No More Alt. Teachers


More on teachers and education, courtesy of the National Council on Teacher Quality's Chaim Karczag, who writes:

In…New Jersey, the home of the original labor
market deregulation for teachers, the State Board of Education is about
to gut the alternative certification route by larding it with extra ed
school requirement. Instead of reducing them, the educrats are raising
barriers to entry. I'm shocked, shocked.

"A Rare Political Drama Over the Teacher Code"
The Newark Star-Ledger, August 20, 2003

"State Panel Advances Teacher License Rules"
The Newark Star Ledger, August 21, 2003

After they screw over alt-cert, they'll complain about a lack of supply,
and NJ can inch ever closer to paying $15 K per pupil, per year.

Update: Here are the proper links:


NEXT: Docuganda

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So with all this ridiculous licensing, I’m sure we’ll all be paying for some kind of national education insurance in the future, just to keep the costs down (I mean up).

  2. Neither of the links work.

  3. Just a personal comment: My wife wants to be a teacher. She got her degree, specialized in early childhood development, and took an extra-heavy math load to be prepared for what she wanted to do (teach math to 5th, 6th, or 7th graders).

    However, since the benefits in Texas suck, she ended up being a secretary instead. It paid less, but with better health insurance, it worked out better.

    Now, 4 years later, she’s in a position to teach without caring about how crappy the benefits are. BUT she has to alternate certify, because it’s been too long since she graduated.

    She blows through the course, is exempt from about 2/3rds of it because she’s already had the classes, passes her certification test with an almost flawless score….

    And can’t get a job. Anywhere. Everyone in the area has decided that part of the No Child Left Behind Act means they have to hire fully certified teachers over teachers in the process of certification.

    Which means my wife, for instance, could be passed over for a math slot in favor of someone with a degree in French and a year’s experience teaching 5th grade. (I have no idea if this happened or not, and would say a good chunk of the problem is timing…districts can’t hire until you pass your test, but the test is taken two weeks before school starts).

    Nonetheless, she’s been passed over for two jobs over the objection of the principal in question, because new guidelines automatically prefer already-certified teachers.

    It’s starting to irritate me.

  4. Morat,

    That sucks. Alternate cert means people with actual knowledge of the subject matter, rather than endless hours of pedagogy gut courses, might get into the skools. That would mean teachers who were less abysmally ignorant than the current sorry lot, and it might make them look stoopid. Can’t have that.

  5. This problem has been around for a really long time (Richard Nixon mentioned it in his memoirs), and was one of the things the education reform movement that developed the ideas behind the No Child Left Behind law was determined to change.

    But the process of making policy is closer to its beginning than to its end when the President signs a piece of legislation, and the Bush administration appears not to have thought very hard about what would be necessary to implement all the features of the new law. It doesn’t help that its Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, is weak, or that his Department’s bureaucracy is used to trying to please teachers’ unions rather than fighting them. Fundamentally, though, what’s involved here is an administration that thought of education first as a field in which to fulfill a campaign promise, then as an opportunity for photo ops and bipartisanship, and only last as a policy issue demanding attention over the long term.

    There are good analyses of where things have gone wrong and how to fix them out there (here is one, from Slate:, but I wonder whether anyone in the administration is reading them.

  6. Glad you eliminated the F-word – not that I disagree with your position or emotion.

  7. Teach . . .
    Your children well,
    Their father’s hell,
    will slowly go by.

  8. Morat, Your wife can substitute-teach. Since most teachers take all their sick days, she will be full-time employed.

  9. We’ve considered it. Unfortunately, it’s only about 65 dollars a day, and leaves us SOL next summer. Last night was Open House for our kid’s school, so we got the Texas literacy and NCLB lectures.

    When they mentioned that “No child shall leave third grade without reading at a third grade level” I had to ask my wife how they measured “reading at a third grade level”. I was horrified at the thought that, in essence, the requirement might be “All children must be reading above average”. Luckily, it wasn’t quite that bad.

    Basically, the Texas government wrote up a list of “Things kids need to know how to do at 18” and mandated you couldn’t get a degree unless you passed a test showing you could do them. Then they decided kids needed to be able to do that at 16, so they’d have two or three years to take the tests in case they failed the first time. Then they just worked backwards.

    If it’s any consolation, these laws weren’t written by teachers, and I saw several of them wincing about them. I’ve been around lots of teachers, and I promise you: 90% of the BS in education isn’t the teacher’s fault. It’s the fault of the state government, and it generally boils down to the state mandating things like “All students will read above average”.


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.