Since testifying against the Wisconsin DPI (Department of Public Instruction) teacher license rule changes, some have suggested that I am simply a defender of the status quo. That my insistence on “standards” means I wish to keep in place the current system. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Here is a direct quote from testimony,
“All of our children deserve a fully qualified, licensed teacher. A teacher who is culturally competent. A teacher with a deep understanding of linguistic plurality. A teacher with multiple experiences in inclusive settings. These teachers must have an education rooted in critical pedagogy that exposes societal inequities and inspires a passion for social justice.”
Please explain how this is a call for keeping things the same.
When I refer to standards it is the vision that I present above that I am referring to—not the current “hurdles” that have been made a part of the licensing system by those outside the field of teaching and teacher education.
I strongly support the elimination of any high stakes standardized test as a gatekeeper to the teaching profession. That means PRAXIS, Core, and FoRT (Foundations of Reading Test). Each of these imposed gates has been detrimental to actually preparing the teachers our children deserve.
But remember, these high stakes gates were legislated by a grossly ignorant legislature hell bent on getting votes at the expense of doing what’s best for children, schools and their communities. The validity of these tests as predictors of teaching success is nonexistent.
So by all means let’s celebrate the fact that at least there is starting to be some “alternatives” to the PRAXIS and Core tests. However creating a lower tier pathway to classrooms for future teachers that can’t pass the FoRT is unacceptable. Entering classrooms at Tiers without a teacher license simply creates a sub class of teachers who will be vulnerable to reduced wages and denied the professional status they deserve.
Let’s be very clear about what needs to be done. The FoRT must be abolished! It is a racially biased tool that reeks of eugenics and has absolutely no ability to predict success teaching early literacy concepts. In fact preparing future teachers for the FoRT takes time away from deep studies concerning the range of approaches needed to help a vast diversity of children with a vast diversity of needs.
Status Quo? No!
Insisting on standards for future teachers that address racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, special needs, and inclusive competencies? Yes.
Fast track pathways into classrooms when current teachers are racing to get out of classrooms? No!
The teachers our children, their schools, and their communities deserve? Yes!
How? Courage to break from the real status quo—bureaucrats, politicians, pundits, and adults advocating for their own best interests.