We Honor Arizona for Top Certification Horror Story of the Year

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For those of us whose like to collect outrageous stories about talented individuals who can't get certified, here is a humdinger, in fact it's probably the year's best.

Neil Manzenberger recently retired from his job as a music teacher in Indiana to head to the warmer climate of Arizona. Manzenberger was a certified teacher for thirty years in Indiana, having taught elementary music for nine years and high school music for another 21 years. He also has a master's degree in music education.

Unfortunately, Manzenberger hadn't ever taken a course in "methods of teaching elementary music," so Arizona only gave him an emergency certificate. This alone seems ridiculous: one missing pedagogy course and a thirty-year veteran can't get a real teaching certificate.

However, the absurdity of the situation multiplies tenfold upon learning that although Manzenberger never took such a course, he actually taught it at a state university in Indiana for nine years! It's hard to blame the guy for digging in his heels and refusing the state's order that he take the class.

Unfortunately, he may well have to choose between his principles and his career: state board officials seem determined to enforce the standard requirements at all costs. "This is a state board rule," stated Jan Amator, Arizona's deputy associate superintendent for highly qualified professionals. "It is not something we are doing arbitrarily. These are rules we have to follow."

It's worth checking the whole story out for yourself, particularly the reporter's contempt for Arizona's "imbecilic" state requirements.