Friday, July 12, 2013
On the Backs of New Teachers! What?
The "witch-hunt" in public education continues. This time, the blame game will be won by new teachers? Seriously? I entered the education profession officially in 2000 when I passed successfully upon the first try both the "Basic Skills" test, and my content test, which was "History." I was proud as I had worked hard, clocking over 165 credit hours to attain a double major with a minor in music. Not an easy task as I was a full-time mother, accomplished a degree in liturgy during that time, and was working 3 part-time jobs. (How I did that I really do not know!) In 1997 it became mandatory for all new teachers entering into the field to have to pass at least a basic skills test. Furthermore, it was then that I discovered all those that were settled into their positions before the 1997 period were being grandfathered in. They did not have to take the test! Good job Unions, you protected them, but threw the rest of us under the bus. What do I mean by that? Well, 1) you allowed inadequate educators to remain in their positions, without any accountability, passing over people who were better equipped positions. Why do I know this, well, because, many teachers who had far more credit hours as the demands had increased in over time, and these licensed educators of the past 10 years, made the grade passed the test, and were ready to bring their understanding of Differentiated Instruction, Blooms, all the best practices fresh in their dossier. 2) you allowed inadequate educators to remain in their positions, thereby disallowing our children from having the best educators. 3) do the math! If the average tenure of our educators is that of 20 years on the job, then the great majority of them did not have to pass the test! (Among full-time and part-time public school teachers in 2007–08, some 76 percent of public school teachers were female, 44 percent were under age 40, and 52 percent had a master’s or higher degree. Compared with public school teachers, a lower percentage of private school teachers were female (74 percent), were under age 40 (39 percent), and had a master’s or higher degree (38 percent).) So, with the factoids that were presented here, to make it more difficult for our current teachers in "Traditional" programs, why not make all educators regardless of the number of years on the job pass the basic skills test at least once in their careers? Then while you are at it, you better bring an end to "fast track" scabs who slide in after the fact and steal the jobs of us that intended on being the best of the best from the moment we entered into our post-secondary journey. By the way, 14 years after successfully passing the very difficult "History" examination, ensuring my license to teach History, I will finally teach a branch of History this year. Why has it taken so long? Well, mostly because "social studies" positions are rare, they are held for coaching staff, and once you get a job teaching History/Social Studies, you never give it up and you are never forced out. So, I "fell" into this position, literally...more on that later.