have a passion for children with all their complexity to be an exemplary teacher.

            •  love of subject (0+ / 0-)
              In a perfect world, you would be right..a love of subject would just ooze into the students.

              But I have had teachers at all levels (I have a Master's) who obviously knew their stuff, but couldn't pass it on to students because they, well, they just can't.

              Not everyone is meant to be a teacher. For all its warts, teacher education DOES make a difference. I think people who are "highly qualified" in a subject area could maybe forgo some of the classes, but then they need to apprentice with a master teacher, for a long period of time. Learning to teach doesn't just happen for most people.

              disclaimer: I teach high school computer science and business. My degree is in computer systems, and I did go back to school and earn the teacher certification late in life.

            •  I'm in the same boot, basically. (0+ / 0-)

              I have a PhD, and over 15 years experience teaching at ALL grade levels (from pre-K through grad, even post-grad).

              Despite my best intentions (and contrary to the most ardent wishes on the part of friends, family, and mentors throughout my academic career--I mean, c'mon, why would you want to waste your life in inner city schools when you could have a nice tenure-track position?), I have found that I work best with elementary and middle school aged kids. (Proven track record there).

              A lot of schools I've worked for as an independent contractor would have loved to have hired me as full time staff. However, since I do not have certification, they couldn't and can't.

              That said: I am still in favor of certification--even though it creates problems for me and the schools I work with, even though it restricts my access to a lot of kids who could benefit greatly from precisely the kind of teacher I am-- because there are just too many complete MORONS out there (child abusers, pedophiles, religious fanatics on a "mission", you name it), and, while the certification process is not perfect, and no 100% guarantee that these folks won't get through, it is at least one obstacle in the way of millions of nutjobs with nefarious motives.

              I figure one reason I am the kind of teacher I am is that I haven't subjected myself to the kind of "edubabble" that's offered in Ed. curriculum. My methods--proven effective at every grade level--have always flown in the face of what people are taught in ed classes (and this has often infuriated the "certified" teachers in my midst).

              Nevertheless. We cannot just scrap the certification process. Sure, it would be great if exceptions could be made for "folks like me", but I can't put my own self-interest ahead of the kids' safety and well-being--and I think that's what you do when you eliminate teacher certification altogether.

              I'd rather have a "certified moron" (as I've described many a "certified" teacher I've encountered in my now 15-year history as an educator) in the classroom than an uncertified pedophile or just plain nutjob.

            •  real scientists don't want to teach you kid.... (0+ / 0-)

              real scientist

              That is why they are scientists. You know when they were looking at the university calendar and looking at the science courses they were taking they were dreaming of being in the field doing field work with the theme to National Geographic playing in their head or in laboratory in a lab coat with colleagues . They were not envisioning being in front of a third grade class. That is on a different page of the university calendar of coursework.
              Science teachers on the other hand know science and how to teach it so it sticks to large group  children of different needs and abilities.

              Too young for me but....

              by TexMex on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:28:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  bingo n/t (0+ / 0-)

            McCain/Palin: Change They Can Deceive In

            by naviline on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:08:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I attended "elite" private schools and (11+ / 0-)

          the vast majority of my teachers in high school had PhD's and the rest had masters degrees in their fields.  So I think the theory was that their impressive level of education would make up for a lack of state certification papers - they were good teachers - better than the ones I encountered at my "elite" college.  But it doesn't sound like McCain's plan offers any sort of other qualifications beyond service in the war to assure that these returning vets would qualify through alternate educational achievements which I think is something of a problem.

          I'd rather give returning vets educational scholarships to allow them to earn the qualifications to do whatever they want when they return home - but typical of the GOP - they want the fast, cheap and easy model where everyone is set up to fail.

          •  We need to lower the bar (8+ / 0-)

            As a certified public school teacher, I can attest (no pun intended) to the fact that the exams are incredibly easy. The only function they can serve is to weed out the definitely underqualified. The only function of eliminating them would be further lowering the already really low bar for becoming a teacher.

            •  This really depends upon the state (0+ / 0-)

              in which you take the exam. Some states, like NY have their own set of exams. Other states use the Praxis. When I did the NY test, I got one question wrong. When I did the Praxis (in Social Studies/History) it was not pretty.

              Oh, and content area expertise is NOT curriculum. Curriculum is what you create using your content area knowledge, your understanding of how kids learn, the needs of the community, etc., to develop appropriate goals, assessments and learning plans for your students so that they can be successful.

              The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

              by Edubabbler on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:34:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Cake (4+ / 0-)

          Correction. republicans want to have theirs and eat ours.

        •  Translation (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heiuan, ThompsonLazyBoy

          Hire less qualified teachers for less money and pocket the difference, and let the kids go without.

        •  Yes but if the school wants accreditation (0+ / 0-)

          then their teachers must have degrees/certification

          such as

          PROTECT YOUR VOTE - learn how and tell friends & family and

          by Clytemnestra on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:18:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think that's regional (0+ / 0-)

            full disclosure: my kids go to private, non-sectarian schools and to the best of my knowledge, formal teacher certification is generally not required but ongoing professional development is.

            The umbrella organization for these schools is AIMS - the Association of Independent Maryland Schools.

            Hockey Moms for Obama!

            by stitchmd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:13:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  accrediation for main stream agencies (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              school move and then go to another accredited school the standards will be just about the same.

              If I read the site correctly, Association of Independent Maryland Schools. is not an accrediting agency

              The goal for accrediting (especially mainstream agencies) is to have standards and common goals for all accredited school. So if a child goes to one school and then moves, if both schools are comparable in certain key elements.

              Founded in 1885, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., (NEASC) is the nation's oldest accrediting association, serving more than 2,000 public and independent schools,  colleges and universities in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island,  Vermont, and American/international schools in more than sixty nations worldwide. It is characterized by a commitment to establishing and maintaining high standards for all levels of education (preK-to doctoral level) within one association. Since 1990, it remains the only one of the nation's six accrediting agencies to promote collaborations for educational improvement beyond the region.  
              Through the office of the Executive Director, the Association contributes to public policy and conducts research with a variety of national and international groups and  develops assessment processes for other educational providers.

              Accreditation relies on a voluntary, peer review process engaging educators in the region on hundreds of reviews in any year.  A self-study process of 12-18 months is undertaken by schools and colleges in regular review cycles. The goals are effectiveness, improvement and public assurance.

              The New England Association of Schools and Colleges is an advocate of educational quality and its improvement. Drawing upon its considerable experience, it serves as a public policy resource on issues related to the condition of New England education. It sustains and advances the principles of self-regulation and peer review.

              Many Christian private schools were unable to get mainstream accreditation.  They lost revenue and potential families because of this, so they created their own accrediting agency.

              This is how Bob Jones University can claim accreditation even though their credits will NOT transfer to a state university because they do not have mainstream accreditation.

              Here are some accrediating agencies

              PROTECT YOUR VOTE - learn how and tell friends & family and

              by Clytemnestra on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:41:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, schools are accredited by AIMS (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                and here's a link to the letter by the head of my daughter's school as to the process they are undertaking as part of the accreditation process.

                When we were looking at schools in the area, some of them were in the process of being accredited, as they were new schools. It is a fairly rigorous process, as I understand it. But I can't find anything that says that teachers have to have formal certification, at least not as it is understood in Maryland; moreover, I've known at least two excellent teachers who moved from the independent to the public system and had to go through formal accreditation. One of them was my son's first grade teacher a couple of years ago and was also the Maryland teacher of the year a couple of years before that. The other is an excellend teacher who was put at risk of losing her job because she didn't have the formal piece of paper.

                There are benefits to certification, but I don't believe it should be the be all and end all.

                What does get me, however, is the double standard that I see among many private school parents regarding certification and testing: that's necessary for "other" kids, but not for MY kid.

                Hockey Moms for Obama!

                by stitchmd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:03:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  one little bit more (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                this is what I was trying to find initially:

                AIMS Mission Statement (from the above link:)

                Adopted February, 1997
                The Association of Independent Maryland Schools is an educational organization which exists to offer and promote activities and services of benefit to member schools. The Association leads by anticipating vital issues in education and responds by meeting needs expressed directly by member schools. Specifically, the Association requires and provides a means for accreditation for member schools; encourages the exchange of information among member schools; fosters and supports the diversity of its member schools; serves as the focal point for contacts between member schools and the State Department of Education and the Maryland Legislature; acts as a liaison with independent, parochial, and public school organizations at the local, regional, and national levels; and provides professional development opportunities for the faculty, administration, and trustees of member schools.

                (emphasis mine)

                Hockey Moms for Obama!

                by stitchmd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:09:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I used to teach in a Catholic high school. (0+ / 0-)

          I was the only math teacher certified to teach secondary math.

          The math "supervisor" was an ex-elementary school teacher who could only teach up to the first half on Algebra 2.

          While I welcomed not being under the testing microscope, the quality of the faculty was very poor.

          I mean you can't just make stuff up. - Barack Obama

          by Trim Your Bush on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:38:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I always suspected (0+ / 0-)

          in some cases that parents who send their kids to authoritarian private schools were more interested in their kids being obedient automatons rather than educated people--went to a private school as a little kid where the teachers were not very good at teaching.  As I recall, they threw information up on the board and automatically expected you to know it without explaining it very well.  

          But they were very good at corporal punishment.

        •  Deregulating education? Who would've thunk it? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's long been my opinion that the "permanent republican majority" equates to a permanent ruling class, carefully nurtured and maintained by a consistent erosion of teaching and learning standards in public schools so that only the wealthy, who can send their kids to private schools, would receive the education necessary to succeed in a global society.

          McCain: n., a sporulating fruiting body of the Bush-Cheney plasmodial slime mold

          by 1BQ on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:32:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You misunderstand (55+ / 0-)

        Republicans probably know that good teachers are needed for an informed citizenry. But if we allow untrained teachers into schools, we expand the number of poorly educated Americans and thus expand the GOP base.

        No one ever asks whether the glass is too big!

        by Dogger on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:46:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's why they are paid so little. (13+ / 0-)

        It is sad to me that an athlete can get millions of
        dollars for playing a sport and teachers barely have enough $$ to survive. Where are our priorities? Teachers help build our future and should be recognized as one of the most important investments we make.

        "One man with courage is a majority" Andrew Jackson

        by desnyder on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:06:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the right wing theory is more like this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn, elropsych

        "No problem is so complex it can't be fixed by finding somebody to attack."

        I've lost my faith in nihilism

        by grumpynerd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:32:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am so friggin' sick (6+ / 0-)

        of the endless attacks on teachers and how on one hand they have it so soft and are so coddled and how on the other hand they aren't solving all of society's problems. I wouldn't be a teacher for all the money in the world; they are targets from the right who put them right in the middle of all the stupid ideological battles. I grew up in the generation when women had no other options (friends of mine keep saying "nurse" but that was never offered in my culture) but I always knew I didn't want to teach. I always thought it was better when women had more options because the people who went into teaching were now the people who truly wanted to do it. But this Republican blame crap certainly makes the field less attractive.

        We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

        by anastasia p on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:36:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's more (9+ / 0-)
        "we'd rather have 'regular folks with common sense' teaching kids than people who have gone through the hippy-dipply socialist-communist-terrorist university system to get an elitist degree."

        Same argument they make about vice presidential qualifications and basically any qualifications out there. Traditional qualification = higher education = communism and terrorism internalized by elitist extremists who hate America and were trained in the hotbed communist-terrorist training grounds so cynically called 'universities.'

        -9.63, 0.00
        Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from idiotic American minds.

        by nobody at all on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:39:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obama must have missed that one (0+ / 0-)

        because there was so much info thrown at him by a clearly puppy-upper overcharged McCain. Can't expect Obama to have heard everything we do at home.

        But oh how I wish he did. Could have said something about Jill Biden.....Dang.

        "George Bush Doesn't Care About People"

        by WriterRoss on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:51:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I ran a Alt Cert program for an urban school.... (11+ / 0-)

        district. Troops to Teachers was/is a great source for recruiting teachers. We would recruit former service people with BA's (most states require teachers to have at least a BA degree) and provide them with a very intensive 18-month teacher training program for initial teacher certification. Then the novice teachers had to  fulfill state internship requirement  for full teacher certification.

        I have no clue what McCain was talking about, and I have a good idea that he didn't either.

        Whatever the Repuglicans say, the truth is the opposite.

        by MariaWr on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:55:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This makes sense. (4+ / 0-)

          It sounds like any other university certification program.  Was your training program accredited in any way?

        •  It is a federal requirement (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cedwyn, Stwriley, MariaWr

          that all teachers have at least a BA. It's one of the few things about NCLB which makes me happy.

          The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

          by Edubabbler on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:37:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, like a GED (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          There ought to be some kind of equivalency available for people who have a clear interest in teaching, have knowledge base, but not the teaching degree part. I don't know how long it takes for a person with a BS/BA to go on to get a certificate, but I know it isn't just a couple of months.

          Can you "test out" of some of the curriculum? No substitute for classroom experience, obviously. I am curious about what the requirements are now, and what could be done to make the profession more accessible to people who don't do the traditional degree program.

          •  No. The program format was (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            non-negotiable. You had to complete the entire training ,complete a 1 year traineeship (team teaching with another program trainee, for support in the classroom)in a real classroom. On-site support consisted of a retired teacher to assist with planning, the principal, and a current teacher on the staff of the placement school.

            We have a high success and retention rate. It was a great way to get more men in elementary classrooms as teachers.

            Whatever the Repuglicans say, the truth is the opposite.

            by MariaWr on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:05:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What did people live on while training? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Were there stipends associated with the training?

              This is my problem right now. I can't join one of those programs, even if it were free, because they want six months of unpaid service to student teach AFTER you pay for all their course fees.

              The websites helpfully tell you to have "six months worth of expense money set aside or the ability to tap into equivalent economic resources" -- meaning, someone to pay your way while you are in school.

              It's really hard to buy appropriate clothing and pay for transportation to work each day much less afford your rent and bills if you have no money coming in for six months plus whatever time it takes to get a teaching job and start getting paid.

              Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

              by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:22:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, there were stipends.... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                During the summer training, trainees were paid eighty dollars a day (400/wk). After the summer training, during the year long traineeship they were paid at a scale about 2 thousand dollars less  per year than fully certified new teachers w/ a BA.

                Whatever the Repuglicans say, the truth is the opposite.

                by MariaWr on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:35:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like a great program (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...and a sensible plan.  But let the army/revamped GI bill pay for that program.  

          If he's serious about "troops to teachers," he needs to make sure there is SOME certification - whether it be of content, and/or some minimal education theory - but since he doesn't want the gov't to pay for ex GI's to get their education (like he did), it makes sense that he'd like to ship 'em right from the frontlines to the classroom.

          Cheaper that way.

          "There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS." - Gandhi

          by hopesprings on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:53:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Teachers as "glorified babysitters" (9+ / 0-)

        The Oklahoma City Public School system is the only district in the state that has ever had a teacher strike.  In the 1970's, the then president of the local school board said that teacher’s were nothing more than glorified babysitters and deserved no more than the minimum wage.  It looks as if Mr. McCain has similar beliefs.

        I pity the youth of tomorrow who would have to suffer through McCain's education program.

      •  Good morning class, meet your new teacher... (0+ / 0-)

        ...Ms. Lindy England!  Now lets practice making those naked human pyramids!

      •  This is a sad extention of the old saw (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hopesprings, Stwriley, left turn

        "those who can do, those wheo can't teach" and Republicans are clearly bought into that.  This shows the contempt they have for licensed teachers, and why home-schoolers feel superior.  I mean, anyone can teach, right?

        [full disclosure, my wife has taught in the St. Paul Public Schools for the past 15 years]

        "If the good Lord had intended for us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates." - Willy Wonka

        by RethinkEverything on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:15:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm also not happy with Obama's position... (3+ / 0-)

        As an educator and a liberal, I feel angry every time I hear Obama discussing merit pay and charter schools.
        Most educators have 5-6 years of university education.  We have chosen a profession with an annual starting salary of about $35k in most areas. Honestly, I could take my graduate degree, go down to the local Fortune 500 company, and get a job making twice my current teacher's salary.  We teach because we want to help others.  We certainly don't want to work within a competitive corporate business model (the money incentives and lack of regular union contracts found with charter schools and merit pay).

        I teach because I love to share my enthusiasm for learning with my students - as do most educators.
        If politicians, Dems or Repugs, think that making teaching more competitive (either between educators or between schools) will solve the problems faced by kids today, they are sorely mistaken.

        Hey, McCain and Obama, here's what I'd like to see instead of merit pay and charter schools:  Students who come to school knowing they will have three meals that day, students who have warm clothes in the winter, students whose parents can afford health care (and not just rely on the school nurse as their primary health provider), students who aren't living with their entire family in a converted garage because Dad lost his job - and some money for art, music, and other programs so that kids will actually be enthusiastic about learning when they come to school.

        Maybe the politicians should ask real teachers what they need for once.  That would be refreshing.

        We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. - Albert Einstein

        by FearlessAreFree on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:56:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This and the mocking of the "mother's health" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hopesprings, left turn

        in a late-term abortion were the most offensive parts of the debate for me.   But back to the teaching-- what a slap in the face.  When I have kids I want them to have teachers who are not only knowledgeable and compassionate but also FUCKING QUALIFIED.  It kind of ties in perfectly with the notion that McCain should be president simply because he was a POW.   Does he think that veterans are above the law?  Reminds me of a segment on Hannity and Colmes  right around when John Edwards came forward about his infidelities. Sean Hannity had no problem talking about what a cad Edwards was, yet he gave McCain a free pass for cheating on his crippled wife because he had "just gotten back from a torture camp and his head was not in the right place."  I don't know what's more pathetic-- McCain's bullshit or the overwhelmingly large number of Republicans who believe his bullshit.

      •  The republican strategy regarding education..... (0+ / 0-)

        ....appears to be "less is more".

        Less education means less smart citizens, which means more stupid republicans.

        I was really looking forward to an Al Gore presidency since I have two daughters in need of a college education. Al would've made it easier for me I'm sure....bush has only made it harder.

        I've managed to get one almost through...the other starts in a year and a half.....both smart Democrats!

        I'm fired up and ready to go!

        by suspiciousmind on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:43:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  NFS! McCain has no more respect for teachers (0+ / 0-)

        than he has for women. Both my parents were teachers. For this asshole to bitch about how much money we spend for such lousy test scores, and to then suggest we use amateur teachers to solve the problem, tells us alot.

        It tells us what we already know. This jerk doesn't give two shits about education or "women's health" or any of that shit. All he cares about is that day he gets to plant his ass in the big chair in the oval office and say, "Look ma! I'm the president!"

        Words cannot express my contempt for this jerkoff.

    •  Thanks for this. I was a principal (38+ / 0-)

      in a school with a faculty consisting of people who were certified teachers and those who had degrees in the needed subject areas. My predecessor's desperation was evident in some of the latter category's hires: degrees notwithstanding, a couple of these people simply did not know how to teach (luckily, a couple were "natural-born teachers" and/or learned on the job). Further, the non-teachers didn't especially care to learn how to teach -- they didn't think they needed to. (I was also faced with teachers teaching outside of their specialties and expertise... which presented other problems, of course.)

      It was interesting to see the kinds of battles that went on between the certified and the uncertified in and out of the staff room, as well as to compare the number of complaints I received about the certified v. uncertified. I am sure you can imagine which group garnered more legitimate complaints.

      McCain simply does not have a friggly clue about education (among many other things).

      Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

      by mofembot on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:28:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Classroom management is essential (5+ / 0-)

        but education degrees are not.

        There is a middle ground where teachers are required to learn classroom management but not get education degrees.

        "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:21:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I mostly agree with this. (6+ / 0-)

          One of my certified teachers was reasonably well-liked by her students, but my conclusion when I observed her class was that she had a hard time handling her students and seemed to be fundamentally disorganized. It was not clear to me how "content-rich" her instruction was when 10-15 minutes of class time was spent trying to figure out (with the class's input) what the class was going to cover in the few weeks prior to Christmas vacation. (The concept of a syllabus did not seem to figure in the discussion.)

          I'm sorry to report that this was not an isolated occurrence.

          The value of an education degree can be that it exposes teachers to different methodologies and to new/different theories of learning. One of my non-certified teachers did a reasonably good job of presenting the material in her fields of expertise (science), but she had no grounding whatsoever in educational theory. So if a student didn't do well in her class, she would conclude that the student was (in her words) "dim" across the board; the notion of differentiated intelligences had not made a blip on her radar screen. Students and parents tended to pick up on her low opinion of non-scientifically-oriented kids very quickly. (Plus she was not good at managing middle school kids; high school was easier for her.)

          Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

          by mofembot on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:31:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is a theory about learning you know (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cedwyn, mofembot

          order of acquisition , readiness and all that stuff...that matters.

        •  I was going to comment again (0+ / 0-)

          but then realized you're just repeating yourself.  Check out my comment above for why degrees are actually useful.

        •  And "Ed degrees" (0+ / 0-)

          aren't required, afaik. A Bachelor's in subject matter and certification to teach from the state will qualify you.  Each state sets the certification requirements.

          The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

          by Heiuan on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:45:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  rec'd for (4+ / 0-)

        "friggly clue"

        "There are no acceptable prejudices in the 21st century" -Hillary Clinton

        by jonwilliamsl on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:28:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Quick video seminar on how to lecture (0+ / 0-)

        A bit late for your teachers, but for future reference, this video can bootstrap a subject matter expert into at least giving lectures that keep the audience awake and engaged.

      •  The thought of having to sit in a classroom (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cville townie, mofembot

        with the mean, short-fused old man I saw in that debate last night, would have been enough to make me drop out of school.  Surely there are former military people with the right skills and temperament to teach.  But being in the military is no better qualification for teaching than, say, having been a POW.  

    •  My wife picked up on this... (19+ / 0-)

      And was outraged.  My sister and her husband are teachers.  They both had to work unpaid volunteer hours over the summers in order to get accredited to become a teacher.  I'm sure they thought this was a swell idea.

      'That One' just kicked your ass.

      by RichM on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:48:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a modest proposal (42+ / 0-)

      if people who serve in the military can be qualified to be teachers without any prep, I get to fly a military jet without any training.

      I'm sure I'll crash fewer jets than McCain did.

      Birding in New England: advocacy for birds and birders.

      by juliewolf on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:50:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I caught this too (11+ / 0-)

      but was still cringing over the "Sarah Palin, knows better than anyone else what its like to have a special needs child"

      "Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil." ~ Jerry Garcia

      by mytribe on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:52:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's get rid of backround checks too (7+ / 0-)

      and really leave no child behind.

      Give me a break McSame

      Progressives truly are The Brave

      by justiceleague on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:53:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great diary (27+ / 0-)

      My wife, who has her MA in education, was furious over this response.  It's no surprise that McCain doesn't think teachers are professionals.

      The problem isn't a shortage of teachers - it's that those people who want to be teaching professionals start off at a severe disadvantage - low pay, few resources, and little respect from politicians like John McCain.

      Tipped and recommended.

      Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds. Buddha

      by zenbowl on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:56:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Teaching should be not just a career (9+ / 0-)

      it should be a vocation.  I heard John McCain make this comment last night and was absolutely astonished.  Actually I was 'gobsmacked'.  I'm not a teacher, but my elder son is.  Teaching is, or should be, about helping children reach their full potential and this seems like a recipe for ensuring that American children will be unable to compete on a global scale.  Dumb idea, dumb beyond belief.  

      •  Even if it's a "vocation" (0+ / 0-) have to go through a lot to become a priest, minister, rabbi, etc.

        Maybe McCain is mandating quickie "mail order" certficates, like you get a mail order ministry certificate?

        "There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS." - Gandhi

        by hopesprings on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:57:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  My sister is an undecided voter (13+ / 0-)

      And a teacher.

      After watching last night's debate all she could say to me about McCain was "idiot", "moron", "I hope he never becomes president."

      Undecided voter no more...

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
      Neither is California High Speed Rail

      by eugene on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:10:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My response was WTF? Another stupid idea from (6+ / 0-)

      a guy who doesn't understand education and the problems our country is having.

      It's been the "Dawning of the Age of Aquarius" for 40 years. "Harmony and understanding," my ass.

      by Cassandra77 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:16:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yeah, i couldn't believe that! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hopesprings, MsWings, carolh11, kir

      sending soldiers straight from the battlefield to the classroom, bypassing all those pesky qualifications - fabulous idea.

      thing is, it's not actually an idea. it was surely an inept misstatement of whatever it was he actually meant to say.

      even mcSame is not that stoopid.

      but the fact that he is capable of presenting an idea in such a preposterous way, without correcting himself, speaks volumes for the quality of his mind.

      'I can't understand why people are afraid of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.' - John Cage

      by jedley on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:19:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My wife and I literally shouted at the TV... (4+ / 0-)

      When we heard McCain saying that, we were totally pissed off.

      It's the lack of teacher quality that's the problem!!!

      You mean to tell me that you're gonna have some PTSD survivor, fresh off the battlefield, or newly done with military service, moving into the classroom?

      I'm sure this program has potential, but I cannot imagine doing this without some kind of credentialing or certification process.

      Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

      by Benintn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:28:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's especially insulting (7+ / 0-)

      coming from a guy who said he was against the new GI Bill which would have paid the entire cost of returning veterans TRAINING to become teachers (or whatever else they wanted to be). What a flaming hypocrite this jerk is.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

      by anastasia p on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:33:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He said something similar (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      back in August when speaking before the Urban League.

      Let's aim for 400+ EVs for Obama. America needs to completely repudiate all this shit.

      A revolution is coming... whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability. -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Anton Sirius on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:48:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  its simple (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a vet will have both guns and religion. what more does a teacher need in mccains mind.


    •  yes all those soldiers coming back after their (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hopesprings, vacantlook

      4th or 5th tour who don't get the treatment and care they need for PTSD would be perfect and capable to teach under McCain.

      "Jesus can see you from His house, Sarah - stop lying!"

      by MadAsHellMaddie on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:59:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Provisional Certificates (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wenchacha, mmacdDE, Dante Zappala

      Here in NYC they are used to recruit qualified people to teach in the inner city and the hiring process is actually pretty thorough. I know because I went through the interviewing process and didn't make the cut (I'm too idealistic, apparently). It requires a Bachelors degree. You have intensive schooling the summer before you start teaching, then you have solid mentoring and then I think another summer of intensive schooling.

      I think that you might be way off base on this one.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

      by resa on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:59:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only for failing schools. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Why waste money on teachers for poor performing schools?  That was what McCain was saying.  As a college student studying to become a history teacher, that response of McCain's was horrifying.  Thank God America doesn't seem to be falling for his bitter bile this time...

      Montesquieu and Locke are rolling in their graves right now...

      by Mannabass on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:25:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a college student studying to be a teacher, (0+ / 0-)

        you should know the sentence you wrote that begins "As a college student,..." has a grammatical error in it.

        It has to do with your introductory clause modifying something that it has nothing to do with.

        "As a college student studying to become a history teacher, I am horrified at McCain's response," is the correct phrasing of that sentence. Otherwise, you are saying that McCain's response is a college student -- which is not logical.

        Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

        by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:35:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh FOR GOD'S SAKE. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannabass, fresh eyes

          Do you seriously have nothing better to do?

          I'm a copy editor by profession, but you need to get a life.

          Anyone perfect must be lying. Anything easy has its cost. Anyone plain can be lovely. Anyone loved can be lost.

          by PhantomFly on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 12:45:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nice. (0+ / 0-)

          As I said, I am studying to become a history teacher.  I'll leave English 101 in your capable hands.
          If you want to discuss the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and the resulting letter correspondence between James Madison and our first ambassadors to England and France, I'm game.
          Or perhaps you would rather discuss the origins of the Donkey as symbol for the Democratic party, the result of Jackson being portrayed as an ass.
          We can discuss at length the robber barons of the Gilded Age, or perhaps you would rather focus on Teddy Roosevelt and his "bullmoose" progressive party.
          Or America's "return to normalcy" in the twenties, when America was in the business of business.
          FDR?  Keep it interesting, we can get in to the details of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, her domineering alcoholic father or her studies abroad.  Maybe we should keep it to New Deal policy.  
          Perhaps we should just focus on the 60s (since this is a DFH site) and the creation of television advertising focused on the new baby boomers.  Or mafia control of Jukebox placement?  Independent record labels bringing soul to suburban America?  The Cold War and JFK's hawkish rhetoric?  The Civil Rights movement?  The Great Society?
          I'll take a pass on sentence structure... there, I am an ignoramus.

          Montesquieu and Locke are rolling in their graves right now...

          by Mannabass on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 11:55:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Still trying to figure out (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wenchacha, Cedwyn, vacantlook

      how you improve education by having teachers who AREN'T qualified to teach.

      Heckuva job McSamie!

      by Dexter on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:31:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I thought the same thing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hopesprings, vacantlook

      I too am a teacher, and last night I posted a comment on another diary about this exact issue.
      I couldn't believe my ears.  

      This is an insane proposal.  I have absolutely no problem with feeding vets through a teaching program, but to give them certificates to teach without the proper training and tests is ridiculous.

      "[People] are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound." - James Allen

      by gchap33 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:41:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I also wrote a diary on the education question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      which I posted last night.  You can read it, and the ensuing thread, in Education question in debate was bogus.  

      Take a look.


      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:51:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is actually an attempt to make up (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hopesprings, deha, cville townie

      for McSame's vote AGAINST increased GI educational benefits for soldiers. He voted against increasing these benefits for those who have served us and put their lives on the line because making it easier for vets to go to college would encourage them to leave the military.

      So good news, GI Joes and Janes. McSame won't let you go to college, but he'll let you teach without a degree or a teacher's certificate!

      That makes it so much better, doesn't it?

      John McCain would rather lose his soul than lose an election.

      by litigatormom on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:54:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Everything I can find... (3+ / 0-)

      on Troops to Teachers and DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) is that this is a DOD program providing financial assitance in obtaining certification.

      Per DANTES (after self determination)

      Financial programs include: A) Stipends of up to $5,000 to reimburse costs associated with becoming certified to teach, or B) Bonuses of $10,000 to those hired to teach in a high-need school. Both the stipend and bonus require a three-year teaching commitment

      It does not appear to be a program that forces a waiver of certification requirements, although that may also be a function of state laws rather than federal law.

      Bigotry is the disease of ignorance...Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. Thomas Jefferson

      by RiverCityMadman on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:58:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like McCain didn't understand it, (0+ / 0-)

        then, as his answer implied you shouldn't have to go through some pesky certification program if you served.

        Wouldn't surprise me; every other answer he was talking out of his ass.

        "There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS." - Gandhi

        by hopesprings on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:00:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the CORRECT Information (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hopesprings, cville townie, MartyA

      I am retired from the US Air Force. I have a degree in Meteorology.

      For six full years, I was an Instructor, teaching meteorology, at the Department of Defense's Weather Training Division.

      I earned something called a Master Instructor badge...quite a difficult thing to do.

      After retirement, I looked into the Troops for Teachers program...and it is SPECIFICALLY designed to allow retirees to go straight into teaching without spending a semester doing the normally mandatory teaching practicum....the part where you sit and observe, and teach.

      The program is total bullshit. It is designed for OFFICERS (4 year degree REQUIRED) to bypass state educational requirements.

      Some of the money from this program is paid directly to the school districts, to help bribe them to hire these poor homeless, out of work Majors and Colonels.

      As an educator, with 12 THOUSAND hours in the classroom, I had no problems finding gainful employment....but to think that a fighter pilot, or administrative officer, is even REMOTELY able to handle and manage a classroom without formal education is ludicrous.

      McCain's "Troops to Teachers" is an abysmal failure...and needs to go away.

    •  stupid is as stupid does (0+ / 0-)

      as my mother always says
      Forrest, Forrest Gump

      Why can't we all just get along? - Rodney King

      by tlouise on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 02:32:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I heard him say that in the debate. I thought I (0+ / 0-)

      must be misunderstanding something. But no. It's just McCain's Education plan.
      Give Teaching jobs to unqualified teachers. Sure, that makes sense.

  •  That was one thing he said that really really (36+ / 0-)

    had me going Hun...What..???

    We were at a debate party/GOTV training with a couple of hundred people and I had to ask a whole bunch of people around me if I heard what he said since it made no sense...

  •  This teacher caught that comment too (38+ / 0-)

    I couldn't believe that when I heard it.  North Carolina (the state in which I teach HS social studies) has a lateral entry program where non-certified teachers can get jobs, but they must be in school working towards their education degrees at the same time.  Some very good teachers at my school started off as lateral entry (including my department chair, and the woman I student taught with), but there are many more non-certified teachers who are very bad at what they do.  While Teach For America has a good purpose in the low-income regions of the country, to ENCOURAGE this practice is kinda scary.

    •  I'm not a teacher but my mom was and I couldn't (11+ / 0-)

      believe he actually believes this! This is suppose to make education better? And this thing about vouchers being the end all to public school education. If everyone goes for vouchers what happens to neighborhood schools? This is a band-aid and how much will the voucher cover? This plan is crap and not putting teachers, parents, or the kids of this country 1st; I'm disgusted that he would even utter this as a proposal.

      •  Vouchers may possibly have merit (14+ / 0-)

        in urban areas, where families (theoretically, at least) have many schools among which to choose... assuming they can work out transportation and scheduling issues and assuming every family cares enough to go out of their way to choose the 'best' school for their child...

        but 'way out here in rural America where I live (just three hours from DC, BTW), we have ONE middle school and ONE high school in our district. A voucher program would be meaningless here.

        One thing we do have is a middle school that is 85 years old, with asbestos and structural issues and no money to do anything about it.

        Another thing we do have is gifted kids with NO gifted education programs available to them.

        Another thing we do have is lots of children who enter kindergarten having never even SEEN a book before in their lives, and having never had a conversation with an adult -- their entire waking hours have been spent in front of a TV...

        (Imagine these kids being asked to sit down and listen for six hours on the first day of kindergarten; imagine them being handed a pencil and being asked to -- I kid you not -- DRAW A TRIANGLE on the first day of school. These poor children are so far behind from their very first day of school that we need, but can't afford, an intensive remedial intervention program.)

        Our school system's problems are too big to be addressed by vouchers -- and I sure don't want to compound them by welcoming an influx of untrained teachers for whom certification would not be required!

        •  Excellent points! Your points about rural (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          schools that I hadn't even thought of I should have since I went to elem. and junior high school in a rural area where we had (1)hs in town (1)junior high and (1) elem. school with many of the same issues that you raised...boy this plan is crappier than I gave it credit for.

    •  Teach For America (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      I had a friend who decided her senior year in college that she really wanted to teach. She got into TFA and earned her certification that way teaching at a school in Washington D.C.  I'm glad she figured out in her fourth year, what her true calling was and found a way to make it work.
      Other than knowing her, and her experience, I don't know much else about the program though.

      "Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil." ~ Jerry Garcia

      by mytribe on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:59:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My understanding is that this is how the military (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to teacher program would work as well.  There would be a requirement that they get their certification within a specified time period.

      Also, the program I heard about was specifically targeted for math and science teachers.

      Not to defend McCain, but I am guessing that he was using shorthand.  Totally eliminating certification requirements is a truly stupid idea/

      •  I don't think that John McCain understands the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hopesprings, azindy

        program AND I think that he explained it very badly. This just isn't the way that alternate paths work.

        Again, this diary is full of speculation and lacking in facts. I don't understand why it's on the rec list.

        "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

        by resa on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:10:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the infor from the Department (28+ / 0-)

    of Education website:

    DANTES assists eligible members of the armed forces to obtain certification or licensing as elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, or vocational or technical teachers and to become highly qualified teachers. The program also helps these individuals find employment in high-need local education agencies (LEAs) or charter schools.

    It appears to be a program that helps returning veterans get tha appropriate state certification.

  •  He's Already Said, I Think (21+ / 0-)

    That he believes Americans are over-educated and that we expect to much.  Like Reagan, he thinks the answer is to dumb people down and shove them into church pews on Sunday to keep them quiet.  That way, they don't squeal when you steal from them.

    You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

    by bink on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:19:12 AM PDT

    •  Then why does he keep saying (0+ / 0-)

      we need to go back to community college for retraining, and then women will make as much as men.

      I have an MA, and I think I have enough classroom training to do any number of jobs at companies that could train me in their specific processes after they hired me.

      But companies won't do that any longer. They expect employees to come to them fully trained, then they don't pay them enough to repay the loans taken out for retraining.

      Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

      by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:18:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  did i hear him right about sarah palin (22+ / 0-)

    knowing about autism? was he referring to the fact that she has a downs baby and just got confused? i can't find the text of the debate anywhere

    Barack Obama... More Cowbell

    by titotitotito on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:20:13 AM PDT

  •  Not Sure What To Think (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bionicKitty, MsWings

    Whatever McCain's plan is, I'm sure it sucks... but I'm not willing to say that the certifications you're talking about should be necessary for someone to teach.  If we're requiring them now, well whatever we're doing now isn't working.  I'm sure the certification isn't the problem, but it clearly isn't the solution either.

    --- It's SPELLED "TooFolkGR" but it's pronounced "Throat-Warbler Mangrove."

    by TooFolkGR on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:20:15 AM PDT

    •  I don't think (5+ / 0-)

      the certifications in and of themselves are some kind of magic--lots of private schools don't require them, and seem to get by just fine. But private schools have the advantage of being able to weed out low performing students or those with behavior problems, and to do a fairly intensive hiring process if they so desire--there's certainly more latitude to make their own rules. If you have a much larger public school system that needs to serve everyone and adhere to rules that govern a wide community, I agree that a standard bar to meet is the most efficient way to do it. At the end of the day, what you want are people who are good at teaching and have had experience at it (and "teaching" is certainly a skill above and beyond knowing certain subject matter)--for a large system, certification is probably the easiest way to "prove" you've met that requirement.

      On the other hand, if certification is a bottleneck, and if it's determined that having some uncertified people helping out is better than having no people at all (obviously having enough good, certified people is the goal, but let's assume in this scenario it's not possible), you might want to get some uncertified people to help until you've figured out why certification is a bottleneck and what to do about that.

      Barack Obama will only become president if enough people pay attention, so pay attention, dammit!

      by JMS on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:31:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, and our health care problem... (6+ / 0-)

      Is only down to the fact that we require doctors to get licenses before they start injecting people, or removing organs.  BUREAUCRACY RUINS EVERYTHING.  

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
      -Yogi Berra

      by joehoevah on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:52:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It does have something to do with fewer drs (0+ / 0-)

        because the medical schools aren't admitting all the qualified students who want to go. There aren't enough slots in the schools for all the people who want to be doctors or nurses, no matter what the cost is.

        So, yes, it appears the bureaucracy DOES have something to do with fewer doctors available to treat us.

        There is a benefit to doctors to have fewer doctors, because there is more money for the few who make it through the heavily bureaucratic system.

        Which is not to say I want unqualified doctors in the medical profession -- I want more and better teachers at the medical schools (which involves paying teachers better at every level) turning out more and better doctors and nurses for the world. The medical schools also need to charge less so that it isn't the exclusive province of the wealthy or those willing to go into debt slavery for the better portion of their lives just to get that certification.

        It can be done. Someone just doesn't want to do it this way.

        Who benefits?

        Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

        by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:34:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (6+ / 0-)

      The certification requirements to be a public school teacher do not guarantee a GOOD teacher.  During my time working in public school at the IT level (4 long years), the number of "qualified" teachers who didn't even have a grasp on basic computer skills that I encountered was staggering.

      It was a sobering experience for me, and more than a little bit frustrating when I realized that someone in my position, who has 10 years of IT experience, has created training material at the corporate level, who has years of consulting and custom design/teaching (yes, in a classroom style setting) for clients is considered UNQUALIFIED to even teach an intro to computers class at the community college because I lack a bachelor's degree.

      Are you freaking kidding me?

      There should be a system in place where people interested in teaching can substitute years of experience for degree requirements and still be considered highly qualified.  I'm not looking to teach kindergarten, but FFS to tell me (and folks like me) that I'm not qualified to teach juniors/seniors in high school about programming and computer hardware is total bullshit.

      McCain has shitty ideas, but the problem is real.  I can only hope that when Obama rolls back that NCLB bullshit, he can replace with something that includes provisions to credit years of experience in place of degree in the determination of who is qualified and who isn't.

      •  So why not just get... (4+ / 0-)

        Certified?  If I want to teach, I do that.  If I want to operate on someone, I go to medical school.  Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
        -Yogi Berra

        by joehoevah on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:58:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uhm (3+ / 0-)

          medical school != teaching certification.

          Your analogy is bullshit.

          •  How so? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vacantlook, Sparkalepsy, joehoevah

            A teacher is a professional. In order to be a professional an individual should have to demonstrate that they have the appropriate education and skills to be a teacher.  In fact, certification and the PRAXIS exam is just like medical school and law school (and the bar exam).

            Ooh, look its the oppressors: Christians and Republicans and Nazis, OH MY! - Big Gay Al

            by Oh Dannyboy on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:21:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The problem.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle

          I think he was pointing out that the certificate wouldn't matter, because the degree is necessary. One must come before the other, despite the fact that he would be significantly more qualified to teach this particular area than a newly minted college grad.

          Condemnant qui non intelligent.
          Economic: -6.75
          Social : -5.03

          by cognizant on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:37:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Still. (0+ / 0-)

            I want my own kids, when I have them, to be taught by people who could be bothered to attend school for four years.  Encouraging shortcuts into the classroom is not exactly the best policy when our nation's future is quite literally at stake.

            In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
            -Yogi Berra

            by joehoevah on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:52:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then we disagree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mmacdDE, Brooke In Seattle

              In my line of work, experience always trumps degrees.  Period.

              I would prefer my kids be taught by somebody who has, at a minimum, a solid grasp on using the basic technologies that are so fundamentally a part of our society now.

              I expect math teachers to know how to create spreadsheets.

              I expect english teachers to be fluent in using Word.

              I expect ALL teachers to know how to send/receive email, put up a web page, and plug in a computer as basic skills in addition to whatever teaching qualifications they have.

              My time in education IT proved, to me, that these basics of modern society aren't in place, and yet these people are playing a role in shaping my child's intellectual and emotional development.

              It's time to stop churning out factory workers and start producing kids who can think and function in a global economy.  The current system is failing, miserably, in achieving that goal.

              Part of that failure is the result of outdated qualification requirements that shun members of the workforce with valuable life skills and knowledge of real world business, for the sake of what?  A piece of paper?  Preserving the status quo?

            •  Unfortunately... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brooke In Seattle

              Not all of us had that opportunity. Not all of us have the opportunity to go back now. Put into a position of "work or die", I chose work. I've worked hard, taking certifications and learning new skills where necessary, and I have been rewarded down the road with a position that many college graduates would envy.

              I desired going to school, and still do. But I have a family, and two small children. NOT working isn't an option, and abandoning my family duties while my children are in their formative years isn't what I consider responsible either. To compensate, I am an autodidact. I've read books on every subject, from classics to economics, mathematics, chemistry, history...I've taught myself foreign languages. The fact that I don't hold a degree from a university doesn't take away from the fact that I have a body of knowledge that is wider and deeper than most who do. But even with my experience, it gapes large on my resume. And were the economy to continue to turn down and force me to get back into the regular work grind, it would be a fearful omission in a competitive market.

              But I possess skills and experiences that would be helpful in a classroom. My resume is diverse. I started out working with children in day cares. I've been a corporate trainer and a tutor. By your estimate, I'm not worthy to teach your children, which is an unfortunate leap in character judgment. A 4-year degree does not encompass the totality of your character, and these days, isn't even a fair judge of your ability to "complete" something. Many of us have years of completion on the job to show.

              Condemnant qui non intelligent.
              Economic: -6.75
              Social : -5.03

              by cognizant on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:44:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Subject matter knowledge (4+ / 0-)

        is just one of MANY equally important aspects of good teaching. Knowing a subject does not prepare one for the other 80% of what teaching today's students, in today's school climate, entails.  

        To John McCain, War is not a metaphor for Life; Life is a metaphor for War.

        by NWTerriD on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:07:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          my point is the system should make it EASIER for interested people to make the transition, not encumber them with additional hardships.

          One of those is the ability to substitute years of experience for education where subject matter expertise is concerned.  It's ridiculous to expect a 40 something to go back to college to finish a bachelor's in IT before they'll even be considered.

          Round out the rest with some training programs that are easily accessible, then give 'em a test.

          •  In IL, you can get your BA-BS degree in (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            True North, NY brit expat

            anything--history, English, math. It doesn't have to be in the area you teach. The issue is whether you passed the qualification test in your area. You still have to be certified in order to learn how to teach. Teaching is more than knowing your subject. There is this whole thing called pedagogy.

            This is not to say that all certification programs are equal, however, or that there couldn't be some leeway.

      •  How about some sort of "transitional teacher" (0+ / 0-)

        program where you can get good people in the classroom now, while they work on getting those needed certifications?

        Of course, part of the certifications have to include that the teacher actually know the subject(s) they're teaching. McCain doesn't even seem to think that's necessary.

        My marriage doesn't need protecting, thank you very much.

        by Cali Scribe on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:45:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  you might be fine. (0+ / 0-)

        Some people have a knack for being able to organize an deliver knowledge.  However, consider this: the people that frustrated you made it THROUGH a teacher training program.  You really think you're going to get more qualified people by removing that? The program might have failed these guys, but I don't think that removing any. help. whatsoever. is going to fix that.

        Let's look at it another way.  Have you considered that people that have had intensive training organizing and delivering knowledge might be frustrated by some aspect of your teaching efforts? I mean, they probably think they're great on computers, but you who know computers see that they're obviously not.  It's possible that training may open some perspectives on your teaching you hadn't considered - ones that might even be a detriment right now.  It's very possible that expert knowledge runs both ways.

        Finally, it might just be because they're old.  I'm recently certified, and my education involved classes in Office, standard grading programs, HTML, etc.  We all knew this stuff anyway, but if any of my classmates were clueless about it it would have been taken care of.  My current district has a lot of professional development involving computer training - if you were frustrated there, why didn't you organize a program?

      •  Certification is often bullshit (4+ / 0-)

        I'm a retired professor, having taught the majority of my career at an established public university (The College of William and Mary), at the undergraduate, masters, and doctorate level.

        I have a PhD in math, in the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics. I've taught college mathematics for many years. For the last eighteen years I taught computer science, even putting out two PhD students. I've gotten excellent teaching evaluations, averaging about 4.6 on a 1-5 scale. Indeed, I initiated the practice of asking students to evaluate me back at my initial college when I first started teaching.

        With over thirty years of confirmable success, in areas (math, computer science, physics) where there are a dearth of qualified teachers in my locale, I am not eligible to teach even one course part time in my school district. I know because former students of mine, now heads of their HS departments, have tried.

        I can become a "provisional" teacher, provided I enroll in a program to learn things like "lesson planning," "use of AV equipment," etc. The only course I can conceive of remotely helping would be one on adolescent psychology. The rest is just bullshit, plain and simple, for those who have experience. I can see more training for elementary education, but not for high school.

        I say that from the inside, having "collaborated" with folks in various schools and departments of education. The courses have been manufactured to seemingly create a program that has some substance, but there is no core to education instruction. Many of the education students are those who don't qualify for arts and sciences or business. There are some undergraduate courses where there are no tests, no papers, and everyone gets an A.

        The military program cannot be substantially worse than the current state of teacher education. And disciplined role models, like males in middle and high school, can only help. The mere fact that the multi-racial Obama will be president seems to be positive in poorer school systems. So will immediate examples of the success of other non-whites. The best HS math teacher I know flew a helicopter in Vietnam.

        I have almost always been paid on a merit system, with my chairman or dean or provost deciding how well I do based on quantifiable material (publications, teaching evaluations, committee service, letters from colleagues). At my last school, we had a fifteen point scale (six teaching, six research, three service), normalized by department or unit, and used to distribute a varying amount of salary money (usually 50%, sometimes more). University faculty generally have a six or seven year probation period, with legal dismissal for no reason possible the entire duration. Different departments have different salary averages, based on market conditions. When the teaching profession begins to adopt such standards, we'll all be better off.

    •  Actually, yeah, (16+ / 0-)

      making sure teacher are excellent at their job (which includes not only certification, but extensive ongoing professional development as well) is EXACTLY how we solve the problem. Well, part of it, anyway.

      The other part is to structure schedules and class sizes so that teachers have time to do the excellent teaching they have been taught to do. Other than the time I'm actually in the classroom teaching, I'm paid for about 2 hours per student per year. Two hours. That is how much time I'm paid for to do all of the following things:

      * Lesson planning (which ideally I'[d be able to spend 1.5-2 hours per day on, but if I did it would eat up every single bit of my paid non-classroom time and then some)

      * grading student work (again, this alone takes up MORE than my total non-classroom paid time for the whole year)

      * reviewing assessments so that I can be aware of what students have an have not learned (this alone, if done the way I would need to do it to put into practice everything I know about how to excel at my job, would again take up several hours per week - a minimum of half the total amount of non-teaching time that I am paid for)

      * attending meetings with other staff to determine how to deal with individual students needs (this includes, for example, IEP meetings for special needs students, and our weekly "team meeting" of all the teadchers who work with our team of students, to discuss individual academic and behavioral issues regarding particual students. About half of my nonpaid time is taken up with these required meetings)

      * Communicating with parents -- some parents would like me to initiate contact with them every time their child falls behind in their work, or every time there is a behavioral problem. Others send me e-mails every couple of weeks asking for an individual update on their child's progress. I frequently need to talk with parents on the phone or in person to discuss significant learning or behavioral issues their child is having. This is part of the 2 hours that I'm paid for, for the entire year, to pay attention to their child

      You may have noticed that the time I'm spending on these activities, while it is much less that I need to spend, is much MORE than I'm being paid for. I put in an average of 3-4 hours of unpaid work per day, and it is a drop in the bucket compared to what I need to be doing.

      Obviously, the solution is not to pay teachers for 12 to 14-hour workdays every day. But if I had 3 or 4 classes of 25-30 students per day instead of 5 classes per day, and 2 or three periods per day of paid "planning, preparation and conferences" time, rather than the 1 period per day that I currently have, I could come closer to being able to put into practice everything I know about being an outstanding teacher. But that would require my school to have 3 or 4 7th-grade math teachers for 300 students, rather than the two we have now.

      If you've ever taught, you know that there is a general rule of thumb that it takes about 3 hours of preparation for every hour that you're actually teaching. In addition to preparation, today's teachers in urban schools are faced with a need to spend a huge amount of additional time working with the learning challenges presented by each individual child. Yet instead of being paid for three times as much time outside of class as inside it, I am paid for about one third as much.

      Believe me when I say that those of us in the education profession know EXACTLY what we need to do to improve the quality of education. And there are many, many thousands of us laboring in the trenches, giving our time and effort far beyond what we are paid for, to try to make that happen.

      But there are not enough hours in the day, even when we sacrifice our social and family lives to the cause. I'm divorced & have no kids, so when I'm at work until 9 or 10 most nights (I teach in the after-school program in addition to the several hours of extra unpaid work that I do each day), I am the only one who suffers. But my counterpart on the other 7th-grade team has an 8-year-old daughter who frequently cries because she never gets to see her mom.

      And yet both of us are constantly feeling overwhelmed and racked by guilt because of all the things we know we SHOULD be doing to be better teachers, but we can't get to because there's just not enough time.

      If you really care about education in this country, we need to go beyond all the rhetoric about how throwing money at a problem doesn't solve it and how testing will save us. Give us teachers the resources -- especially amount of time in relation to number of students -- to do our jobs the way we have been trained to do, the way we desperately want to do, and the way our students need us to do.

      To John McCain, War is not a metaphor for Life; Life is a metaphor for War.

      by NWTerriD on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:00:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops correction (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat

        When I said half my nonpaid time is taken up with meetings, I meant half my paid non-classroom time

        To John McCain, War is not a metaphor for Life; Life is a metaphor for War.

        by NWTerriD on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:03:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for your service (4+ / 0-)

        to the kids in your community.  I come from a family full of teachers - the same kind of excellent teachers as you appear to be.  Most Americans have no idea how much hard work and intelligence it takes to be an effective educator.

      •  This description of teaching you provide... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        paxpdx, NWTerriD

        ...sounds so much like the words I've heard from my sister and my best friend over and over again.  My sister spent years teaching 2nd grade, looped up to 3rd for many more years, and finally getting burned out over that was convinced to go to a middle school to head up the gifted program there.  My best friend, though she's been teaching far fewer years than my sister, is a very dedicated 2nd grade teacher.  Hell, my best friend's parents are also both teachers -- her mom is in elementary education, currently in 3rd grade, and her father teaches at the high school level.  My sister and my best friend have definitely spent many hours talking to me about the challenges they face as teachers.  The lack of finances, the lack of resources, the difficulty in dealing with so many students and so many parents, the endless meetings taking up time that they need to spend constructing lesson plans that fit for all the differentiations of their students, dealing with testing, dealing with often times unsupporting fellow teachers and administration: in the end it really wears them down.  The, in my opinion, unwarranted sense of guilt of not doing better because they know they can but just don't have the time to fit in everything they need to do to reach that position of better is something they've definitely talked about.

        It truly is amazing to me how much time teachers like my sister, my best friend, and you put into teaching that they are not paid for.  In most locations in this country, teachers are not treated well.  Their services are so vital, their endured stress so significant, their pay so low, it's amazing we have any teachers at all.

    •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe

      If we're requiring them now, well whatever we're doing now isn't working.

      Do you have children in public schools?  I don't anymore - mine are both in college, but my youngest graduated just earlier this year.

      The schools they attended aren't perfect, but they're pretty darn good - especially the high school.

      Please don't buy into the right-wing lie that our schools aren't working.  

      Could they use improvement?  

      Of course they could - and we should never stop trying to improve them.  

      That doesn't mean they're not effective as they are now.

      •  Public Schools are good (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle

        If the town you live in has money, by and large. At least that is how it is in RI (I am wholly ignorant of the education system in the rest of the US). If you have money you move to the suburbs where the good schools are unless you intend to send your kid to private school. There are also good public schools in the city but they have tests in order to get in (advantage rich kid, tutors etc..). The whole way are education system is funded is a big reason why we have "failing" schools. It's like a self fulfilling prophecy. By underfunding them you are dooming them to fail. If you want to fix schools raise teachers by two fold and have the federal government fund the education system. (there are a lot more issues that need to be addressed but I am done writing).

      •  Schools are often as good as the students (0+ / 0-)

        My son also graduated from a public school this year and, like many of the students he graduated with, is attending an elite university now. He was part of a large enough group of top achievers at his school that they fed on each other's commitment to excellence. Yes, they had teachers with the capability to help them when they needed it, but the high achievers there were probably more important to each other than the teachers. Peer pressure can be a terrible thing, but if you've fallen in with the right crowd, it can be a wonderful thing.

        My school district has four high schools and goes out of its way to make certain that it helps the two that suffer in comparison, yet nothing changes. Two of the schools always walk away with the academic distinctions for top students. Teachers can only do so much. They have to teach the kids they get, not the ones they want.

  •  The research is clear... (7+ / 0-)

    highly trained, qualified teachers make a difference.  Alternative certification and "fast-tracked" teachers in the vast majority of cases fail our children.

    •  Well There You Go That's Just the Information... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I was looking for.  Who did the research?  Where can I read about it?

      --- It's SPELLED "TooFolkGR" but it's pronounced "Throat-Warbler Mangrove."

      by TooFolkGR on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:23:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stanford Study on TFA (6+ / 0-)

        Does Teacher Preparation Matter?

        ABSTRACT: In a series of regression analyses looking at 4th and 5th grade student achievement gains on six different reading and mathematics tests over a six-year period, we find that certified teachers consistently produce significantly stronger student achievement gains than do uncertified teachers. Alternatively certified teachers are also generally less effective than certified teachers. These findings hold for TFA recruits as well as others. Controlling for teacher experience, degrees, and student characteristics, uncertified TFA recruits are less effective than certified teachers, and perform about as well as other uncertified teachers. TFA recruits who become certified after 2 or 3 years do about as well as other certified teachers in supporting student achievement gains; however, nearly all of them leave within three years. Teachers’ effectiveness appears strongly related to the preparation they have received for teaching.

        Ooh, look its the oppressors: Christians and Republicans and Nazis, OH MY! - Big Gay Al

        by Oh Dannyboy on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:28:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reading and math are the two areas (0+ / 0-)

          in which teacher training is absolutely vital.

          The silly way we teach math in this country is part of the problem most kids have with numbers. And reading teachers -- except those who teach whole language learning and not phonics -- should be automatically sent to Heaven when they die for the amazing work they do on Earth.

          But many other content areas on the secondary level can be taught by subject matter experts with a minimum of classroom management training. Elementary school teachers should be trained separately from secondary school teachers, with more emphasis on developmental differences and methodology.

          In areas such as English grammar, literature, writing, science, history, journalism, and similar content fields, a mastery of the subject needs to be the emphasis -- because if you don't know the subject matter, you aren't going to be able to teach it no matter how good your lesson plan is.

          Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

          by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:46:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I noticed (7+ / 0-)

    when he said that the CNN audience dials made a quick nosedive. What a ridiculous idea!

  •  I've taught without cert myself. (13+ / 0-)

    I was hired by a private school right out of grad school, to teach in my field. I taught there without certification for eleven years.

    For a year in public school, I was hired without having to be certified first, with the understanding that I would be pursuing it in the near future.

    It's not that education courses weren't considered important. It's that expertise in the field in which you teach was considered more important.

    So long as men die, Liberty will never perish. -- Charlie Chaplin, "The Great Dictator"

    by khereva on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:21:05 AM PDT

  •  asdf (15+ / 0-)

    Republicans hate public education and they despise educated people.  Education = elitist = democrat to the wingnuts.  They want faith based ideological teaching.  This is just one way to circumvent anyone from arguing against their plan.  After all, how can anyone say no when it involves the troops?  

  •  Amazing comment by McCain... (7+ / 0-)

    ...who at the same time points to the importance of standards. I'm fine w/ finding creative ways to get qualified vets into the classroom (and other qualified individuals who may not have traditional training in education). But that doesn't mean waving certification. Society has a right and responsibility to assure that any teacher is qualified.

  •  Didn't McCain oppose college for vets? (15+ / 0-)

    Didn't he oppose expanding college tuition for vets?  Well, they dont' need college, because now they can teach.  Problem solved! Money saved! Vets employed!

    They hated Clinton and Gore and Kerry, too, for having the nerve to deny Republican's right to rule over us all, forever.

    by Inland on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:21:59 AM PDT

  •  Sure, lets get some PTSD victims into (6+ / 0-)

    schools on the verge of certification loss through NCLB. That ought to end that silly notion of a public education forever, right John?

    There has to be an invisible sun / That gives us hope when the whole day's done -Police

    by rightiswrong on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:22:39 AM PDT

    •  You know, my cousin served in Afghanastan and was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      diagnosed with PTSD. He just graduated with a degree in Psychology. I don't know why I find your post kind of insulting.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

      by resa on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:02:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry if I offended you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My point would have probably been better expressed if I had clarified how I resent how the Republicans used veterans over the past 8 years. Unfortunately, rather than treating some of the horrible consequences that veterans had to endure, they have been used as props. A program of this type seems to be more of a propaganda stunt rather than a genuine opportunity for a veteran who had the desire to teach. It seems reminiscent of the "Clean Skies" initiative to me which actually enables polluters. I hope you know what I mean. Please forgive my cynicism, but I've really had enough.

        There has to be an invisible sun / That gives us hope when the whole day's done -Police

        by rightiswrong on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:04:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am retiring from the military next year, and... (5+ / 0-)

    I too was surprise with McShame answer about Troops to Teacher not needing certification.  It make no sense whatsoever; Maybe just pandering.  

  •  Why not just import our teachers from overseas.,, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rightiswrong, stagemom, ER Doc

    like the universities do?

    CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

    by irate on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:23:40 AM PDT

  •  When I heard that, too, I was taken aback (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stagemom, ER Doc, carolh11, joehoevah

    Whoa, talk about having no ethics...jeez, he would give up in a heartbeat some very important standards for our children and citizenry in exchange for a handful of votes.

    But he did the same thing when he selected Palin.

  •  thnx! i commented on a debate thread last night (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, joehoevah

    about that ...
    whoa, know-nothingism comes to warshington and goes deep into the justice system under bush and under mccain would go EVEN deeper into our education system--maybe a screen for anti-evolution science teaching?

  •  Watching with my teacher spouse (11+ / 0-)

    and we both snapped awake at that statement.  No certification?  That's exactly part of the problem today.  Familiarity with the subject matter being taught is only a fraction of the expertise required to teach.  

    Knowing how to teach, to structure lessons and measurement, to maintain attention and discipline in class, to understand how students learn are fundamentals of being an effective teacher; and McCain want to simply ignore those qualities just to pump up the numbers?  

    It's ludicrous.  I can visualize a synergy between a need for quality techers and a surge of returning veterans; but just as being a good soldier is more than knowing how to fire a rifle, being a good teacher is more than knowing enough to talk about a subject.

    It's just another example of how McCain is out of touch with reality.

    Barack Obama: One house, one spouse.

    by rb608 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:26:50 AM PDT

  •  So can kids come out of H.S. go to military and (8+ / 0-)

    come out and teach school?  Based on what knowledge, experience?

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

    by gloever on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:28:20 AM PDT

  •  Home Dentistry (8+ / 0-)

    The idea that teaching is something anyone can do is pervasive in our society. It suggests that a century of research into how students learn is simply nonsense. I've heard it throughout my career.

    Teaching is a science--a skill you learn. Compare the performance of that senior "lecturer" to a younger college instructor who has actually been trained to teach.

    It's equivalent to do-it-yourself dentistry, or that commercial where the surgeon calls up the patient and tells him how to complete his own appendectomy.

  •  Shocking news that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BR Janet, joehoevah

    anybody can be a teacher!

    With all due respect to our military (our son is in the Army right now, so I'm NOT dissing anybody in uniform when I say this), we can't allow people teaching in the classroom who haven't met some standards! Yes, former soldiers might make great teachers, due to their life experiences, but that's not all that's necessary to be a teacher, for heaven's sake!

    I turned to my husband when McCain said this and we both rolled our eyes. There he goes again ...

    "The desire to write grows with writing," so "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." ~~ Desiderius Erasmus

    by cbertel on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:29:39 AM PDT

  •  I Don't Think He Even Knows He Said That (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, sephius1

    If he does, then shame on him. I realize he's pro military and proud of serving, but just serving alone does not qualify one to teach!

    "Should I invest in fedoras and bread crumbs?" SC

    by vintage dem on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:29:43 AM PDT

  •  Yeah....decertify them. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sephius1, Calamity Jean

    That'll make it easier to put our cronies in there...was he talking about education or government?

    McCrusty: "You kids get off a my lawns!!!!!!!"

    by PBJ Diddy on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:29:53 AM PDT

  •  Being a game show host is hard stuff. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, ER Doc, carolh11, joehoevah

    That's why I propose that if you've been a game show host for more than 4 years, you can go straight to becoming Master Bridgebuilding Engineer without having to acquire any of those sissy qualifications.  

    Thou shalt not kill except for a long list of good reasons is like saying you should not covet your neighbor's wife unless she's hot.

    by FudgeFighter on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:30:28 AM PDT

  •  Heard it too. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gchaucer2, carolh11

    What would Wayne Gilchrest think?

    (Vietnam infantry vet who went back to college so he could teach in high school; later the Republican congressman from MD-01 from 1990-2009).

  •  Not to threadjack... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, skohayes

    But I would also love to know how McCain came up with the idea that we need to begin construction of precisely 45 new nuclear power plants during his hypothetical first term...

    Whether or not you favor nuclear power as a route to "energy independence", you have to wonder who the "we" is here and why "we" need exactly 45 new facilities at a cost of untold hundreds of billions of dollars from somewhere.

  •  I nearly flipped when he said it, too n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martydd, orangeuglad
  •  Didn't Bill Clinton Promote the Same Idea? (0+ / 0-)

    I recall years ago thinking how much professional teachers would appreciate having all sorts of laymen thrust into their classrooms to "help" them.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:33:06 AM PDT

  •  I believe McCain is mistaken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, XerTeacher

    The Troops to Teachers program is designed to provide alternative liscensure and certification, it does not eliminate the need for certification.

    There are a number of accelerated programs like this that allow people with a BA to go into teaching without attending in a traditional university setting.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." Galileo

    by DaPook on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:33:07 AM PDT

    •  Getting a BA... (0+ / 0-)

      Is one thing.  Serving in the military is another.  One indicates that you have at least some grasp of a specific subject - a quantity of knowledge that you can impart upon others.  Serving in the military does not mean the same.  It's honourable, but it doesn't make you a better science teacher.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
      -Yogi Berra

      by joehoevah on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you don't have to know anything to be VP, no (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, JBL55, joehoevah

    wonder McC thinks teacher preparation is not essential.  It's part of the "dumbing of Ameirca" that is the Republican meme'.

  •  the education profession (3+ / 0-)

    thanks for posting this; why was this not reported widely? Let's have average Joes teach without needing those pesky certifications or examinations!

  •  I taught high school (9+ / 0-)

    for 12 years -- had to have the required undergraduate education courses, earn a temporary certification and then attain a Masters degree within 5 years in order to get a permanent certification.  I stopped teaching in 1998 -- if I were to go back to teaching, I sure as hell would take several up to date courses on classroom management.

    McCain is an insult to every dedicated educator.

  •  Troops to teachers (5+ / 0-)

    They still have to be certified.  All troops to teachers does is assist with this and the program is a vehicle for streamlining the process of certification.
    Basically, the Soldier's AARTS transcript, used within the service to document all of the civilian and military education that a soldier receives in his/her career, is translated for lack of a better word into something civilians can understand and assistance given to the program participant to streamline the process of teacher certification.

    Palin will soon leave the ticket to spend more time with her scandals.

    by soonergrunt on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:36:13 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for your comment, it does help (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, Cassandra Waites

      to explain the program itself.  The reaction here is that either McCain just doesn't understand the program, or he is proposing an additional fast track piece to the existing program that does not require cert.  No one knows at this point.

      "People are only as happy as they make up their minds to be" Abraham Lincoln

      by carolh11 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:38:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  PTSD in the classroom? (5+ / 0-)

    Yeah, that's a brilliant idea?

    But isn't the military now taking in students without a high school diploma, in order to meet recruitment numbers.  

  •  The Dials Dropped Sharply On CNN (4+ / 0-)

    when McCain mentioned that.

  •  WTF MCcracist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I went back to school and those exams are necessary

    the states will not let you teach with out it

    even to get a sub licence its  hard everything is tripple checked

    OUT OF TOUCH , Palin baby's gaffee what has she said about Downs nothing !

    Autism is not down

    and working with those children is rewarding heartwrenching

    "I have to tell you, he is a decent person who is going to be president of the United States . Meiling Hussein is my nu name

    by maylingblu on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:38:52 AM PDT

  •  Remember, Sarah Palin already told us that (5+ / 0-)

    teachers will get their reward in the afterlife.  They are not that concerned about what happens in this life.

  •  'Her reward will be in heaven" - (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, martini, triv33, JBL55

    Teachers don't need money, they'll be singing with the angels come Judgment Day.


    Vote like your life depended on it.

    by xysea on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:40:03 AM PDT

  •  one thing though (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arthur, Brooke In Seattle

    I agree with certification.  However, I made an attempt to make a career move into teaching but found the roadblocks of certification and student teaching too onerous...i.e. I could not afford to do it.  Just saying they are potential mature, motivated people who might like to make the switch but find there is little systemic support to enable that to occur.

    Time waits for no one, the treasure is great spend it wisely.

    by mojavefog on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:42:13 AM PDT

    •  Not only that, there is subtle age (0+ / 0-)


    •  certification necessary...eventually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm with mojavefog. I substitute taught for several years, coming in from the corporate world. Turned out I was good at it. Many principals wanted to hire me onto their staff, but No Child Left Behind prevented them from doing so. I would have been very willing to get my formal certification while I worked, but that decision was taken away from the principals, who knew more of what their students needed than those who wrote the law.

      My choice was to go back to school, into a program whose curriculum changed quarter by quarter because of shifting NCLB standards, into a program whose class/student teaching demands precluded me from earning any income. All so I could MAYBE get a job in a classroom whose soul NCLB had sucked away. For most adults with any substantial work experience, that's an unattractive recruiting pitch.

      The teaching profession lost me and I'm sure thousands of other highly qualified teachers because discretion was taken away from those in the trenches.

      Do I think a soldier straight from Iraq should automatically get a teaching job? Not without proving his/herself. But, if they do, then let principals hire them or any other candidate who can do the job.

  •  I heard that too (6+ / 0-)

    Is he going to send an uncertified teacher into an English class?  A math class?  A science class?

    The district where I live has about 500 students and 20 coaches.  They stick coaches in every science and social study class.  My daughter is in the eighth grade and her American history class has watched movies for the past four days.  

    I am livid!!

    I am a certified teacher.  I have certification in English for grades 7 through 12.  On top of that I have 12 special endorsements.  Sociology, anthropology, journalism, newspaper and yearbook are just a few of them.

    I have applied for a job in this district for 15 years.  The last English teacher they hired lied on her application and come to find out had not even finished college.

    I am sick and tired of unqualified people being "stuck" in classrooms just to fill a spot.  

    How about we start letting airline pilots fly commercial airlines without certification.....It makes about that much sense!!!

  •  When my husband and I heard him say that last (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jsyaruss, Cassandra Waites, booboo08

    night, we were both like WTF?!  OMG!  That's what we want to help improve of failing educational system..teachers with no certification or training in their given fields....Brilliant!

  •  They don't need "no stinkin' badges" or (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolh11, orangeuglad

    certificates! Their experience trump everything else! Especially if they are Republican!

  •  Well, you would just teach them to read... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, OhioNatureMom

    And that would be a dangerous thing.

    Then they might have ideas.

    And next thing you know after that, they would be voting Democratic.

    "We must become the change we want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HeartlandLiberal on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:48:15 AM PDT

  •  I almost spit out my beer when i heard this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leolabeth, orangeuglad

    the people I was with couldn't believe that he actually said that.  


    Culture Wars: Alive and Well

    by ehalperin on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:49:52 AM PDT

  •  Repubs an unending source of irony.... (5+ / 0-)

    Isn't the reason we even have teacher certification tests in the first place because conservatives were railing about "unqualified" teachers who couldn't spell or do math?

    I don't think my wife (a teacher) heard McCain's comment--she watched the debates while she was grading papers (her usual 2 hours a night--gotta love those "6 hour days" those lazy teachers put in). Had she heard, I'd be shopping for a new TV today.

    A Sarah Palin speech: "Like Gidget addressing the Reichstag.."

    by Azdak on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:50:10 AM PDT

  •  Ok, I just finished (5+ / 0-)

    my teaching certification. I have undergraduate degrees in Political Science/History. I decided after my youngest child was in kindergarten that I wanted to teach. Partially because I was seeing a lot going on that I did not like and knew was wrong (my mom was a teacher and administrator). I have had SEVERAL classes in child development and psychology, ethics, etc. I have spent HOURS observing children from ages 0 to 8 (my certification is in Early Childhood) with a lot of time spent with kindergarten. It is IMPERATIVE that teachers continue to have these requirements in order to teach. Children learn differently at different ages and there are is a great deal of training that goes along with preparing and continuing to educate teachers. No certifications or continued staff development will only continue to create a bigger mess. However since Senator McCain does not talk about pay increases for teachers, I can see why he would think that anything else they do is worth while either.

  •  Bringing Lousiana's education model to the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginwoolf, carolh11, orangeuglad

    masses.  When we lived in New Orleans in the 1990's teachers were not required to be certified to teach in Public Schools, most qualified teachers took their degrees to private schools that actually paid for and wanted certified teachers.  This can have no real good outcome if we really want to be competitive with the rest of the industrialized world.

  •  Volunteer educators? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leolabeth, JBL55, orangeuglad

    From the Mccain Website

    A Call to Service is a Call to Educate

    Strengthen the teaching of American history and civics education through volunteers in our communities and schools who are able to tutor and teach with a teaching certificate equivalency.

    Surely this would be supplemental and not replace established history teachers?
    It also smacks of right wing propaganda.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." Galileo

    by DaPook on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 05:56:10 AM PDT

    •  It ALSO smacks of insincerity. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, leolabeth, orangeuglad

      Whenever he talks about these things, he comes across as just throwing out token gestures to make it seem as if he's truly cares about service, when all he's really interested in is his own overweening ambition.

      He is the soul of disingenuousness.

      There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who know binary and those who don't.

      by JBL55 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:06:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Caught That Too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rumour95, JBL55, soaquarian

    Teachers need specific training and certification.

  •  I was astonished by this comment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misreal, JBL55

    Troops to teachers?! WTF? Advocating not having teachers take licensing exams? It's so f***ing condescending to the education profession implying military service in some way qualifies someone to be a teacher? (If that's true can we just draft teachers and send them to the front lines of Iraq? They're ready huh?)

    Putting unqualified people at the head of the class is going to IMPROVE our schools, how?

    I had a sense just his attitude would be toxic to education professionals.

    I guess it fits with Mc's & the GOP's meme that military service prepares someone for anything!

  •  Carol, I hate to agree with McCain on this (6+ / 0-)
    point, but I have an M.A. in English Literature and 20 years of teaching experience with remedial freshmen and freshman composition classes. And it turns out that if I wanted to teach on the high-school level for a public school, I would need to return to college to get a bullshit secondary ed degree and then spend a year of uncompensated time as a "teaching assistant" somewhere. I'm not saying there aren't things that happen at the high-school level that certain classes wouldn't be useful for, but for those of us who are no longer wide-eyed kids looking for our first teaching gigs, the idea that I and others like me need 80 credit hours of psych ed courses and "apprentice" teaching experience is not only counter-productive--it's offensive. And I have no doubt there are tons of folks like me who would love a 40k a year gig teaching in high-schools, but who can't get past the entry barrier. And why is there an entry barrier? Because secondary-ed is unionized, which isn't bad in and of itself, except that the union damned well doesn't want entry to be any easier than it can help.
    •  sorry steve.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, soaquarian

      If you haven't taught high school before you are in no position to judge what is needed to go into that profession.  You seem to think it is a piece of cake.  The "barriers" as you call them might be inconvenient, but one purpose they serve is to help people find out if they are really cut out for the job.  

      I think it's actually quite productive and a very good idea for people to have to spend time observing, then teaching under guidance, before they are given the responsibility for teaching 14 to 18 year old kids.  I have been a mentor teacher for at least 8 student teachers.  Half of them bailed out because they figured out the job was just too hard.

      It's really not all about the money, Steve.

      •  lucy, don't get me wrong. There are undoubtedly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle

        things that a high-school teacher can use training in before stepping into a classroom, but most of us here spent 12 years in the primary and secondary school system in this country. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what makes a successful classroom run. Private schools have been pulling in folks with no educational credentials for years, and they not only function just fine, they thrive. And no, private schools don't always take the academically gifted. Many take whoever can pay, and rich students can be as unruly as anything seen in a public school. If you're honest, you'll admit that secondary-ed degrees are less about teaching useful things about teaching, and more about ensuring there is a barrier that must be crossed. Don't feel bad. I've got a Masters. That means I can't get a tenured slot at a university, however much my current employer would like to give me one. The Ph.D. is the university union card. Without it, chances of getting permanent employment at the university level are almost non-existent.

        •  The thing is... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vacantlook, soaquarian

          ..teaching kids aged 14-18 is way different than teaching college, even college freshmen.

          For example:

          Have you ever had to conference with the parents of your university students?  
          Have you ever had to establish an individualized education plan for a special education student as a college instructor?
          Have you ever had to work with mental health professionals to establish a safety plan for a potentially suicidal student as a college instructor?
          ..this is a short list...
          I will agree with you that some of the course work in teacher ed might not be the most useful in the world.
          However, the practicum part, that you also dismiss, is essential.  

          Again, you seem to feel that making a classroom run is a piece of cake. Steve, have you ever done that, in a high school?  Once you have made a class of 35 or 40 kids really work - kids are learning, motivated, into what they are doing -  for at least 3 months, we can talk.  Until then, I'm afraid you don't quite have the experience to comment about this in an informed way.

    •  Both Obama and McCain (0+ / 0-)

      said in the debate that there is a need to cull teachers who aren't cut out for the job. Not those without qualifications but those who don't make good teachers.

    •  Those requirements are as a result (4+ / 0-)

      of the republican's dear NCLB law. Middle school teachers used to be able to use their K-8 elementary certification to teach.  Now they must have subject specific certification.  Our Kinder teachers, no matter how experienced, must have early childhood certification by next year.  

      There should be many routes to certification, but teaching requires specialized knowledge, not just subject matter knowledge.

      If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. --Mark Twain

      by Desert Rose on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:20:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  how much do you know about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, leolabeth

      differentiating the curriculum to cater for the special-needs students who will be in your hypothetical classroom? There will be several. Ready for that?
      Do you know what an IEP is, or what your role as a teacher is in implementing one?
      How about working with teaching assistants, do you have training and management skills to help them work effectively?
      Any ideas on how to manage students for whom English is a second (or third) language?
      How many innovative ideas do you have to teach, or are you likely to start by just standing up in front of the class and lecturing and writing on the blackboard, like our teachers usually did back in the day? Have some great ideas for pair-based and small-group work?
      All this and more information awaits a teaching degree programme. Believe me, there's a reason for it. I know there are some poor-quality programs out there, but there is a reason for it.
      Oh yeah--the union is your friend. Especially when some McBush crony wants to put his wife and his sister-in-law into YOUR job.

      Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
      "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

      by expatyank on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:35:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As someone who taught uncertified for a year I (0+ / 0-)

      can say that I was thrilled to enter into a graduate school certificaiton program to learn more about the profession. I understand that you've been in it a lot longer than me but there are also a lot of "older" teachers without certification that seem to be enjoying the experience as well. I don't think education could have a negative impact on your stituation and you just might learn a few things.

      Also look into alternative cert programs. I'm sure you could skip the teaching assisstant thing some how.

      Hope this didn't come off as rude, just trying to be more positive about your situation.

      "indifference is the one thing that makes the very angels weep."-Cornell West

      by misreal on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:36:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  McCain doesn't want to screen out child molesters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Remember he was against Obama's bill?

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:00:34 AM PDT

  •  I backed up my Tivo to hear that three times, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leolabeth, misreal, Cassandra Waites

    because I thought, surely he can not have said what I thought I heard him say.  No certification required?  And "without the certification that some states require?"  Which states don't require teachers to be certified?
    Great idea, John.  Let's take those MP's from Abu Graib and put them in charge of a Junior High P. E. Department.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:03:08 AM PDT

  •  thank you for this!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jsyaruss, carolh11

    I just about choked on my M&M's when that statement came out.  Thank you for highlighting it so well.

  •  yeah, he said it - bizarre huh? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, lcork, orangeuglad

    How he can argue on the one hand that teachers should be held to a higher standard, fired if they don't perform up to it immediately, and then argue we should have teachers with no qualifications is just an amazingly stupid thing to say.

    If I were a teacher, he'd have just offended me quite badly.  As a mom, he already offended me enough.

    (Sadly, in Kathmandu no longer.)

    by American in Kathmandu on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:04:22 AM PDT

    •  as a citizen (0+ / 0-)

      who knows that someday the kids who are in school will be running this country, and to a certain extent, the world, I found it to be a pretty offensive and outrageous idea.

      Of course, he doesn't think the Vice President needs to be qualified, either.

      'The votes are in, and we won.' - Jim Webb, 11/07/2006

      by lcork on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:14:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Returning troops do have familiarity with guns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Allogenes, orangeuglad

    What else is needed?
    In the mccain mind... obviously nothing.

  •  Look (4+ / 0-)

    I had been teaching college for 6 years, and I still had to go and drop $22k on a teaching certificate in the state of PA.  

    Classroom management is not something you should learn "on the fly."  Even with my teaching experience, I had to learn how to deal with younger students.  Furthermore, I thought that in the Republican world "No Child Left Behind" was, like, totally awesome.  How are troops going to learn about the standards, etc?

    He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death." ~ Thomas Paine

    by trustno1 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:07:00 AM PDT

  •  it's really all you need to know (4+ / 0-)

    about Senator McCain's education plan:

    "What the hell, anyone can be a teacher!"

     Considering what a lousy student he was, it's not surprising.

    That comment jumped out at me as well - I'm not a teacher, but I can appreciate how underpaid and under-appreciated they are.  It is totally selfless work IMHO.  In my view of the world, we should pay teachers the salaries that stockbrokers get paid, and stockbrokers the salaries teachers are currently paid, just based on who makes a bigger contribution to our society.

    I have no kids, BTW, but I'm not interested in having the people who are running the world when I'm tottering around with a walker tuning out to be a bunch of under-educated dolts.  I want this country to have the best-educated population on the planet - for purely selfish reasons, of course.  ;)

    'The votes are in, and we won.' - Jim Webb, 11/07/2006

    by lcork on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:10:43 AM PDT

  •  I got so mad... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, rhetoricus, Allogenes

    ...when I heard him say this in the debate last night that I turned it off.  I just couldn't handle it anymore.

    I am not a teacher - I did at one time want to be one though.  I also served 4 years in the military and had no real job prospects when I got out, so it may have been attractive to get a teaching gig coming out of service.  But is that really the way to attract new teachers?

    All that being said, we're talking about America's youth, our education system (which as Obama said is lagging behind other industrialized nations), and our future.  Certifying people to be qualified to teach is the LEAST we can do.  

    -7/-6.26 | "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy" - T. Roosevelt

    by Bogleg on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:10:47 AM PDT

  •  This is where I lost it with McCain last night (4+ / 0-)

    and yellled and threw things at my TV.

    First off doesn't NCLB require teaching certificate to teach in public and public charter schools?

    Second, Grampy isn't a friend to vets, he doesn't want to give them benefits NOR physical and mental health care.  Do we really want someone with untreated PTSD teaching?

    Third why and how does fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan qualify one to teach, much less be a good teacher?


    PROTECT YOUR VOTE - learn how and tell friends & family and

    by Clytemnestra on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:11:51 AM PDT

  •  Noticed this too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I thought it was absurd - it's demeaning to think that anyone can teach effectively. While veterans deserve to have programs aimed at learning skills and finding jobs after their service, it doesn't make sense to award them positions they have no training for.

    Why not make them all psychologists or - gasp - plumbers.

  •  That remark FLATLINED with women (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leolabeth, misreal, orangeuglad

    It was like a dive in an otherwise okay performance articulating his education policy.

  •  Biggest reaction from the crowd ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leolabeth, martini, carolh11, Benintn

    of 200+ at the bar/restaurant where I watched the debate came from this statement ... only boos of the night. Where did he come up with this ridiculous idea?

  •  Is it really a good idea (6+ / 0-)

    to staff schools with PTSD victims? Usually it takes a few years in a classroom to develop it the natural way.

  •  While McCain is at it.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orangeuglad pilot's license required, no commercial driver license required, no medical diploma required, no passing the bar exam required...

  •  It's an old Republican idea, a way to get more (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wystler, leolabeth, cville townie

    right wing, militaristic people at the front of classrooms.

    Unfortunately for Republicans, the military is no longer made up mostly of militaristic right wingers.  They've served and they've seen and lots of them now like diplomacy and are sick and tired of hating gays.

    "No way, no how, no McCain." Hillary Clinton

    by keeplaughing on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:15:56 AM PDT

  •  Yep..."anyone can teach" (4+ / 0-)

    we don't need "qualified teachers" just like we don't need a "qualified" vice president.

    I guess that should be expected from someone who graduated 5th from the bottom yet still got the perks usually reserved for those at the top of the class. Education? psh! All you need is an influential family.

    What a freakin' moron.

    Extreme incompetence and extreme confidence are an extremely dangerous combination.

    by MT in Austin on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:19:28 AM PDT

  •  teaching (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, Allogenes, MT in Austin

    What a great profession this could be if only there weren't so many people out there trying to destroy it.

    As an AZ citizen, I've seen first hand how a few charter schools manage to succeed.  This is a testament to those few teachers who work in those settings.  Sadly, many more charters have imploded here over the years, hardly mentioned statistically.

    McCain and the GOP in AZ are proud of the fact that they are 49th in the nation in per pupil funding.  On the outside, AZ schools look just like any other school in the US.  Inside, they are ravaged by wingnut repression, negative perceptions, false myths, and politicization.  Oh- and by the frustrated tears of thousands of teachers.  I be witness.

    Under a McCain administration it would be all McBush when it comes to education.  And you don't need any certification to count on that.

    See how they run!

    by jcrit on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:19:34 AM PDT

    •  This year my AZ school (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jcrit, Allogenes, misreal

      went from highly performing to underperforming, because our English Language Learner subgroup didn't reach the NCLB standard.  
      I initially agreed with the accountability measures of NCLB, but now I see it was really meant to destroy public education by making schools appear to be failing.
      BTW, AZ IS 49th in education, and the McCain family sent their children to private schools.

      If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. --Mark Twain

      by Desert Rose on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:25:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As someone who taught in an ESOL (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jcrit, vacantlook, Desert Rose, Allogenes

        classroom and witnessed what those students went through trying to pass state assessments I totally understand where you are coming from. Its like if we took our students who were just learning spanish over to spain and told them to pass a national exam. Total fucking bullshit. It takes 7 YEARS to master a new language for these kids and they get 1 year before they have to pass the test or the school is failing? Totally ridiculous.

        End Rant.

        "indifference is the one thing that makes the very angels weep."-Cornell West

        by misreal on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:32:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Funny how GOP Senators from AZ (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      seem not to do well in Pres elections.

      When civilizations clash, barbarism wins.

      by Allogenes on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:45:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can you say Wingnut? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Cultural hypocrisy mixed with greed and a dash of common sense makes for great political theater.  People here seem to know very well which side of their bread the butter is on.  Works ok until the butter gets replaced with ****.

        See how they run!

        by jcrit on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:17:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I fell out of the chair when he said it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, Allogenes, orangeuglad

    But yes that's what you heard.

  •  It's called the "No teacher left behind" program, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I suppose it makes sense if 100 years of war in Iraq is the intent.

    This is just the latest of a series of bizarre ideas McCain has picked out of (right) field.

  •  Education is an issue I disagree with both Obama (4+ / 0-)

    and McCain on.  Obama's position is better than McCain in that he at least wants to award teachers with higher pay wheras McCain just says "you can't spend your way out of the problem."  However, I think that politicians on both sides of the aisle have scapegoated our public education system in this country for too long.  Our scores compare favorably with other countries for the first few years of elementary school.  It is only in middle and high school where our scores start looking poor in comparison with other countries.  But what most people don't understand is that in most other nations, the schools weed out the children who are less academically exceptional at some point during middle school & send children who are less academically exceptional to vocational schools, so the combined scores of all of our children wind up being compared to the average test scores of the very best students from other nations.  It's an apples to oranges comparison.  And of course our universities are still the envy of the world; that's why you see so many foreign exchange students from India, China, and Europe who attend our colleges.  

    Yet all you hear from the politicians is that our educational system is failing and that that "failure" is the cause of all of our societal woes whether it be joblessness, falling wages, or rising crime rates.  The problem is that it doesn't matter if you have a high school diploma or a college degree if there are no good paying jobs in your community because they have been shipped to India or China.  Also, it doesn't matter what kind of educational system you have if you have children who are being raised by a single mother who is having to work two jobs just to make ends meet and as a result her children wind up raising themselves.  That's not the school teacher's fault!!  As the husband of a school teacher, this issue gets me fired up, and quite frankly I am sick of politicians from both political parties scapegoating our educational system for societal problems that have nothing to do with our eductional system!!!

    •  I disagree and agree (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't know abut the comparison thing, I agree on that.

      But I disagree with the notion that our schools aren't failing, they are. And I agree/disagree about the cause of societal woes, I think education (or the lack thereof) plays a big part in it. When you don't have an education/prospects for a good paying job, and you live in the 'hood' what are you going to do? End up doing what you can to make money because this is a money driven society. The sad fact is a lot of kids (particularly in impoverished minority communities) don't really respect education. They'd rather be out there selling drugs to get money than getting an education and making little more than minimum wage. And in today's economy, there aren't many good paying jobs you can get with a high school diploma. Hell, even those of us that go to college have trouble finding work when we get out for a variety of reasons.

      And with regard to the jobs, I think we'd be able to keep more of them here if we had more "qualified" people who could do them. Of course, the tax breaks and other loopholes they get for shipping the jobs overseas don't help either.

      Oh, and I totally agree that parents should NOT be relying on the school teachers to raise their children.

      "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last."
      ~ Barack Obama
      You dopes just got SCHOOL'D-- OBAMA Style!

      by Muzikal203 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:57:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which came first (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The chicken or the egg?

        It's the same cycle.  Schools alone can't fix the problems caused by poverty, and without a decent education, people have a very slim chance of raising themselves up.

        Has anyone ever seen Ruby Payne speak?  She does an excellent job explaining the far-reaching effects of poverty on children and families.  It makes you feel almost helpless as a teacher when presented with these seemingly insurmountable societal challenges.

        Ruby Payne info

        •  Of course schools alone can't fix the problems (0+ / 0-)

          called by poverty, I never said they would.

          "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last."
          ~ Barack Obama
          You dopes just got SCHOOL'D-- OBAMA Style!

          by Muzikal203 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:12:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  poverty simulation (0+ / 0-)
            I, and the teachers and paraprofessionals at my school, just took part in a three hour poverty simulation.  It was supposed to, as staff development, make us more empathetic and knowledgeable in dealing with our students who live below the 'poverty line'.

            I heard there was a good deal of feedback to the presenters; teachers are very familiar with life below the poverty line, and if you teach at an urban school, fighting poverty is an everyday occurrence.

            That was another three hours I spent in an irrelevant class when I could have been working in my classroom. Oh, well.

      •  Well we'll just have to disagree on this one. (0+ / 0-)

        If you want an education in this nation, you can get it.  Our schools are fine, and they are not the cause of our problems.  our schools are convenient scapegoats for the right wing idealogues who will never admit that their policies of "trickle down economics" which result in lower wages for everyone, fewer jobs for everyone, and less parenting for many children (since two parent households now have to have both parents working full time and single mothers and fathers have to work two jobs due to the extreme decline in wages that have came about because of "trickle down" economics) are the real culprits behind the rise in poverty & the ever shrinking middle class.  Education doesn't do you one bit of good if you can't get a decent paying job after graduating from college or a trade school because all of the good paying jobs have been shipped off to India or China.  The notion that these problems flow from our schools is ridiculous.

        That's not to say that we can't improve our schools.  We can and should improve our schools, but I am sick and tired of our schools and our hard working school teachers being slandered and scapegoated!

  •  totally insane (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leolabeth, Muzikal203, orangeuglad

    my wife heard this and flipped out.  im kind of immune to mccain's incoherent non sense ("let's freeze all spending", etc) but my wife was like "what the fuck?"

    John McCain graduated in the lowest 1% of his Naval Academy class.

    by glutz78 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:21:59 AM PDT

    •  your wife says what the fuck?!?! (0+ / 0-)

      Mine blushes when I even was WTF or whisky tango foxtrot...

      or when I tell her that I wish I could "embellish" some of those damned "W" bumper stickers that I still see around my neighborhood.


  •  Troops to Teachers a great program (11+ / 0-)

    The program is a grant that helps veterans get teaching certificates. I had a friend go through this. If you don't have a degree it pays for college. If you have a degree it pays for the certification program. He had to student teach and take some other classes to qualify.  It's a great program for veterans but doesn't give them a free pass to teach.  McIdiot would know this if he cared about veterans but he clearly doesn't.

    I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends. Abraham Lincoln

    by UTRepub on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:23:05 AM PDT

  •  I'm sorry, but teacher certs/degrees not req. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    play jurist

    Having been through the Hoosier educational system, I can see no particular usefulness of either, especially when compared to the occasional uncertified teacher I had who did not have an education degree, but who were always well above the par of those who did.

    Sorry, not biting.

    •  So what should the criteria be? (0+ / 0-)

      If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. --Mark Twain

      by Desert Rose on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:26:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A bachelor's degree (0+ / 0-)

        I'm sorry, but education degrees are a joke.  A basic liberal arts degree covers all the required subject matter more intensely.

        •  How 'bout a bachelors plus a year... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zigeunerweisen, CA Physics Grad

          of student teaching? That's the Swiss way and they arguably have the best schools on the planet.

          I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

          by leolabeth on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:21:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just started doing it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I really don't see what's so hard about teaching below the college level.

            •  Then you're a natural and lucky. (0+ / 0-)

              Might not everyone be so lucky? A year of student teaching would separate those who take to it and those who are coachable from those who think they want to be teachers for a variety of bad reasons and will likely fail and therefore fail their students.

              Have you ever had a bad teacher? I have. It's not pretty.

              I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

              by leolabeth on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:30:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Come teach at my school for a year (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and see if you say that.  We are 95% free and reduced lunch, 50% English Language Learners, and the largest elementary in the district with 960 students.  We require detailed lesson plans with strategies listed for ELLs, posted subject objectives, posted language objectives and state testing accountability.

              If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. --Mark Twain

              by Desert Rose on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:51:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Then I would suggest (0+ / 0-)

              that perhaps you're not doing it right, or, that you're not as good at it as you think you are.

              I am truly not trying to offend, but I know no other way to say it.

              It's like my students, who think they have an assignment licked and say "that was too easy, Miss!" and upon closer inspection, I find that they didn't apply a concept correctly and therefore missed the whole point.

              No teacher worth their salt would so casually make  a comment such as the one you've made. Teaching is not easy, it's challenging. It's supposed to be a challenge. How on earth can you say you honestly challenge your students to stretch and grow in their education when you don't challenge yourself to stretch and grow in your profession?

              A little self-reflection perhaps? That's one of those things they constantly push in those teacher-education classes you decry.

              Now, I agree that a certification does not guarantee you will be a brilliant teacher. But to posit that teaching is easy in an effort to make this point is simply irresponsible. And its insulting to those of us who take teaching seriously enough to get the proper certification.

              Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -Yoda-

              by Young Grasshopper on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 04:16:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Education Degree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Young Grasshopper

          Wow, that comment was so incredibly disrespectful to all of the professional educators out there.  Until someone steps in a classroom, they have no idea how difficult of a position it is.  Undervaluing teachers is part of the problem.  Successfully managing a classroom full of different abilities, learning styles, and disabilities is an extraordinary task.  An education degree provides vital instruction and practice in navigating these crucial education issues.  A "basic liberal arts degree" does not instruct on dyslexia or working with auditory learners vs. visual learners.  It doesn't teach you valuable ESL strategies, or how to teach basic literacy skills to a 16 year old mom.  It doesn't give an opportunity to observe teachers/students in the classroom. Nor does it teach you basic classroom management tools.  I could go on and on...

    •  "We tried that once" (6+ / 0-)

      "it didn't work."

      The bystanders tried to give CPR to the victim, but the victim died.  So CPR must be worthless.  Unless... maybe some people do CPR better than others?  Maybe nothing can be expected to work 100% of the time?

      I'm all for creativity in teacher certification.   But surely it cannot hurt to require some degree of familiarity with the conventional theories of education, such as might be acquired by reading a few books or (gasp) taking an academic course.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:37:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ROFLMAO! (0+ / 0-)

        If you really think that people with education degrees actually apply "conventional theories of education" to their work, I guess your argument makes sense.

        And your CPR example is what made me laugh.  I have no idea how you mean it to apply to the argument at hand.

        •  I am applying it to the example provided (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CA Physics Grad

          To wit: certification does not work in Indiana, therefore it cannot work.

          I would have thought that was clear.  Perhaps Indiana's certification standards are bad.  Perhaps even standards that improve the average quality of teaching sometimes don't ensure that every teacher is good.   Is that clear enough?

          With respect to teaching -- have you ever done any?  I have, both as an in classroom volunteer and doing enrichment courses.  It's not simple.   I certainly expect my kids' teachers to be able to do more than stand in front of the class and drone on, then see whether they absorbed anything with multiple choice quizzes.

          But perhaps, education degrees are another "we tried that once" scenario.   Maybe not every school granting such degrees is equal.

          I've lost my faith in nihilism

          by grumpynerd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:58:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah! A bad analogy! That explains it! (0+ / 0-)

            Yes, as a matter of fact I have.  It's easy, if you have a college education.

            And no, education degrees are universally considered easy.  Perhaps if we raised the standards on teaching degrees.

            Next question?

            •  Actually it's a good analogy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CA Physics Grad

              if you get the point that your personal experience is not the end of everything to be known.

              It is certainly not the case that every education degree in the world is easy.   Taking a minor in education at schools like U Chicago or Yale aren't exactly the easiest path to a career above your talent.  Getting a masters in Math education from Bard College is not for the lazy.

              I'm not saying that an education degree should be the only path to becoming a teacher;  I think that alternative paths are a good thing.  However, I think there are things that people taking those paths can learn that would make them better teachers.  I don't think it makes sense to be proud of being ignorant of a field is much of a recommendation for people who are thinking about entering it.

              I've lost my faith in nihilism

              by grumpynerd on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:46:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Grrrr! (0+ / 0-)

          Speak for yourself, sir (or madam).

          Oh, but wait. You didn't actually study those theories did you? Since you didn't get any teacher-education? How could you apply them if you never studied them?

          At any rate, I actually take my teaching seriously enough to study and apply some of those theories. Perhaps the program at your school or the state standards are the problem, specifically? In any event, watch out for painting with broad brush, because a lot of folks on here will call you on it.

          Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -Yoda-

          by Young Grasshopper on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 04:30:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  When did you go through? Because the criteria (0+ / 0-)

      has actually changed quite a bit with NCLB, and it may be a bit more effective now

      "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last."
      ~ Barack Obama
      You dopes just got SCHOOL'D-- OBAMA Style!

      by Muzikal203 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:58:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even more unbelievable are (0+ / 0-)

      the people with education degrees and yet uncertified.  It happens more often than you think.

  •  Public schools = socialism = (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nobody at all, misreal

    = teachers are all socialists </snark>

    Jmac really let all his ugly right wing crap hang out last night, didn't he.

    Seriously, where would we be without having good teachers in our lives?? (I'd have been in BIG trouble...)

  •  Krugman nailed it: Repubs "the party of stupid" n (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muzikal203, Livvy5, orangeuglad

    How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

    by Words In Action on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:24:59 AM PDT

  •  I was half listening (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to the debate half reading the live blogging here and then he said that crazy sh*t and I jumped up out of my seat nearly knocking over my computer.  With the problems in our educational system and I know because my girls attend public school, you want to send possibly unqualified folks in to teach our kids.  If he ever could have had my vote, this would have lost it.  Outrageous!!!

    I have that readiness to throw the bums out my friends!

    by Joy from Illinois on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:25:05 AM PDT

    •  I didn't jump up because I heard him say it (0+ / 0-)

      before. But it's still dumb

      "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last."
      ~ Barack Obama
      You dopes just got SCHOOL'D-- OBAMA Style!

      by Muzikal203 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:00:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know, (0+ / 0-)

      for me McCain never was a consideration, I have to admit that in years past, I actually was undecided a good ways through the election season...but this year, there is nothing, absolutely nothing about John McCain that has any appeal to me...

      "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine." Republican Senator Thad Cochran on John McCain

      by Rumour95 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 01:10:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This former teacher (0+ / 0-)

    ...was stunned. STUNNED. Now, I will say that certification is so varied from state to state that it's unbelievable...and that the fact that my own certification lapsed in New York actually is one of the obstacles to returning to teaching. It is a TON of paperwork, but to just let vets leapfrog over it? Are you kidding? This is goign to improve our schools? Not.

  •  If that were such a good idea... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    why doesn't he offer displaced professionals teaching jobs without certificates.  That would make a whole lot more sense than taking soldiers with no little or no college education and puting them in the classroom.

    I don't agree with either, but this just looks like another desparate gimmick.

    Recommended by:
    nobody at all

    Yes!!!!!  YES!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!

    •  Didn't the Governator make that movie? (0+ / 0-)
    •  hmmm (0+ / 0-)


      One of the finest Kindergarten teachers I've met was a Troops to Teachers participant.  He had an excellent rapport with the children, was engaging, and intelligent.

      This is a nasty bias of all military personnel being dumb.

      Stop this, please.

      "Only real reform will pry government from the grasp of the special interests who have made a mockery of reform and progress for far too long." Howard Dean

      by aureas on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:58:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did he have to get certified first? (0+ / 0-)

        McCain's point was that, basically, John Rambo could come back from Nam and, without education or certification, start teaching our children.

        •  he's in the same alternative program i'm in (0+ / 0-)

          getting the appropriate teacher training to be in the classroom.  getting certified.

          McCain is a lunatic.  In all of my comments in this diary, i've been negligent in pointing out that I'm responding more directly to commentors and the diarist than to McCain.  McCain's views on education fit nicely into the repub mold of FUCK EM and LEAVE EM.  

          So, to answer your question, yes, he's getting his certification; McCain is an idiot.  He's not John Rambo, but a gentle, caring individual who happens to have spent time in the military.

          "Only real reform will pry government from the grasp of the special interests who have made a mockery of reform and progress for far too long." Howard Dean

          by aureas on Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 05:30:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  DANTES Troops to Teachers website (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

    by Benintn on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:26:37 AM PDT

    •  Excellent link. (0+ / 0-)

      It's a good thing to check these sites a bit more closely.  While the DANTES site is (as DoD sites often are) arranged in a rather odd way for civilians, it gets pretty clear on the TTT pages that it's purpose is to help DoD personnel obtain certification, not avoid it.  They have reciprocal agreements with 49 of the states (Nevada is the only holdout, apparently) for administering tests and coordinating training, but the requirements remain the same.

      What this boils down to is McCain doesn't even know the nature of the program he's touting, since it doesn't seek to place uncertified teachers anywhere.  Chalk up another policy preparation failure for McCain and his team of incompetents.

      Maybe we should send them back to school...

      History has a well known reality bias.

      by Stwriley on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:29:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course (3+ / 0-)

    It only makes sense if you think about it.  McCain had no other qualification to be a politician than his military service.  If its good enough for him, it should be good enough for any job.

    Politicians cannot be depended upon to act in the interests of the public in the absence of collective pressure.

    by Reframing the Debate on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:27:30 AM PDT

  •  Every educator out there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dauphin, jsyaruss

    ..gave an audible gasp, including me. The idiot.

    How we know Daffy Duck is Republican: "It's mine, understand? Mine, all mine! Get back down there! Down down down! Go go go! Mine mine mine! Mwahahaha!" --BiPM

    by rhetoricus on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:27:48 AM PDT

  •  This was just another play to his base (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, Stwriley, cville townie

    Same as Sarah Palin was.  To McCain's base, our troops are uniformly, honorable, almost christ-like entities who represent the absolute best America offers and who can do no wrong.  

    Of course they wouldn't need silly teaching certificates.  

    A statement like that shows he is desperate to hold on to his base.  It's an indication of fear and weakness and in the end means nothing.

  •  this indie was floored (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, nobody at all, Stwriley

    and everyone in my house from my husband to my 17 year old step son was like: what innate qualifications does a person have just because they are a veteran to teach my kids? Its as if McCain thinks that just because you served in the military you are automatically qualified for anything.

    And with all due respect to our veterans, many will be returning with some serious serious psychological issues. Not sure I want them to be teaching my 6 year old daughter (if I had one). Every teacher needs to be certified and cleared to teach/deal with children.

    •  But they are HEROES, dammit, HEROES! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird, mdmslle

      They are qualified to do anything! How dare you disrespect these heroes by suggesting otherwise?

      Fast track veterans to teaching!
      Fast track veterans to stock broking!
      Fast track veterans to medical practice!
      Fast track veterans to public works engineering!

      You can shoot an assault rifle wearing sweaty fatigues, you can damn well slice a silly little tumor out of some non-veteran layabout's silly little head!

      -9.63, 0.00
      Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from idiotic American minds.

      by nobody at all on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:47:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Certification (6+ / 0-)

    A buddy and I have both taken tons of math courses and have works under review in prestigious statistical journals.  But we realized that because we haven't taken basic COLLEGE GEOMETRY, in a lot of states we'd be ineligible to teach high school math.  I find that utterly preposterous, especially when I remember how most of my HS math teachers were teaching out of the solution key.

    Not to say McCain's solution is an answer, but there are lots of qualified and engaged teachers who get turned off by the huge certification and credentialing bureaucracy set up by the teacher unions.

    Why?  Shouldn't we be trying to attract the best people to the teaching profession?  Isn't that what good government should do?

    •  Agreed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  You make the mistake of many non-teachers... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in equating knowledge of your subject with knowledge of how to teach it; these are not the same thing.

      I am now in the transition from being a college level adjunct professor (with a doctorate) to being a HS teacher and can address to this point directly from personal experience.  Despite having been in a college classroom for ten years, I knew nothing of how to teach and (even more importantly) manage a room full of 10th graders, despite my unquestioned knowledge of my subject.  What I lacked were the methods and techniques to actually reach younger people with the knowledge that I have; that's what certification is all about.

      I don't doubt that you know far more (and far more complex) math than you'll even be called upon to use as a HS teacher, but that won't get an average 15 year old any closer to understanding that geometry.  Only the knowledge of how to bridge that gap (and not just "teach out of the solution key"; something you seem to have been less than thrilled with and rightly so) by the use of careful and well establish teaching techniques will achieve the real goal here: student understanding of the subject and resulting achievement.

      History has a well known reality bias.

      by Stwriley on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:12:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Everyone can agree on an ideal. (0+ / 0-)

        The ideal is teachers with both subject matter expertise and special training in teaching techniques.

        The problem is that we probably can't meet that ideal.  We currently have a shortage of math and science teachers with adequate subject matter expertise.  The question is whether and how to compromise the ideal to bring in more math and science teachers.  Can "on the job training" be a substitute for making folks with relevant expertise return to school for an ed degree?  It's not unreasonable to think that it can.  How about setting up a mentoring program with senior faculty with observation and performance reviews for non-cert hires in math and science?  True, this comes up short of the ideal but the point of an ideal is to articulate a set of goals, not to rule out any pragmatic solutions to meet some goals that may fall short of other goals.  We can meet the goal of bringing in more teachers with subject matter expertise by partially compromising on the goal of requiring special training in teaching techniques.

        •  Great idea (0+ / 0-)

          Providing for a probationary/mentoring period probably makes a lot of sense.  Perhaps something akin to apprenticeships in the skilled trades would get subject-matter-qualified teachers into the classroom immediately.

        •  Several things that you should also know... (0+ / 0-)

          First, many urban districts (like the one where I live) already have programs for non-certified people (with at least a Bachelors) to begin teaching while earning their certification (and they have to attend a preliminary intensive training semester before they can begin, too.)  The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows is our local program, and yes, they concentrate on math and science teachers.  It's also well to remember that all teacher certification requirements (at least all I've ever seen) already require student teaching, which most certainly is "on the job training."  It's also possible to get teaching certification in most states without ever getting an Education degree; you still have to get education classwork, but it is less than for a formal degree (i.e., a masters if you already have a subject bachelors degree.)

          The idea that you can just get "on the job training" without preparation and much of the classroom content of a certification program just won't work.  There's too much specialized knowledge that's needed these days, too much that you need to know before you ever set foot into a classroom.  It's like suggesting that a firefighter really doesn't need training if he knows what a hose is.  This is not about ideals but about what gets qualified teachers into classrooms.

          History has a well known reality bias.

          by Stwriley on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:30:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just want to see research (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            play jurist

            That shows that existing certification programs actually increase the quality of instruction.  How would we measure it?  Have there been any randomized studies?  Do states that have more strict certification requirements provide better education?

            The problem with certification is that it attempts to establish educational quality without doing anything to measure the effect of policy on outcomes.  I'm sure we could count on the teacher unions to accept a randomized study of certification standards?

            •  There's a host of it... (0+ / 0-)

              far too much to make even a stab at a comprehensive list here.  Try this fine work (with a lot of empirical data) for a start.  It's from the Economic Policy Institute, by the way, not an education organization, so it comes with less of the suspicion of bias most people have toward education research in general.  It also specifically points out that math teachers produce better student outcomes if they follow a traditional certification path rather than an emergency or non-certification path into the classroom.

              If you need more than that, I'll give you the answer I give my students when they ask such (lazy) questions: go look up the research for yourself and read if you really want to learn about it.

              History has a well known reality bias.

              by Stwriley on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:30:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Randomized vs. observational (0+ / 0-)

                I'll ignore the insult and return to the subject matter at hand.  I don't want to become an education policy expert--I just want people who defend our failing Byzantine educational bureaucracy to back up their arguments with facts.  

                You seem to be the subject matter expert here, so I was hoping you'd be able come up with a single randomized study that tries to examine the effects of teacher credentials on student performance.  I haven't been able to find a good one outside of the study of school vouchers.  And certainly nothing to suggest that credentials make a difference.

                I would note that the EPI summary of the research refers almost entirely to observational studies.  I am especially amused that the author defends the research by reference to "sophisticated" metaanalyses of existing studies as if they provide a consensus.  Reference to methodological sophistication is always the last refuge of academic scoundrels.  In any case, meta-analyses are plagued by publication bias--estimates of small effects and non-effects rarely get published.

          •  I'm for getting qualified teachers in classrooms. (0+ / 0-)

            You compare some one with expertise in mathematics that may want to teach math with someone who wants to be a firefighter because they "know what a hose" is.  This analogy confuses know-how and know-that with know-what.  Some one with expertise in mathematics does not simply know what mathematics is.  Almost everyone knows what mathematics is.  The expert actually knows how to set up and solve mathematical problems.  The expert also has specific know-that in his or her subject area.  

            Furthermore, isn't the person with no subject matter expertise who's hired to teach math just because they're taken the education classes you argue must be required like someone that knows nothing about fires but does know what fighting is?  I agree that this is about getting qualified teachers into classrooms.  That was, in fact, my very point.  In many cases, as I understand it, teachers are unqualified because they have no expertise in what they are teaching.

            If we have a shortage of qualified teachers we can do one of two things.  We can relax our ideals for subject matter expertise, which I think is too often done, or we can relax our ideals for general coursework in education, which I think is too seldom done.  I don't know how you got from my previous post that I thought this was about ideals and not about getting qualified teachers into classes because that's contrary to everything I said.

            •  Incorrect (0+ / 0-)

              The only teacher who are trained as generalists in the way you describe are Elementary Ed. teachers or Special Ed. teachers, both of whom need to be generalists.  At the middle school and high school levels, no one trains generalists anymore.  That doesn't mean that teachers don't have to work outside their specialty in plenty of disadvantaged districts, but that's an expedient until properly certified specialists can be hired, which is alway the goal.  That's the whole point of certification; you have to prove your subject knowledge and your knowledge of teaching.  The entire Praxis II series of certification tests is on subject knowledge.

              As to my analogy, not as flawed as you'd like.  I should have thrown in a bit more to make the point clear, but here it goes:

              Taking someone who has no training as a teacher (a mathematician, say) and sticking them in the classroom to teach students that way is no different from taking the same person and putting them on a firetruck to go fight fires.  In both cases they're an expert, but not at what they're actually doing, where they are rank amateurs.

              I say this from experience, as I pointed out originally.  I am a subject specialist myself, with a doctorate to boot, but that didn't make me qualified to teach children any more than it made me qualified to fight fires; I could do both without training, but the results would very likely be poorly educated children and a pile of smoking ruins (or is it the other way around, it's so hard to tell.)

              If you really want to solve the problem, then you've posed the wrong solution.  Why relax standards for teaching certification instead of recruiting and training more teachers and especially extending programs like the Teaching Fellows to do so?  Why not give transitioning professionals and subject specialists support and (dare I say it) even pay while they get certified?  That's a solution, not watering down teaching standards so we end up with another set of teachers who don't know what they're doing.

              History has a well known reality bias.

              by Stwriley on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 08:20:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Teacher's Unions set certification standards? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am not sure where you live but in the states I have taught in (3) the State Legislature and state departments of education sets up certification requirements.
      I realize that it is easy to use the "Teacher Unions" as a punching bag. But if College Geometry is beneath you then don't become a teacher.
      I know a lot of rural farm kids who know how to drive because they have done it for years before turning 16 but they still have to prove they have a basic knowledge of driving, why shouldn't we have minimal requirements for teaching.
      I know some will scoff at my analogy and that meeting minimal requirements does not guarantee competency.

      •  Teacher unions love credentialing (0+ / 0-)

        I'll concede to Stwriley (above) that connecting to students is not something that relates only to subject matter.  But why not leave this evaluation to a probationary period where school districts decide whether to bring qualified teachers on?

        I don't see how credentialing necessarily makes a difference.  Commanding respect in the classroom is something some of my teachers did well, and some did very poorly.  Inevitably, the teachers who had command of both the material and themselves were in charge of the classroom.  I'd be stunned if that was correlated in some way with their credentials.

        I think we know that if it weren't for teacher unions that we wouldn't have such a complex and burdensome credentialing system.  They want to attach a measurable credential to just about everything.  It would be great to think that this translates into teacher quality.  No doubt it excludes the most grossly unqualified and unmotivated from the teaching profession.  But what it turns into is a racket where teachers collect part-time master's and doctorate degrees in pedagogy only in order to move up the collective bargaining agreement's career ladder.  (I find it telling that my best HS teachers got their master's degrees in their subject area.)

        If we're concerned about making sure teachers are qualified, why don't we establish a system based on actual performance, rather than based on credentials?  And yes, it can be done using randomized evaluations.

  •  It is inaccurate to say that Teach for America (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    participants do not get certified. While they teach they are in school and take an alternative certification test. This is also an extremely competitive program to get into (I didn't) and only accepts people with college degrees.

    As a grad student working towards special ed certification and substitute teaching full time I really do not appreciate that line of debate.

    "indifference is the one thing that makes the very angels weep."-Cornell West

    by misreal on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:29:05 AM PDT

  •  We All Know That Anyone Can Teach (0+ / 0-)
    and everyone is an artist....yes?  I'm so sick of these very wrong assumptions.  Enough said since  I don't have time for a proper rant today.

    The truth about John McCain's Keating Cheating

    by tikkun on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:29:38 AM PDT

  •  TFA and certification / exams (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know anything about Troops to Teachers, but Teach for America teachers (we have several on the staff of my school) earn their certification while teaching.  They also take classes during their first year of teaching and through the summer.  While its true they don't have to be certified to start teaching, it's not like they just jump into it with no training or guidance.

    As far as examinations go, any education program that doesn't require its members to display a basic level of knowledge in their content areas is utterly worthless and should not exist.  I teach in Illinois, which is supposedly one of the hardest states to get certified in, and those exams were pretty easy.  I don't understand what the big deal about taking them is, other than that they're often at 7 o'clock on Saturday mornings and I like to party.

    •  TFA doesn't require certification (0+ / 0-)

      Certification is a state by state issue. In DC public, teachers are not required to have certification to start teaching. Some never obtain certification at all. Many of these are actually TFA alums. AND TFA alumns are also the least likely (in DCPS) to either understand solidarity or be active in the union.

      Rhee has been awful and the praise she received last night made me ill. I realize Obama doesn't know anything about this woman or what she's been doing, but praising her was so uncalled for, ugh. And McCain's fantasies about her abilities, aaarrrggghhh.

      DCPS is understaffed this year. After 5 weeks of school, math and sciences all over the district went unfilled. She fired uncertified teachers (fine with me) but didn't moved to assist any of them in obtaining certification (many of which were experts in their field, including my daughter's old Algebra teacher from Jefferson).

      For Rhee and the young DC mayor, Fenty, this past year has been nothing more than a firing spree of administrators, teachers and anyone they could clean out. They made an offer to the teacher's union for the new contract calling for significant pay increases in exchange for the right to fire any teacher without regard to time on the job. They claim this is to get rid of bad teachers who aren't performing, but when the union tried to negotiate this point, the concept of what would be used to determine "bad teachers" Rhee refused to discuss and negotiations broke down. Plan B for Rhee is a regulatory change that she pushed through over the summer giving her the right to allow principals to fire teachers after 90 days of poor performance. But again, performance isn't addressed. What makes "good" performance? Is it putting a teacher who is bucking the principal into a class with kids who are out of control and then hoping the teacher fails so you can finally rid the school of that kind of teacher element?

      Sorry, it's been a big issue on the blogs in DC and I've covered this issue a lot on my blog as well. Fenty and Rhee are just utterly anti-union and the praising of the two of them last night reminded me of exactly why "bad" performance is such a bizarre term. My daughter never had a bad teacher in DCPS. She had bad teachers in the charter school system in DC, but not in the DC public schools. And still, her schools were failing schools. Clearly, there's more here than just teachers.

      The most important word in the language of the working class is `solidarity.'--Harry Bridges, longshore union leader

      by Bendygirl on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:59:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Enough with the broad characterization (0+ / 0-)

        TFA is across the whole country. I know you have a DC lens and sounds like DC is mad at their most famous TFA alum but I wouldn't let that force you to brush off TFA. Perhaps not all needed certification. I needed a certification. I needed to pass a math test which most I would predict couldn't without some intense studying. Perhaps some were not active in the union. I know people in other regions that went on strike and were on the picket line.  

        •  re-read my note (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Certification is a state by state issue

          The Ohio certification process is 3 steps including a subject specific test and one after at least 1 year of full time teaching.

          I'm not a fan of TFA, clearly you are, but that doesn't make my points any less valid than yours.

          The most important word in the language of the working class is `solidarity.'--Harry Bridges, longshore union leader

          by Bendygirl on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:38:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  With all due respect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    play jurist

    I somewhat agree with McCain on this one. I am not a troll nor do I like McCain whatsoever. However, I think that there are many many qualified individuals out there who could and maybe even would like to teach (after 15-20 years in the workforce) that see the teacher certifications as a road barrier. This is one of the reason's why private schools (who don't require certifications) attract great teachers (and a boatload of money). That is not to say a teacher who has a certification is any less qualified, but there are also plenty of teachers who are certified that are incompetent and unqualified to teach. I have been to both Public and Private schools and I have had great teachers at both. I have also had teachers at both who were wholly unfit for their profession. I happen to think that for better quality schools and teachers the solution isn't certification. The solution is to pay teachers much better (to help attract the best candidates) and to have a rigorous interview process and close supervision of the teacher in the first year to make sure he or she is a good fit. I see teacher certifications and low pay as the biggest barriers to a better education system but obviously many others share a different perspective and will disagree with me vehemently.

    •  we definitely need to pay teachers more (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but as a professor and the husband of a teacher, I have to say that there is a clear benefit to at least putting a little effort into making sure teachers have some background on how to actually, you know, teach.

      Curriculum development is simply NOT something you can pick up on the battlefield.

      Nor is test development, motivation, reinforcement, lesson plan structure, understanding different learning styles, how to implement individualized instruction, and well, everything else!

      •  well (0+ / 0-)

        if we payed teachers more, there certainly would be a greater incentive to get a teacher certification. The problem is that a teacher should obviously have a great deal of education. Generally speaking, the greater the education, the greater the commodity you are. While many may be lured to teaching and the great lifestyle of teaching, they will use their degrees for higher paying jobs. Those people that are unhappy with their current positions and would like to teach shy away from Public schools because of the teacher certification requirements and end up staying in their jobs or going to private schools because of the lack of a certificate and emphasis on education and expertise in their field

    •  When you step into a classroom with a bunch of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, katynka

      students from all different backgdounds including those with special needs you can tell me how easy it is for people from other professions to become teachers. I currently am in a program with a few individuals who are switching careers and they were utterly clueless. I couldn't imagine if they just got there own classroom right away. Totally not okay.

      If you really want to switch careers there are a number of programs that allow you to do so in a year, 18months, 2 years. I'm doing it free of charge. So I just don't really feel that sorry for these people.

      "indifference is the one thing that makes the very angels weep."-Cornell West

      by misreal on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:41:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How are you doing it free of charge, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if you don't mind telling us?

        That is the one thing that stops many of us from getting into these certification programs: no money.

        Having to swear off a salary of any kind for six months while student teaching is just not possible for most people, including me.

        Sarah Palin's governing philosophy: "Choice for me, but not for thee."

        by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:37:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  in Texas, you can do it while still working. (0+ / 0-)

          The alternative certification program requires you to take one class, 2-3 exams, and then, you get a job as a teaching "intern" for one year.  During your internship year, you are paid and treated as a full 1st-year teacher. You are still meeting requirements to get certified and actually teaching under a "probationary teaching certificate."

          If you started the program while still working at your other job, you could switch to teaching without ever missing a paycheck. It would take effort, night classes, taking days off for interviews, etc., but it's do-able.

          The whole program costs around $4-5k.

    •  private schools don't pay well (0+ / 0-)

      My daughter has a scholarship to a private school, it doesn't pay their teachers well.

      The solution is way more complicated than pay and your solution assumes that teachers are bad teachers. The example they used last night was DCPS. My daughter attended Green Elementary in DC. She had 18 kids in her 2nd grade and 3rd grade classes.  

      On any given day, she might be 1 of 10 or less to show up to class.

      She NEVER had a bad teacher.

      At the end of 3rd grade, her principal was attacked by two fourth grade students. He was hospitalized with broken ribs, broken collar bone and a broken arm. My daughter never attended another day of school at Green. She then went into the Charter sytem.

      At Howard Road Academy (charter school) she was in a class of 25 students for 4th grade. This was not my favorite teacher and I don't think she got the attention or work she did in DCPS. in 5th grade she was 1 of 33 students. In December, I placed her at SAIL, another charter school. She was 1 of 12 kids and they had a TA in each class. But she had to go to school with kids with severe behavior problems and for 6th and 7th grades, she had no science instruction. So, back to DCPS we went for 8th grade at Jefferson.

      The office staff was terrible. They placed her in the worst class, but she got Algebra and Science.

      No school is perfect, but the answer isn't paying more (althuogh that's a good start), it's about making sure the kids who attend are raised to be members of a society and all too often, in DC, this just isn't the case.

      The most important word in the language of the working class is `solidarity.'--Harry Bridges, longshore union leader

      by Bendygirl on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:09:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That depends on the private school. (0+ / 0-)

        Vocational schools pay their teachers horribly but they generally cost a lot less then the big name private schools (who pay their teachers well).

        •  what big name privates (0+ / 0-)

          pay better than public?  I'm sure there are some, but I've never met a teacher in private (including my daughter's school) that wouldn't be interested in the pay of public schools.

          The union fights for teachers in public schools. Private schools don't usually have anyone fighting for them.

          The most important word in the language of the working class is `solidarity.'--Harry Bridges, longshore union leader

          by Bendygirl on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:40:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  i heard that and thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "what a joke". I guess he thinks veterans can go right into NASA and build space rockets too, without any training. There are fundamental aspects of teaching that must be known.

  •  he's always said that, which is part of why I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I HATE listening to him BS on education. He obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. I have a friend who's a teacher and I saw her doing the student teaching thing and studying for the PRAXIS and dealing with trying to find a job upon graduation, and now McCain wants to make all of that for naut. She went on to get a masters in Administration, but still, it's hard enough out there for teachers.

    Also, simply being "smart" or being an "expert" doesn't mean you have the capacity to teach. I'm in law school right now, and there are lots of "smart" people in my classes, but they'd suck ass as teachers. There is more to being a teacher than "knowing stuff."

    "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last."
    ~ Barack Obama
    You dopes just got SCHOOL'D-- OBAMA Style!

    by Muzikal203 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:31:23 AM PDT

    •  yea and there are a lot of (0+ / 0-)

      teachers with these certificates who suck at teaching. Getting a certificate doesn't mean you will be a good teacher. But if you raise teachers pay to the six figure range you will attract a lot better candidates. I would absolutely support my taxes going up to increase teacher pay rather then a wall street bailout.

  •  From war zone to the class room (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    With no training. Yeah, that sounds safe

    I want my country back

    by LoLoLaLa on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:31:50 AM PDT

  •  Yeah - that was weird (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I thought so a high school drop out vet comes home and starts teaching. Nothing against people who drop out of school, but teaching is actually hard and you can learn how to do it if you study it - just like say flying airplanes. Dropping someone like that into a classroom is a recipe for failure.

    I have to mention the "health of the woman" thing too. Yeah - those women just use this excuse so they can abort the child they've carried for so many months. This idea that a lot of people just can't wait to have an abortion. And we need John to stop them. Yikes. As Obama said "Nobody likes abortions." Amen.

    the future begins

    by zozie on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:32:11 AM PDT

  •  As a teacher... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sister Havana, jsyaruss, Muzikal203, Maori

    I found that statement to be utterly ridiculous!!!  How about some unqualified person teaching your kids, McCain.  Oh, I forgot, yours went to private schools.

  •  Yes, you did notice that correctly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stwriley, orangedem, carolh11

    made my HS Senior sit up and decry the idea.

    Some school districts allow, and help fund, people coming from other professions to begin teaching, with the understanding they will become certified within x amount of time.  Usually those folks agree to work in 'challenging' geographical areas for a given period of time.  I'm not sure if we still do, but Chicago has had that program.

    I think highly qualified teachers are important, nay, crucial to improving our generally abysmal education system.  But, to be the devil's advocate here for a bit, a certification does not guarantee a great teacher, any more than it guarantees a great doctor.  I think certification requirements diminish the probability of large numbers of flat out incompetent teachers, but do not guarantee great educators.

    As a parent who has taken my responsibility to be the first line of education very seriously, I've seen longstanding teachers who are technically skilled, but uninspiring, and new teachers who create sea changes in a student's intellectual paradigms (in the good way).  It's obvious which of those people I'd want in front of my child's classroom.

    IMO, there is not one solution to bringing our education system up to par (including requiring certification). I'm really glad I don't have to figure out any of the many components which will finally bring our childrens' education up to the par of other developed nations (and yes, I understand we're slipping, or have already kerplunked out of that group).  I just know what dealing with my part of my daughter's education requires, and I've been doing those things since she was born.  (Sony and Nintendo and cable TV providers probably wouldn't be too happy with me, but the book publishers are thrilled.)  

    Never get the mothers too angry.

    by pvlb on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:32:48 AM PDT

  •  Is Teach for America (0+ / 0-)

    the new teaching certification for potential teachers under the McPalin plan?

  •  Waiving cert reqs for some folks is a good idea. (0+ / 0-)

    Especially for people with work experience or graduate degrees in math and science.

    I'll have spent 4 years getting a math/philosophy degree as an undergrad, 2 years getting a math MS, and 6 years getting a philosophy PhD.  Hopefully I'll get a university job teaching philosophy.  If not, I'd be very happy helping to meet the need for math teachers in our schools but insulted by the suggestion that I need to go back to school to do so.

    I don't know about this troops to teachers idea though.  With all due respect to the troops, I don't see how military experience prepares one for teaching.

    •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

      I can possibly get on board with some kind of alternative path to teaching for someone who has experience in a field or graduate training, but I think there should be some kind of additional education for those who want to teach in public schools.

      Graduate education is great, but I don't think it necessarily means that one is suited to teach at the secondary level (or even in college, for that matter).  I'm currently earning a Ph.D. in history.  Now, in terms of subject matter, that would certainly qualify me to teach a high school history course (I've taught a course at the university level), but I wouldn't say that I'd be ready to teach high school-age students.  The structure of the classroom is different, the curriculum is different, and the developmental level of the students is different.  I'd definitely want some additional training.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:08:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about peer review? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Linnaeus, LynneK

        Sort of like an apprenticeship.  Open up hiring of non-certs with subject matter expertise.  Have experienced teachers observe and mentor.  Provide a year-one review process by senior teachers and admins.  Have employment beyond year three subject to a second performance review.  Folks that don't have a knack can learn from their mentors after year one.  Folks that don't learn can be directed to other career options after year three.

        I've substitute taught in high schools, taught a first-year composition/rhetoric course to college freshman, taught an intro to philosophy course, and am teaching a logic course.  I've got experience and expertise, and I'm good at teaching.  Our schools need people like me.  Suppose the challenging philosophy job market doesn't shake out for me.  I'll be in my early thirties and I'm ready to start a career and a family, not to go back for two or three more years for an ed degree and certification.  I'd probably look at career options outside education or at private schools.  In my opinion, it's the public schools' loss because I am a good teacher.

  •  It works real well ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... if you think our schools should be military recruiting centers.  Mr. Hero 'teaches' the kids - no certificate, but brave men who've bled for this country don't need no stinkin' certificate - and the students sign up to emulate him, etc.

  •  I'm a tutor - I don't think it's that bad (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a tutor, no certification required.  I feel like I do a great job.  Taking the Praxis is on my list of things to do so I can market myself better, but I don't really think it makes me any better a tutor and I don't plan to spend more than a few hours studying for what should be an easy exam.

    I don't know exactly what McCain was talking about, but this is just another willy nilly idea he's tossed out there which may or may not be a good one...he never takes the time to explain what the actual idea is.  He might as well use air quotes and say the "quality" of our educators lol.  Obviously not the best communicator.  Thank God he won't be elected as he's got the potential to say something really inappropriate to a foreign leader and start WW3.

    •  Tutoring is different. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Most of the time with tutoring it is either one-on- one or with a very small group.  Teaching to class sizes from 20-40 (different skill levels) requires training.  
      I do think that there are plenty of people that have sufficient skills to teach to certain subject areas, but knowing best practices and strategies that can work is a whole different ball game.
      Thanks for helping out and tutoring and I have no doubt you are knowledgable, but teaching everyday, up to 200 students a day takes time and skills to hone.

      "[People] are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound." - James Allen

      by gchap33 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:18:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GI Joes (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently, McSame thinks that military service entitles you to do anything without qualifications, a teacher or even POTUS.  Maybe its to make up for the fact that he's consistently voted against Veteran's benefits.  I just about fell out of my chair last night when he came up with the "waiving" of certification proposal while, at the same time declaring that incompetent teachers should be forced to seek other employment.  huh???

  •  actually, I disagree (0+ / 0-)

    Speaking as someone who holds a teaching certificate, I have to say there is a lot of merit to criticism of the current certification process as it relates to teaching qualifications.

    For one thing there is a huge need for teachers in math and science and the evidence shows that there are people in the sciences who make fabulous teachers as a career shift, and who need an expedited process to become qualified to teach.  Speech-language pathologists like myself know that therapists in the private sector who may have forgone the teacher certification hoops in college while focusing on a clinical track are still more than qualified to work in public schools.  

    And it is true that private schools have enjoyed outstanding results despite not having certification requirements, which kind of leads one to believe that certification is not an essential ingredient for successful schools.  This isn't to say there doesn't need to be some process, but many of the things that are included in teacher certification requirements need to be looked at in an innovative way.  And actually I think Obama would likely be willing to be creative on this too.

    So I wouldn't choose this as a battleground against McCain, myself.

  •  McCain wants to do for education... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what he did for banking?

  •  50% of military will drop out of teaching (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, cville townie

    They won't like the bureaucracy.  They'll hit a kid who talks back.  They will only  teach using the questions in the teacher edition.  They won't be prepared without learning how to teach and how to assess.

    The military who HAVE gone through teacher ed. here in Florida are well prepared to teach.

    Not wanting to get the experiences and the courses will hamper their likelihood of making the transition to teaching.  I've never had ex-military say that coursework, practica, and student teaching was a waste of time.

  •  OMFG!!!!!!!!!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bleigh82, winter outhouse, Ebby

    Thank you for posting this! I fell out of my fucking chair when he said that. This guy is seriously out of touch or is crazy as a shit-house rat.

    Straight from Iraq to the classroom without certification or exams. Hmmm... brilliant John. Fucking brilliant, you turd burglar.

  •  You Heard Him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, LynneK

     My wife, who taught proudly for 28 years, almost lunged at the TV when he said that.  He seems to be part of the crowd who thinks that anybody can enter a classroom and teach.  Those of us who have seen how much work it is both inside and outside of the classroom know better.

    "Don't be encumbered by history. Go off and do something wonderful." Bob Noyce

    by Arizona Mike on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:40:23 AM PDT

  •  Well he is consistent... (0+ / 0-)

    he believes being a former POW makes you qualified to be Commander in Chief.

    People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power. -Bill Clinton

    by weelzup on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:40:25 AM PDT

  •  yeas I heard that too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, carolh11, Maori

    I'm from England, and where I come from, unless one's undergraduate degree is in education, one would require a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), a teaching certificate that is equivalent to a Masters degree. even after 4 years of Uni. One could be qualified as a teacher only upon completion of a further 2 year full time Postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

    So the idea of no university degree required, no certificate required teachers is strange to me, to say the least. Not to mention disastrous.

    Imagine all those young soldiers, probably suffering from PTSD, teaching volatile teenagers without the benefit of re-acclamation techniques, or training in  child behavioral or learning techniques.

    John McCain "Beware the terrible simplifiers" Jacob Burckhardt, Historian

    by notquitedelilah on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:40:55 AM PDT

  •  I remember (0+ / 0-)

    hearing this and turning to my husband and saying "What the f*ck?"  Please, this would never go any where, he's just talking through his ass.

    OH YES WE CAN!!!!

    Dissent is Patriotic

    by mwjeepster on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:41:24 AM PDT

  •  Mixed Feelings... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the way McCain articulated it, it sounded like a really stupid idea. But I do think that there is a valid argument to be made for eliminating (or at least reducing) largely pointless certifications, in order to attract the best and brightest to the teaching profession. Now that doesn't mean we should let anyone walk in off the street (or the battlefield) and teach. But I have no doubt that many people who would make great teachers (veterans and otherwise) don't pursue a career in public education because they perceive the administrative hurdles as not being worth the effort.

    •  how does this differ from other fields? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Young Grasshopper

      Yes, you have to jump through hoops...what field does not?  
      If the hoops were not there, we'd be crying foul..."why is my kid's teacher not certified?"

      I agree that the paperwork, tests and guidelines can get tedious...I've done it.  But just b/c you are knowledgeable in a particular field does not mean you will be a good teacher.

      How many of you have had a brilliant math teacher in your past, but they were the worst teacher b/c they didn't know how to teach and communicate for student comprehension?

      "[People] are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound." - James Allen

      by gchap33 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:27:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, if McC's experience as a POW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and Sarah's as a moose-hunter qualifies them for the Presidency, surely any combat veteran can teach.
    A drill sergeant in every classroom! Drill, baby, drill!

    When civilizations clash, barbarism wins.

    by Allogenes on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:42:47 AM PDT

  •  Sure... Troops shouls be able to go straight (0+ / 0-)

    from the battlefield into the classrom...
    We don't need no stinkin' rules!!!

    Peace. Chap"Hussein"man

    by Chapman on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:43:49 AM PDT

  •  there he goes again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He wants to do to the teaching profession what he did for savings and loans.

  •  Just look at his V.P. pick... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, nobody at all
    - clearly qualifications don't matter to him.

  •  TTT/DANTES (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cville townie

    essentially gives GI's stipends to get their certification.  You should ideally have a BA/BS with 6 years of AD service and an honorable discharge.  Then, you go back to school - some of the GI's I worked with had gotten their BA or BS through schools that didn't require them to take college algebra, perhaps, or enough history or ... whatever... to do TTT with one of the other universities in the Education Center on Fort Campbell.  TTT pays for PRAXIS testing in TN or Kentucky; I assume they help with the cost of testing in other states as well.

    It's a great program... we have some GI's who are simultaneously in the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) moving out of the Army due to injury and working through TTT to become teachers.

    Since I worked for a college on an installation and not directly with DANTES, I'll share the criteria/program info from the TTT site - that way you can see how the program works.

    "History drips in the dark..." Robert Penn Warren

    by khowell on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:45:40 AM PDT

    •  I find it frightening (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      khowell, cville townie, left turn

      that such a direct pipeline is being set up between the military and education.  Schools swarming with the fully indoctrinated in the ideas of unquestioning discipline, following orders, stifling individuali,ty the willingness to do anything and everything, up to and including killing on command, and the profound contempt for human life necessary for the glorification of war, seems pretty obviously intended to effect a major cultural change in America, to create an entire generation immersed in the militaristic outlook and attitudes. And whose interest will that serve?  Certainly not the children's.

      •  and THAT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynneK, cville townie

        is why I got off the installation.  Couldn't deal with the fundamental disconnect.  I LOVE working in education - it's my calling.  It's what I do well.  It's what's fulfilling for me.  And yet, at the same time, I was trying to foster education in people who were ACTIVELY INVOLVED in killing people for a living.  There was something deeply, deeply wrong with that mindset, and it scared and sickened me.

        I just couldn't live with myself in that environment.

        "History drips in the dark..." Robert Penn Warren

        by khowell on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:44:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can picture it (0+ / 0-)

    A young soldier returned from Iraq with undiagnosed post traumatic stress after a horrendous experience with a IED, pushed to the breaking point by his first experience of trying to manage a classroom full of energetic six year olds, having a flashback when a kid knocks over a chair.

    Sort of a cross between Rambo and Kindergarten cop.

  •  How to Really Solve the Problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, orangedem

    I think it is in New Zealand but may be in Australia that has about a perfect model as you can find. The first year a teacher is assigned to a "Master Teacher." He or she observes the whole year. They do not teach. They can help with other things. The next year the teacher teaches one class. This gives the teacher the time to put together a very good program while not sinking. They are still assigned to the Master Teacher. It is a true apprenticeship and a total success. Will it cost money to do this? Initially, but when you consider the result it would save money in the long run. Now it takes the average teacher 7 years before they hit their true stride. And a considerable amount of teachers quit by the time their 3rd year is over. Teaching is not all all as easy as some think it is. Teachers need the proper training just like a doctor or lawyer do.

  •  My brother is a Teach for America fellow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orangedem, teachingmathnow

    and he had to take a few different certification tests.  Good call on Teachers for Doctors, McCain is desperate.

    It's amazing what people will do to others in the name of themselves.

    by ABlueKansas on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:46:26 AM PDT

  •  No Child Left Behind has lost us troops of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    teachers throughout the country, teachers who had taught successfully for years but, having been  certified under trainings and internships that were not accepted under NCLB, were severed from their teaching positions, sometimes in mid-year. Many who had served were put through expensive programs for certification after years in the classrooms. This is a horrific legacy of the Bush administration. Now McCain thinks it's ok to just send people in wherever? He continues to be Bush-worse. Bring on Obama!

  •  I wonder what Dr. Jill Biden thinks of this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, leolabeth, OhioNatureMom

    Once again,  McSame reveals his ignorance.

    His comments about not requiring certification
    or training are code to the religious right:
    he was pandering to those who revile public
    schools as 'godless' and seek to use public education funding in 'vouchers' for fundie schools, which don't have the same requirements as the public systems.

    "No Child Left Behind" is a failure, not because there wasn't sufficient funding, but in theory and practice, it gutted the point of public education.
    Education is not mere subject knowledge and the ability to pass tests on the fundamentals. Many teachers are exhausted with being constantly urged to 'teach to the test,' without the leeway to teach to the needs of the child and the situation. Many children are being 'left behind' because they are not getting cultural and emotional education.

    All school systems, like our vast nation, are not homogenous. Urban districts have different needs than rural districts. NCLB diminishes organic approachs that mark situational needs.

    True education broadens the knowledge, the scope and the character of the students. That's why teachers without proper educational methods and theory as background are not sufficient. Any teacher knows you don't teach the subject, you teach the child/student. Having knowledge in an area is not adequate for teaching ability.

  •  I also didn't appreciate him putting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Teach for America in the same characterization. Teach for America teachers always have to pass whatever content testhe state gives and usually have some sort of temporary certificate. Plus a summer's worth of teaching boot camp.

  •  well if they dont have a cert to teach... (0+ / 0-)

    It goes right along with their last 8 years of no thought, information or reason.

    Might as well have the dumb teach the youth!

  •  I askd about this very issue at 4 in the AM (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, carolh11


    I thought I was hearing things until a DK poster responded this morning that he/she heard what I had.

    Who needs certifications? Go directly to the principal's office and pick up the key to your classroom. Standards? Knowledge? No credit? No problem!

    "George Bush Doesn't Care About People"

    by WriterRoss on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:49:39 AM PDT

  •  I worked for the VA, and back a few years (0+ / 0-)

    they decided to give veteran preference to any clerical job within the hospital. It was a nightmare.  They placed veterans in supervisory positions for which they had absolutely no qualifications or training.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:49:44 AM PDT

  •  To clarify please check this site out. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolh11, bahrad, education it is
    Many schools with a high number of poor children
    cannot get teachers at all. The ones they have
    are often on "emergency" or "alternative" certificates.
    My husband taught in such schools for 2 decades with 3 degrees and maintaining full certification. New
    teachers would come into the system, get assigned there and immediately ask for a transfer to other schools.
    This program according to this site helps soldiers
    get the required certificates they need to help in impoverished areas. It looks like a good program. McCain just didn't know how to describe it without insulting all the teachers in the country.

  •  I ran an Alt Cert Program for an urban school... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teachingmathnow, education it is

    district. Troops to Teachers is a great source for recruiting teachers. Our Alternative Certification Program takes people with BA's (most states require teachers to have at least a BA degree) and provides them with a very intensive 18-month teacher training program for intial teacher certification. Then the novice teachers must fulfill state internship requirement  for full teacher certification.

    I have no clue what McCain was talking about, and I have a good idea that he doesn't either.

    Whatever the Repuglicans say, the truth is the opposite.

    by MariaWr on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:53:23 AM PDT

    •  Honestly, this diary is just unfair. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      resa, sculler78, dhshoops

      McCain poorly made the case for alternative certification programs like Teach For America.

      TFA corps members are typically the best of the brightest of the nation's graduating class of college students.  They received intensive training the summer prior to teaching and they do coursework at night during their first year.  TFA isn't an argument against the value of educational theory-- its an argument that the gatekeeping that teacher's unions and ed schools engage in prevents some people from entering into the profession.

      •  I wish you were right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't think that's what McCain meant.  When I try to be as charitable as possible I still can't get that out of his statement.  

        Also, TFA isn't really the best and brightest, although they may be.  TFA folks select themselves based on their comfort with debt and their ideas about how quickly they want to pay back their education.  It's hard, and basically the people who make it through are good teachers if they're still in the profession afterwards.

        Troops to Teachers is a good program.  I wish that's what McCain was talking about.  McCain, sadly, is just interested in deregulating education like the financial industry.  That didn't go well for us.

        •  Your point is well taken about self-selection. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sculler78, MariaWr

          Regardless, the admissions criteria for TFA smoke that of the average ED school.  Its not close.  TFA is putting a higher caliber of talent into public schools.  

          Retention is an issue.  But successful organizations recruit talented folks and accept that a goodly percentage of talented folks leave within the first two years.  That's the nature of recruitment for, example, Goldman Sachs or [Fortune 100 Company}.  

          Why shouldn't public service be something that we recruit for like we recruit investment bankers or consultants or doctors?

          •  well, sure. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And I see that as an argument for really, really good ed schools ;-) I got lucky where I went, the curriculum was really on the living edge of the research, we were in the classroom starting from our first semester, it was great.

            Last point highly agreed with.

        •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

          TFA folks select themselves based on their comfort with debt and their ideas about how quickly they want to pay back their education.  It's hard, and basically the people who make it through are good teachers if they're still in the profession afterwards.

          I really have no idea what this means and feel free to elaborate, but I was never asked how comfortable with debt I was. I tend to think that TFA picks people on their professionalism, their ability not to blame everything but the teachers, and their ability to think about and pursue whatever is best for the students.  

          I know a lot of great teachers that did not stay in the classroom because that was never their intention. I know a lot of great teachers where it was never their intention to stay but then they did.

          •  there are two uses for TFA (0+ / 0-)
            1.  quick certification for people in other careers - what I'm guessing you did.  It does result in less schooling, and therefore less debt, but really I'm talking about:
            1.  if you have certification, you teach for 2 years in a high need area - which is tough, and kind of draining for new teachers - and they pay off your schooling.  That's what I was referring to.
        •  We also recruited from TFA... (0+ / 0-)

          for our district's needs in areas of need--math, science, languages.
          They did as well as most new teachers.

          Whatever the Repuglicans say, the truth is the opposite.

          by MariaWr on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 09:08:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  we don't need those teachers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, no puma

    with college educations.  College educations broaden perspectives and they get liberal ideas from their liberal arts.  Then they vote democrat.  Not only that but they transmit Anti-American ideas like looking at other perspectives and tolerance to our children.

    No. College. For. Teachers.  They should be able to get certified through the Fundamentalist Teacher's Association - schooled in the basics kids need to know: reading, writing, artihmetic, creationism-only, and the art of plugging their ears to anything else.  This is where we are winning the culture wars.  It starts with those crummy teachers who think new ideas are worth considering.

    •  These programs do not hire people without degrees (0+ / 0-)

      No offense, but this diary is all based on speculation, not on facts.

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

      by resa on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:05:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  McCain's mistake grows out of bad philosophy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    resa, carolh11, Cait Strummer

    Troops To Teachers does not help veterans short-circuit the certification process.  If there were such a program, I'd be on the phone right now screaming at my congressman to pull the plug on it.  I can't imagine anyone wanting unqualified people teaching their children.  And as someone who's right now planning to quit his job and become a secondary education teacher, this packs a special kind of offense for me.

    The idea that McCain would even make such a mistake stems from the modern-day conservative philosophy that we don't need any sort of regulation for anything, that the market will work out all the kinks on its own.  Of course this is a crock, and this demonstrates that McCain and Palin are only giving lip service to regulation, but no real support, because they don't believe in it.  They're deregulators, through and through.  No matter what they say, they don't believe in regulating bodies, whether we're talking about the stock market, the business world—or teachers.

    A conservative is just a liberal who hasn't needed a second chance yet.

    by Larry McAwful on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:55:40 AM PDT

  •  Militarizing education (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cville townie

    All that the little cannon fodder "leaders of tomorrow" need to learn is how to shut up and follow orders.  Anything else is librul do-gooding.  Who better to teach them anything about life and how to live it but a Marine fresh from the roadside bombings of Diyala Province?

  •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, LynneK, Maori

    Just what I want -- an over-amped unqualified PTSD sufferer to teach my kids militarism.  That's Republicanism in a nut shell.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:57:14 AM PDT

  •  Yes, Troops to Teachers must certify (5+ / 0-)

    This program has been around since the Clinton years.

    Yes, anyone doing Troops to Teachers must have a degree & they still must be certified.  The process is accelerated & they can do it while they are teaching.  They also have a limited window to complete the certification.

    At least here in Texas.  We have a lot of folks who retire out of the Sergeants Major Academy that go into teaching.

    Why would you believe anything that comes out of Sen. McCain's mouth?

  •  There should be better alternative certification (3+ / 0-)

    paths in many states. I'm not against additional coursework, practicums etc but too many states put up far too many barriers for potential career-changers to consider getting into education.

    "...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." --Kent Brockman

    by dhshoops on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 06:59:34 AM PDT

    •  In addition to coursework (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, dhshoops

      extensive practicums (student teaching and work with a mentor the first year in teaching).  These would need to be paid positions as the average lateral entry candidate has a family or is self-supporting.

      Sunlight is the best disinfectant

      by historys mysteries on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:07:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree... (0+ / 0-)

        Luckily I was single at the time and could soldier (no pun intended) through during this transition but very few can afford to do this.

        Obviously this would be different for elementary education but for secondary (mainstream) education there shouldn't be as many hindrances put forth for chemists, engineers, historians et. al. to get a position in public education.

        "...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." --Kent Brockman

        by dhshoops on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:14:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Incredible (0+ / 0-)

    So McCain's vision of education is to use teaching as a patronage job. Yikes. This is someone who hasn't set foot in a working classroom in decades.

  •  I heard that and was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    appalled. I've had experience with some of these teachers, even ones that do get a certificate, and they, for the most part, don't have a clue how to teach.

    At this time when our educational system is in shambles, we need the best and the brightest educated teachers, not well meaning, but untrained people.

    •  The best and the brightest.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...don't sit through two years of educational theory for a 35K per year job.  They make six figures out the gate as consultants.

      In order to attract talent, you have to breakdown barriers.  

      The larger problem with this certification argument that it is, as a matter of result, is that first year teachers in alt cert programs regularly outpeform their ed school grad peers.

      •  Except that someone upthread cited and quoted... (0+ / 0-)

        ...a study saying that alt cert teachers don't out perform their ed school peers.

      •  I disagree... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        left turn, fresh eyes

        Your first statement sounds an awful lot like that saying "those who can, do, those who can't, teach"

        What the hell?

        Since when did teaching become a less than honorable profession?

        For your information, and others whose responses on here have thoroughly pissed me off, not everyone goes after the money. Our own candidate passed up a very well-paying job in order to do community work for a lot less.

        Yup, I'm a teacher. Yup, I could've made a decent living doing something else. But I don't want to, because I'm good at what I do, and I love what I do.

        Why can't people understand that? Sometimes it's not about the money. At the end of the day, I want to be able to look myself in the mirror, and I simply couldn't have done that by applying my talents in the private sector.

        Are there bad teachers? Yes. But for every bad teacher, there are many more good ones. There are teachers who game the system, yes. But doesn't every   job have one of those folks who's only there to collect a check? My point is, out of that whole company, you have, what? Maybe two or three workers like that? Do you hold it against the entire department? No. Why hold it against an entire profession?

        I am not those teachers, and most teachers do a good job and put in a lot of unpaid hours. Don't lump us in with those "teachers."

        And let's be honest, do you want a teacher who's only interested in shortcuts? That's what most teachers look at the certification coursework and paperwork as -- a way to weed out the lazy folks.

        If you are well-trained in your field (science or math) and you want to teach, there are programs that allow you to do that without going back to school for years at a time. They simply fast-track you -- but you still have to get a certification.

        They may offer a few shortcuts, but being a teacher is not for the lazy.

        You insult an entire profession by implying otherwise.

        Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -Yoda-

        by Young Grasshopper on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:36:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No one said certification is unnecessary. (0+ / 0-)

          The point was that alternative certification provides an easier entry point for worthy professionals that might not otherwise decide to make the leap.

          You can't base public policy on people NOT acting as economic actors-- because they are.

          You can keep the well-meaning; I'll take producers.

  •  More thoughts from a ex-teacher (4+ / 0-)

    Reading about it

    (DANTES) to provide assistance, including stipends of up to $5,000, to eligible members of the armed forces so that they can obtain certification or licensing as elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, or vocational/technical teachers and become highly qualified teachers by demonstrating competency in each of the subjects they teach.

    I have a thought... John McCain really has zero idea what the problems holding teachers back from being great teachers or wanting to continue being teachers. He thinks they are just being sniveling morons and they are fuck ups. He does not take the profession seriously. Despite what it appears the program says it does he thinks soldier have the mental fortitude civilians don't.

    He doesn't realize that a lot of teachers want to do right by their students and the parents. They want to do right for their community. Sometimes they have a hard time knowing what the best practices are. Even if they are certified and passed all their tests. Mostly this occurs when they are thinking back to how school was in their day and how their old fashioned teachers did things.

    So when Barack mentions professional development (a word that might go over the head of most non teachers) I hear him loud and clear. I hear that we need to get all teachers on the road to using the best practices that successful teachers and schools use. Instead of branding schools as failures lets look at what they are doing, compare it to what great schools are doing, and then make the adjustments.

    •  That is a great point. (6+ / 0-)

      As a current math teacher I heartily agree.  

      Here in the trenches we don't often have the resources to search out best practices. We spend too much time with administrative BS that doesn't help kids learn or make us better teachers.

      But more than profeessional development we need respect for education from everywhere.  Kids pick up their view of education from the adults in their lives.  I can't tell you how many parents have told me in front of their kids that they weren't good at math so they don't expect their kid to do well.  

  •  Anti-regulation mentality. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, OhioNatureMom

    Not only do we get business deregulated, but the rules don't apply to our friends in job-hunting.  Vets need a job?  How about lawyer?  No bar exam, no bar license, hang out your shingle and start working.  Be the small business that is the economic engine of America.

    It's pesky regulations and rules that get in our way.  Get rid of 'em.

    "Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." To Kill A Mockingbird

    by DC Scott on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:04:22 AM PDT

  •  How he is going to implement it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, carolh11

    You need to watch West Wing.  Yeah.  Remember that show?  In the first season, something similiar was proposed.  Only, on the West Wing, they would have opened up the classroom door to all professional people.

    I know it seems weird to say he based his idea on a TeeVee show... but.  He also took his "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." schtick from the West Wing too.  Martin Sheen uses those EXACT words to describe the fictional economy.

    Since McCain's campaign has no basis in reality, I am able to draw a line to the fictional drama pretty easily.  I wouldn't be surprised.

    "He's not an Arab. He's a decent family man." John McCain

    by winter outhouse on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:04:33 AM PDT

  •  I realize this is not the main point of this post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, OhioNatureMom
    And I was horrified as well when I heard what he said about doing away with teacher certification.

    But one more thing to note: Isn't there an underlying hypocrisy in this? (And before you say it, I also realize that we can't be surprised anymore by that).

    How can you say during the debate that you're a Federalist and all for states rights and then say you need to do away with teacher certification in the states that require it? States rights are apparently only for things like abortion and gay marriage.

  •  The republican party; (0+ / 0-)

    once more lowering the bar for all of us!

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:09:27 AM PDT

  •  Good Morning, Class (0+ / 0-)

    My name is Gunnery Sergeant Williams, and I will be teaching you...uh...chemistry.

    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by easong on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:09:31 AM PDT

  •  Teaching is one of the few professions where (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    continued education and courses on reacting better to needs of the students is not mandated / allowed for.

    In the business world, you take time off to go to training, which teaches how to handle people from all perspectives, and new ideas and methods going on within the industry.

    If teachers had this ability, we would be much better off.

    •  Well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynneK, dhshoops

      In the summer and after school a lot of teachers do have to go to training in order to keep their certification. The problem I think is that these courses are often awful and do not get to the core problems facing teachers. They are also taught in a way that teachers leave with not enough useful practices to use in their own classrooms. I was never formally educated in teaching via a university. But if those courses were like the professional development courses I took then bah that is one place a change needs to occur.

      •  Its all about the funding. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        For work, I dont need to pay and use my free time to maintain my cert or stay up to date on trends.

        I get time off of work that they send me somewhere. Sometimes they are designed well, and sometimes they arent. But they still allow you to interact with others from around the country and pick of new ideas, tips and tricks.

        If there was a standardized training in place that was developed for different grade levels for teachers, they could learn to deal with the issues that affect that grade level and how to best reach them. The same way work has professional development based upon the level employee you are.

        •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I think you could have great professional development in a parking lot with nothing but a good instructor and a soap box. I think the bigger thing is what are they teaching the teachers and will it be affective.

          I agree 100% that it should be content and grade specific though. I hated the classes where it was a bunch of elementary teachers talking about their experiences. It did little for a high school math teacher (who are usually shafted in every single professional development seminar anyway).

    •  Very untrue!!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vacantlook, LynneK

      In fact, in my opinion, teaching is one of the few professions were one continues his or her education via classes, seminars etc. for their entire career.

      "...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." --Kent Brockman

      by dhshoops on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:19:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then many of my teachers never attended.... (0+ / 0-)

        Because I remember being marked off on a test because I didnt list the "specific" computer hardware the teacher told us was hardware.

        I listed other things I knew.

        God forbid someone goes beyond what the teacher "said". Granted it was some kind of vindictiveness on part of the teacher towards me... but these things should be taught or you cant foster a proper learning environment.

        If I know more than the teacher, I shouldn't have to dumb my self down.

        •  Not sure what you're alluding to... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but professional development (like anything) can be a mixed bag. I've sat through many wasteful ones (to me anyway) but perhaps they were insightful to others.

          We all (not just educators) should be life long learners though...I know the more I know about history the less I realize I know about history!!!

          Ok, back to work...don't tell my principal I was on dkos during my prep!!!

          "...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." --Kent Brockman

          by dhshoops on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:31:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Im just saying alot of teachers arent taught (0+ / 0-)

            properly enough to really teach. Ive been to some good trainings and some bad ones. Its a fact of life. But they should be some sort of reform around it on a local level for educators.

            A training for all high school teachers in the county or something. Have students interact and provide responses. Something that allows all sides to get points out which would help the teachers in teh end.

            There are many amazing teachers that follow through with all these things and thats not where this is target. This is targeted at those in charge that do not provide the ability for those that arent as good at teaching to excel.

            A great teacher doesnt need to go to a how to reach students course, unless as a teacher for those that arent as good of teachers.

            College doesnt teach you how to respond to kids needs and their quirks.

    •  Clearly... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You are not well-versed on NCLB, nor are you close to any teachers.

      Some classes/professional devlopments are provided for by the school (you know those random days off you had when you went to school, you remember those half days? Well, that's what your teachers were doing ... getting that training.)

      The problem with NCLB is that, in order to keep your teaching certification, you need to have a certain number of credit hours on the college-level. So, I have to take out, yet another student loan on top of the ones I already have just to keep my certification.

      However, unlike in other professions, those classes are paid for out-of-pocket, by the teacher. The school board/school/government does not help us offset those costs.

      What profession do you know that mandates very expensive training and does not provide some sort of stipend?

      That's why teachers hate NCLB. We don't mind getting training, but damn! Can we get a discount or something on the college classes? Shit! I need to take out another student loan?

      Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -Yoda-

      by Young Grasshopper on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 11:45:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More right wing disconnect (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vacantlook, LynneK, Cait Strummer

    The theory is that any one can be a teacher, it demonstrated their complete disregard for the profession.  In NJ we have an excellent program for supply teachers, if you have a degree in the subject you can get a temporary teaching certificate.  The idea is to take people who have years of experience in industry and commerce and put them in a class room.  Some times it works very well.  

    McCain celarly does not recognize that there is a shortage of teachers, mostly due to low pay and the general low esteme in which teachers are held.  It is quite commical listenign for the demand to increase qualification and results from teachers then say that any unqualified teacher can do the job.  

    In part it is one of the AIE starve teh beast issues.  The AIE decided that teachers unions were pro democrat so had to be squished.    

    Sarah Palin Proud Socialist

    by Bloke on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:11:05 AM PDT

  •  I have teeth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lightiris, LynneK

    ... so I can be your dentist, right?

    •  You're missing the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In many states, a history teacher spends more time learning about education jargon (which changes every few years) than learning about history. The demand for real knowledge in the fields being taught works against the current certification process, not with it.

  •  Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!!!!!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pam from Calif, LynneK

    straight of the battlefield, and into gym class!!!

    Great diary.  I did a spit-take when I heard that one.  We as a family were on food stamps while my mom wasted her time getting her teaching certificate in MI following my parents divorce.  I'm sure she's delighted to hear that it was a silly waste of time and effort.

  •  Please people, the system is broken... (4+ / 0-)

    keep an open mind.  No, we shouldn't simply hand a job as a teacher to anyone with a pulse, but there is a real shortage of good teachers and we shouldn't disregard entire premises just because they are brought up by evil republicans.  I am a successful engineer and a few years ago decided that I wanted to work at as a teacher at a nonprofit, educational summer camp while I was in between jobs.  The position required someone with a certification, but due to a lack of qualified candidates, the director of the program took a chance on me after an extremely rigorous interview process.  It was one of the best experiences of my life and I immediately was rethinking my career path.  However, even though I had high praise from my superiors and other teachers, I found few people that took me seriously when applying for teaching jobs.  To make matters worse, my family was below the poverty line growing up and I left school tens of thousands of dollars in debt with student loans.  Ultimately, no matter how much passion I had for teaching, I simply could not take that chance.  I had many high paying engineering positions being offered to me, but only a scant few, low paying and/or high risk teaching opportunities.  (for example, working as a substitute for a 1.5 month maternity leave with no guarantee of anything after that)  

    I don't want to get too into specifics of my, or other situations, but there is a point I want to make.  If you always knew that you wanted to be a teacher and went through all the processes to do so, that's great.  But please don't be prejudiced against other people that may take a different path to the same goal.  One of the best engineers I know never got an engineering degree, and I'm sure lots of trained teachers realize they are in the wrong place once they actually get into a classroom.  All I ask for is an open mind.

  •  Isn't this just more of the Repubican policy of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    allowing the dumbing down of public education?  As Palin shows us every day, the base of the Party, the low-down, right-wing, religiously ... uh ... primitive base, really is dumb.  If enough of them get dumb enough, they'll be grateful to work for third-world wages, live in hovels and never learn anything after 10th grade.  Anyone pliable enough to believe the crap they believe will believe anything as long as their buttons are pushed.  

    These voters are the most reliably Republican supporters on earth.  Certainly, Republicans want to create more of them.

    •  on the contrary (0+ / 0-)

      The dumbing down of public education is best evidenced in the paltry curriculum of education programs and the abandonment of a rigorous liberal arts curriculum as the primary vehicle for being qualified to teach. If you want to see "dumbing down," spend a little time going over the textbooks used in your typical elementary ed class.

      The "pre-professionalism" of college education is a symptom of right-wing thinking, not left-wing.

      Admittedly, McCain's motivated by a disdain for the Teacher's union. But on this score, the union is wrong.

  •  I once looked into Troops for Teachers. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosabw, carolh11, Cait Strummer

    The entry requirements vary from state to state, but most of them require that you at least have a bachelor's degree and passing scores on PRAXIS.  From there, they work with you, but you're still going back to school for a master's degree and permanent certification.

    Half-baked ideas for sale - cheap!

    by Steaming Pile on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:18:54 AM PDT

  •  Mostly a Right Wing Talking Point (0+ / 0-)

    McCain sure did retreat into right wing bromides during that last debate, didn't he? I guess he's planning to lose Goldwater-style.

    The truth is that many (most?) states and localities already have programs encouraging experienced workers (such as corporate career professionals) to join the teaching profession, with streamlined onboarding including alternative ways to demonstrate proficiency and, in many cases, financial support for pursuing further education during your first years of teaching. (Alabama's "Troops to Teachers" program is but one example.) But the right wing keeps complaining about supposed barriers to entering teaching, mostly because they think the teachers' unions are somehow powerful (they aren't, particularly) due to these supposed barriers.

    Meanwhile the people doing the complaining are the last people willing to teach. And they haven't been railing against the much more onerous professional certification requirements for, say, doctors and lawyers.

  •  just one more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    example of what a deregulator McCain is.

    McCain's a Pinto (not a Maverick) and he's ready to crash and burn!

    by tpabob on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:23:18 AM PDT

  •  McCain believes that there's NOTHING to teaching (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hatrabbit, LynneK, Cait Strummer

    and as such, anyone can do it

    PROTECT YOUR VOTE - learn how and tell friends & family and

    by Clytemnestra on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:23:47 AM PDT

  •  I caught that, too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, Cait Strummer

    I immediately looked at my husband like WTF.  That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a while.  My son is a teacher with a master's.  You mean someone from the military with no education is going to be teaching our youth?

    He's too much and has got to go.

    I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ - Ghandi

    by doublesvb on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:25:50 AM PDT

  •  there has been a concerted move to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freelunch, LynneK, smallgal

    deprofessionalize teaching in this country.

    You can sign a petition (33,600+) calling for an end to it here.

    RE: Troops to Teachers

    From my dissertation, 2005 (FWIW it's on democracy and education, but who cares about that?):

    Established in 1994 by the Department of Defense as the "Teacher and Teacher’s Aid Assistant Program," TTT attempts to "help improve public school education by providing funds to recruit, prepare, and support former members of the military services as teachers in high-poverty schools."  

    According to Connections, a newsletter for retiring troops considering teaching, Senator John McCain was instrumental in keeping the program alive.  

    Recognizing the "powerful, positive attributes that military veterans bring to public education: dedication, commitment, maturity, and understanding of diverse cultures, along with subject matter knowledge and experience," McCain introduced language in the 2000 Defense Authorization Bill which officially established the program as "Troops To Teachers."  

    Two years later, under NCLB, TTT became a part of the Department of Education. After the move, the program’s budget grew from $3 million dollars in 2001 to nearly $15 million in 2005. Since the authorization of NCLB in 2002, the Department of Education has appropriated $76,516,204 for Troops to Teachers.  

    Regarding the growing popularity of the program, Peter E. Peters, TTT’s assistant director, explains: "Afghanistan has settled down. We’ve got Saddam. People are beginning to think about getting out and making some plans."

    While the program undeniably benefits the troops, who get cash bonuses for entering high poverty areas, what about the children? In terms of content knowledge, the hallmark of a good teacher, if you believe neoconservative educational reformers, military personnel enter the classroom "highly qualified."

    After all, "You have nuclear engineers going in to teach math," notes Peters, who continues, "You don’t get that from people coming out of college."  In addition to bringing in knowledge from outside the classroom, former soldiers have "a bearing that makes them unlikely to be intimidated, even by the most unruly middle school students."  Finally, troops-turned-teachers "can make good ambassadors for the military."  

    If we define a high quality teacher as one who knows math and science, has an intimidating demeanor and actively recruits for the military, then Troops to Teachers benefits children.

    Of course, not everyone thinks so, and there are a number of problems with the program’s "benefits." Block asks whether or not "soldiers trained to obey orders without question, including orders to kill, are truly the role models that students in the public schools need."  

    While it might be exciting to have a former nuclear engineer as a teacher (students in one TTT classroom were treated to a video clip of a ballistic missile being fired from a submerged nuclear submarine), neither a degree in nuclear engineering nor experience on a nuclear submarine guarantee a highly qualified teacher.  

    Peters’ assertion that former soldiers have a bearing that makes them "unlikely to be intimidated" is also problematic. Is that bearing also less likely to make them democratic, attentive and compassionate? In terms of "unruly" students, are Troops to Teachers more likely to "shoot first and ask questions later?"

    While former soldiers might make "good ambassadors for the military," do we want classrooms and schools to become recruitment centers? And, with all due respect to the architects of TTT, carrying a machine gun in the dessert does not necessarily give an individual a greater understanding of diverse cultures.

    While I believe soldiers may have some attributes making them potentially high quality teachers, I argue against fast tracking anyone into the profession, whether they be soldiers, doctors, CEOs, firefighters, nannies, or ______________. Given the results of various studies as well as my experience as a teacher and a teacher educator, I firmly believe that courses in pedagogy, philosophy, cognition, politics, and human development as well as relationships are vital for people who are going to become highly qualified teachers.

    Blitzing low-income neighborhoods with troops-turned-teachers, individuals lacking the attributes, skills, and vision necessary for helping children develop into functional citizens of a larger democratic social order, serves only to further disenfranchise members of those communities.

    This, according to Kenneth Saltman, has been the goal all-along. Linking Troops to Teachers to a larger movement to militarize schools, Saltman argues that the program is one of many tied to ". . . a politics of containment rather than investment, [and] the political efficacy of keeping large segments of the population uneducated and miseducated. . . ."  

    More Saltman:

    As well, the working class, employed in low skill, low-paying service sector jobs, would be likely to complain or even organize if they were encouraged to question and think too much. Education and literacy are tied to political participation. Participation might mean that noncorporate elites would want social investment in public projects or at least projects that might benefit most people. That won’t do. There is a reason that the federal government wants soldiers rather than say the glut of unemployed Ph.D.s in classrooms.

    One of the hallmarks of academic corporatism is an attack on the liberal democratic principles of pluralism and participation. Not only is Saltman correct in identifying TTT as part of an attack to genuine learning and political engagement, his charge extends beyond TTT all the way to NCLB itself.

    While Troops to Teachers focuses on the poor and working class, the same ideology now operates in American public schools writ large. The teachers most likely to engage students in critical examination of social, political, and economic issues, those autonomous agents operating out of a sense of duty and commitment, are being forced out of schools to make room for individuals willing to train students to work rather than think, as genuine thinking, genuine social engagement, and genuine political participation threaten corporate governance.

    NCLB (and fastracking teachers in general)must then be seen not as an act to save failing schools but as an act designed to undermine genuine education, an education which might lead to a citizenry that critiques its representatives, its media, and its policies, a citizenry less willing to obediently stand to attention whenever elites give the command.

    Save public education from corporatisation: Educator Roundtable

    by DeweyCounts on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:28:54 AM PDT

  •  I was in Teach for America... (7+ / 0-)

    and I entered the classroom without being certified. HOWEVER, I was issued an emergency 1 year certificate, conditional on completion of evening classes in education. So I taught during the day, was carefully observed every week by my advisor in the alternative education program, and went to school at night to earn my masters in education.

    I was assigned to teach ESL 5th grade in Houston. I have to say, I felt really qualified as a Texas teacher. I didn't feel as though those teachers who went through the traditional teaching path were that much more knowledgeable than I. I was consistently ranked as one of the highest performing teachers (Houston gives merit pay). It was easy in Houston, in an overcrowded, very low income, 100% minority school to fake it and look really, really good.

    And then I moved to Portland, Oregon and got a job teaching fourth grade. This is where I realized the value of a good education program. I was completely out of my league. My colleagues in Portland, all with masters degrees in education, based their instruction on theories of child development, brain development, best practices from around the world. These teachers were INFORMED. They were PROFESSIONAL. They were ROCK STARS. I began to realize that if I wanted to hang in there with them, I needed to go back to school and learn how to TEACH. And so, with a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in education, I went back to school for the third time and began to take some theoretical and practical courses. They were important, and they changed my view that teacher education is important. A 6 week writer workshop completely changed the way that I taught writing, and my student made HUGE gains on the state writing test, which is scored by teachers.

    I'm now in law school, having given up on the current policies of NCLB. I've only ever taught in very low income schools and I fully plan to practice Child Advocacy Law.

    I watched the debate at the law school last night. I couldn't believe when I heard McCain's comment. I couldn't believe he stood up for NCLB, which punishes poor schools and rewards rich ones. That he supports vouchers, which are inequitably used and distributed, and directly pull money from the poorest schools.
    He's completely out of touch on education.

    •  Good luck...remember us teachers (and students) (0+ / 0-)

      when you're fighting the good fight!!!

      "...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." --Kent Brockman

      by dhshoops on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:41:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Teach for America has become the place (0+ / 0-)

      to get teachers for the charter schools around here.  There is a charter school department in NYS with the head making a nice six-figure job who was also a graduate of Teach for America.  

      There are parts of the program I find compelling but I just think if I ever wanted to be a teacher I would much rather switch my major and try to do graduate work in education.  I would want to be certified.

      "An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot." Thomas Paine

      by Cait Strummer on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:44:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Full disclosure: I have really mixed feelings (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dhshoops, Cait Strummer

        about TFA. It was a good experience for me, but I question how effective a movement to change education can be when it only asks a 2-year commitment from its corps member.  That was my biggest problem honestly. I taught for 5 years total, and it wasn't until the third that I really began to hit my stride. The first year of teaching has such an extreme learning curve that even if you are effective, you're first-year-teacher effective, so...not so much.
        I also feel that there is a pervasive sense of class distinction in the organization; the schools in which corps members are placed are overwhelmingly Black or Hispanic, and always very low income. The corps members are overwhelmingly white and from middle/upper middle class backgrounds. I heard a great deal of unsettling comments about the teachers who were already in these districts, teachers who generally were similar in demographics to the student population. It was pretty shocking to hear these white, liberal, 22 year-old completely dismiss these established teachers (their colleagues) as ineffective, uninformed of the "real problem", uncaring, 'part of the problem', etc. The organization really sells the rhetoric that the only hope for the poor black children of this nation is the white, wealthy, recent college grads. They're the only ones who really care and understand what needs to be done; the people already working in the system are easily dismissed as stagnating fossils supporting educational inequality.
        Honestly...teaching is the hardest job in the world. Teaching in a low-income, high need school with all the attenuating problems is the hardest, hardest job in the world. The pay is crap. The appreciation is crap. Nobody does it because they think it's an easy paycheck. There needs to be more respect across the board for the work that teachers do. After all, everyone who has every achieved anything in this life was taught how by a teacher.

        That's my two cents on Teach for America. I am glad I did it, because it led me to five amazing years with fantastic children (I honestly had the best classes every year. I did. They rocked.) and on to my current career path. But it is not the great salvation of the American education system that I think McCain is trying to push.

  •  Of course.........see, you don't unerstand....... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rosabw, Cait Strummer

    .......just like John said to Barack, "you just don't understand..."

    Ya see, those of us who have served our country are imminently qualified on the things that really matter.  In fact, it's the most important thing.

    We don't need no stink'n certificate!


    "Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit"

    by Fuzzy5150 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:36:43 AM PDT

  •  I was appalled by this statement. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sister Havana, LynneK, Cait Strummer

    It was the dumbest thing he said in any of the debates.

    "We are going to have to prioritize. Just like a family has to prioritize." Barack Obama

    by llamaRCA on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 07:37:55 AM PDT

    •  My parents are both teachers. (0+ / 0-)

      They were both livid when they heard this statement. Ugh.

      (Troops to Teachers sounds like a really good program, though - glad it is not as simplistic as McCain made it sound!)

      Yes we can! Yes we did! Yes we will!

      by Sister Havana on Thu Oct 16, 2008 at 10:59:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  military education (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, Khemtawe

    If I understand McCain's policy correctly, he wants corporate contractors, staffed with former military trainers with no educational certification, to run our schools.

    That's a fascist, er, I mean interesting proposition.

    I have no problem with vets being retrained as teachers. That's a good idea.

    But somehow, I don't believe the construction "army of teachers" means what McCain wants people to think it means. I think it means something very different than an educational  retraining program for vets.

    McCain wants to strangle the public education system by freezing it's funds, and meanwhile dole out lucrative, budget-busting contracts to corporations who will fund "schools" that have educational standards waived, and which are staffed with people who will train kids for military service.

    And he wants to fund this by issuing budget-busting vouchers to parents which will not cover the costs of these corporate military schools.

    So parents will face the choice of putting their kids in the public school which is crumbling, overcrowded, understaffed and doesn't have a corporate ad campaign touting it's services, or, put their kids into a school which stresses military service and is taught by people who aren't certified to teach, and which costs them a burdensome amount, and which isn't answerable to ANYONE.

    I call that a fascist educational policy. You're free to make your own judgement.

  •  Certification farce (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, NoMoJoe, sculler78

    Look, I detest McCain, but my feelings toward him won't contribute to my piling on over this issue. I am a college professor, and my wife is a high school teacher. While a process for some form of certification is reasonable, the certification process in most states, including my own state of Missouri, is an absolute joke. The overwhelming majority of Education courses are little more than exercises in developing vocabulary by providing a terminology that students can use to articulate concepts that are self-evident to all but the most intellectually stifled people. The University of Chicago--home of the nation's first education program--recently dissolved the department because they concluded, rightly, that the field of "Education" lacked academic rigor. College professors across the country in the Arts and Sciences recount a treasure trove of stories about the disengagement of students in two fields more than any others: Business and Elementary Education. While there are obviously notable exceptions, it's a real crisis. The best scholarship in the field of education in this country has come from Sociologists, Psychologists, and Historians. Education programs have become mini-degree factories, aimed at giving fast and meaningless post-graduate degrees to teachers trying to up their (admittedly paltry) salaries. The dumbing down of the process has trickled down. A valuable and intense summer program could accomplish every bit as much as the multiple-year certification process currently employed in most states. The problem with current certification systems is not that students get "nothing" out of them. Of course they do. The problem is that they don't get enough out of them to warrant the time commitment. I am reminded of a friend of mine from college with a Ph.D. in Finance. He made a fortune in the late 1990s and decided he'd like to dedicate his life to giving back by leaving the corporate world and becoming a Math teacher in Texas. He was told that in addition to a host of education classes that he would need to take over the course of a year and half, he did not have evidence for mastering the field of Geometry...a Ph.D. in Finance. He gave up and now he's teaching at a prestigious private school. The certification system keeps more talented people out of the job pool than it cultivates on its own. The farce of Education programs are the dirty little secret of higher ed in America, and the prevalence of people with chicken-sh-t Ph.D.'s in "fields" like "Curriculum" who sit in important positions in academic administration is the biggest reason people don't make more of a stink about it. I know many decent, intelligent, competent people with degrees (both at the Bachelors level and at the Doctoral level) in education. But as many of them will admit, their experience in these programs added nothing to their intelligence and competence. High school teachers would be better served to complete expanded majors in the fields they will teach, and elementary school teachers would be better served majoring in just about anything as part of a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum. It's not a coincidence that the best college prep schools in the country are filled with a faculty who are certified in nothing.