Highly miffed

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Ever the spot-on reporter on the joys and perils of teaching, full-time history teacher and part-time columnist Patrick Welsh takes up his pen to bludgeon The System Known As Teacher Certification, particularly Virginia's system, in the August 30 edition of USA Today. Welsh lashes out at "Virginia's reliance on mind-numbing but easily measurable criteria"--mostly the low passing scores on certification tests and the education coursework requirements. Welsh hurls invectives at state requirements and relates some familiar horror stories about people being forced to jump through bureaucratic hoops. A colleague of Welsh's, Caitlin Stravino, herself a graduate of Harvard's school of education, successfully fought a decision by the state cert office that would have required her to take yet another 33 credit hours of education coursework, but only by taking her appeal all the way up to the governor. Said Stravino, "Virginia's certification system is totally blind and has nothing to do with good teaching."