Monday, June 8, 2009

Why All This Fuss About Teacher Certification?!

This came out a while ago, but it has interesting findings where this blog is concerned. Richard Ingersoll looks at teacher certification and the debates surrounding it. He points out that US teacher certification standards, though aggravating, are actually relatively light compared to both other professions and other countries' certification standards (full text here).

The basic question, according to Ingersoll, is not whether these standards are a problem, but why we care so much about teacher certification standards when lawyers, doctors, social workers and countless other professionals all face similarly burdensome requirements to enter their respective lines of work.

My main answer to Ingersoll is that teacher preparation programs are uniquely bad. Linda Darling Hammond recently put the number of high quality teacher preparation programs at "probably a quarter [of all programs]." Indeed, I have yet to meet a single teacher who has anything positive to say about their time in education classes. Lawyers and doctors certainly face similarly high bars to entering their professions, but their preparatory educational experiences are undeniably more positive.

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