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Teaching Ability Optional

The attitude behind this statement by the Governor of New Jersey speaks volumes about the state of education reform in the US.

“It’s important that New Jersey public schools recruit and hire the most experienced, talented managers possible,” Mr. Christie, a Republican, said in a statement. “In large, state-run districts, or in schools that have failed our children for generations, we especially need leaders who know how to manage thousands of employees in districts that spend hundreds of millions in tax dollars.”

So, at least in New Jersey, it’s more important that principals and superintendents working with low performing schools have talents in managing budgets, people, and buildings, rather than in understanding the teaching process and how children learn.

I wonder… are those later skills optional for all educators or just those who lead educators?

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3 Comments

  1. Bravo! This is but one inconsistency we are dealing with in NJ at this time. Not only is the governor trying to eliminate the education background for future superintendents, but he’s taking a page from Bill Gates book; he asserts that teachers with advanced degrees are no better and offer nothing more than teachers with their undergrad degrees, therefore they do not deserve extra pay for their degree work.

    At every corner we’re seeing how the profession of education is being taken over by those who try to assert themselves education specialists by virtue of their bank account, their corporate experience, or the political leader they align themselves with.

    I’m waiting for our teaching colleges and universities to step up and be a voice for those people they have trained. Heh, I suppose I’m waiting for a superman there too.

  2. It’s probably that a “happy medium” is needed–we do need dedicated, experienced educators who love to teach as leaders, but also there is definitely a need for business/managment-minded leaders. I think those qualities don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    Thought-provoking post!

  3. Most if not all schools already have business administrators that fulfill this role. They do not need to have any educational background but they must have business, finance, and managerial experience and they work directly with each superintendent. I’m not convinced that a business person with no education background is qualified to evaluate me on my pedagogy. That’s the equivalent of teachers evaluating doctors when they have no medical background but for trips to the doctor’s office. I am tired of the teaching profession being muddied by the nonprofessional.

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