The beginning of the 2003-04 school year brings us one year closer to the 2006 deadline for having a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. A well written article in the Detroit News describes some teachers' complaints about the law. Some long-time teachers are perturbed that since their master's degrees are in education rather than in their subject matter they are now being asked to prove their competence. They consider the requirement to prove their competence to be "demeaning." But, as Undersecretary of Education Eugene Hickok notes, "It's not unusual, sadly, to have 12- or 15-year career professionals in place who really aren't the kind of professionals we need," says Hickok. Competent teachers have nothing to worry about in No Child Left Behind. Some teachers might remind themselves that this process, however unnecessary it may seem to them personally, has the potential to address serious problems of the profession at large.
The article ends on a foreboding note, highlighting the plight of Anthony Amato, the incoming superintendent of the New Orleans school district. The New Orleans district runs with 40 percent of its teachers uncertified in the subjects they teach and is being forced to use literacy and math training for its teachers as it confronts longstanding problems of failing test scores and bad leadership. It's a tough road ahead for districts like New Orleans who need to find ways to improve classroom instruction as they seek to comply with No Child Left Behind.
"The Move to Get a Top Teacher in Every Major Class"
Ben Feller, <i>The Detroit News</i>, September 1, 2003