Not surprisingly, Chett over at ReformK12 disagreed with my post about the "instant teacher" plan recently passed by the Texas State Board of Education. Under the program anyone with a degree "related" to the subject they plan to teach who also passes a test would get a two-year certificate to teach. You can read all of Chett’s thoughts yourself but I have a couple of items to respond to.
My objection to the Texas plan wasn’t so much the instant part as the fact that there appears to be no support offered for these new teachers once they enter the classroom. Chett says that the responsibility for this belongs to the local districts not the state. And then he says it belongs to the school not to the district or state. Well, someone needs to take responsibility.
In this case, since the State Board is approving this simplistic approach to teacher certification, they should pay for the training most of these instant teachers will need. Let the individual districts and schools decide how best to implement it but a mentor program shouldn’t be an option when the standards for certification are set so low.
Chett also says "Be sure the candidate knows the subject matter cold, and genuinely wants to work with kids (as opposed to seeing teaching as a fallback position)." I guess the test is going to cover both parts of this.
He also says "Hand the teacher copies of The First Days of School by Harry Wong, and Setting Limits in the Classroom: How to Move Beyond the Dance of Discipline in Today’s Classrooms by Robert MacKenzie. Both of these books are extremely practical, the first focuses on general classroom procedures, and the second on discipline." Both books are excellent and we use them in our system’s mentor program. But just handing them out with no follow up is still irresponsible.
And finally, "How do you think they do it in private schools?" Of course. As we all know every private school is better than any public school.