Thursday, December 16, 2004

Highly qualified or highly connected?

There's more than a little irony in this story. First Daughter Jenna Bush wants to teach. Hey, if she's crazy enough to join this wonderful profession of ours, then I say welcome.

There's one problem, though. Her father's No Child Left Behind Act requires that each class have a highly qualified teacher. As an English major with no teaching experience, I think it would be a stretch to give her that label. Perhaps -- gasp --the law doesn't apply equally to everyone?

Apparently, you don't have to be highly qualified if you're the President's daughter. (via Susan Ohanion)

5 Comments:

Blogger Jenny D. said...

Susan seems a little bitter about this. So let me ask: How would a new teacher become highly qualified? Suppose a student graduates from college with a degree in physics and wants to teach high school physics? How would that person become highly qualified under NCLB? It seems that there is a provision in the law for new teachers, just as there are provisions for experienced teachers. I don't know what it is though.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Yeah, Susan seems a bit bitter (though I can't help but snicker at the alcohol reference - the apple doesn't seem to fall far from the tree). I also find it mildly interesting that Jenna is trying to teach in a charter school, and not a public school.

Jenna, it seems,would have to have a bachelor's degree (which she does) and pass state certification tests in the subject area (presumably her major) as well as tests in teaching techniques and subject area tests in elementary school curriculum including reading, writing and math. The problems that jump out are:
1. Jenna's degree is in English, not Elementary Education. Many states, under NCLB and even previous to it, have mandated that elementary teachers have a major in Elementary Education which makes her degree itself problematic, if not for the fact that she apparently has no formal coursework in educational theory or practice.
2. The District of Columbia is not "a state" and I'm not clear on what the requirements for teachers, new or otherwise, under NCLB are.
3. Finally, while www.charterfriends.org claims that standards for HQT shall be exactly the same for charter schools as for "other public schools," they go on to cite (from NCLB sec. 1111) that "Accountability provisions...shall be overseen for charter schools in accordance with state charter school law." But not in ways that "inhibit or discourage...innovative, high quality charter schools." (They don't cite this quotation.) So the question that arises from this are the standards for Jenna actually the same as for, say, me?

All of that said, if she lives up the same standards that we do, I say, "Welcome aboard Jenna. I hope your teaching experience is a good one, and I pray that you discover for yourself why so many teachers fundamentally distrust or dislike your father."

8:34 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Yeah, Susan seems a bit bitter (though I can't help but snicker at the alcohol reference - the apple doesn't seem to fall far from the tree). I also find it mildly interesting that Jenna is trying to teach in a charter school, and not a public school.

Jenna, it seems,would have to have a bachelor's degree (which she does) and pass state certification tests in the subject area (presumably her major) as well as tests in teaching techniques and subject area tests in elementary school curriculum including reading, writing and math. The problems that jump out are:
1. Jenna's degree is in English, not Elementary Education. Many states, under NCLB and even previous to it, have mandated that elementary teachers have a major in Elementary Education which makes her degree itself problematic, if not for the fact that she apparently has no formal coursework in educational theory or practice.
2. The District of Columbia is not "a state" and I'm not clear on what the requirements for teachers, new or otherwise, under NCLB are.
3. Finally, while www.charterfriends.org claims that standards for HQT shall be exactly the same for charter schools as for "other public schools," they go on to cite (from NCLB sec. 1111) that "Accountability provisions...shall be overseen for charter schools in accordance with state charter school law." But not in ways that "inhibit or discourage...innovative, high quality charter schools." (They don't cite this quotation.) So the question that arises from this are the standards for Jenna actually the same as for, say, me?

All of that said, if she lives up the same standards that we do, I say, "Welcome aboard Jenna. I hope your teaching experience is a good one, and I pray that you discover for yourself why so many teachers fundamentally distrust or dislike your father."

8:34 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

oops, sorry about the double post...

stupid network...

:)

8:35 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

"Highly qualified" for teaching standards is not defined by NCLB at all. Congress in their infinate wisdom left it up to each state (which for this situation includes DC) to decide what a "highly qualified" means for that state. In most states, it means minimally qualified.

Usually a teacher must have a degree in the subject area and meet the other qualifications to hold a teaching certificate. In DC the rules are different for charter schools as well. Chances are Jenna Bush will be considered "highly qualified" under NCLB, which is a pretty sad statement about the law not about Jenna's teaching skills.

9:13 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares