As the war against our public schools and the profession of teaching drags on it amazes me that some people still act surprised when politicians attempt to enact policy that pushes us closer and closer towards total privatization and the siphoning of tax dollars directed towards operations that only stand to profit from the collapse.
However, today in the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel it was reported that,
A provision in the proposed state budget is raising the ire of educators and leaders of Wisconsin’s schools of education who say it would lower the quality of new teachers in the classroom, most likely in schools with the neediest children. …
American Board offers a low-cost, fast-track online program for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree; it takes usually a year or less for under $3,000, according to its website.
Its graduates would be exempt from some of the more stringent quality-control requirements other teacher candidates must meet in Wisconsin: student teaching; a test measuring their understanding of the concepts of — and how to teach — reading and writing; and a rigorous assessment of overall knowledge and teaching ability.
No one should be surprised by this. A provision for fast track “teacher academies” is in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that was passed with BI partisan support over 2 years ago. And the American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence was identified well over a week ago by simply doing a little bit of critical reading of the actual provision.
“45. Alternative Teacher Preparation Program- Require the DPI to grant an initial teaching license to an individual meets the following requirements: (a) possesses a bachelor’s degree; (b) he has successfully completed an alternative teacher certification program operated by an alternative preparation program provider that is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, that operates in at least five states and has been in operation for at least ten years, and that requires the candidate to pass a subject area exam and the pedagogy exam known as the Professional Teaching Knowledge exam to receive a certification under the program and successfully completes a background check. Specifically that this license would authorize an individual to teach the subject and educational levels for which the individual successfully completed his program.”
Take Google and enter “alternative teacher certification” “501(c) (3)” “five states” “ten years” and “Professional Teaching Knowledge Exam.” Guess what comes back in the search? The American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence (ABCTE).
But an even better question to ask is why? Why the need for ABCTE? Well according to ABCT Spokeswoman Jennifer Burkhardt,
“Wisconsin has a teacher shortage….”
And it’s not just ABCTE. Even Tony Evers, state Superintendent of Public Instruction and Democratic candidate for governor—not supportive of ABCTE—wants “to develop legitimate solutions to our teacher shortage.”
Enough with the teacher “shortage” narrative!
When teachers are leaving their jobs across the state and enrollment in teacher prep programs is at an all time low you don’t have a “labor shortage.” You have a toxic work place environment (Walker and Act 10). A toxicity that has spurred an EXODUS from the classrooms of our children and a plummeting enrollment in teacher preparation programs.
Once you come to terms with this fact, then understanding how a “fast track” no standards-teacher prep program landed in the budget is simple. Politicians don’t want real teachers. They want cheap labor that won’t question a work place environment that has created a mental heath crisis.
Negotiating with those trying to privatize public schools only yields results that push us closer and closer to the elemination of our public school system. It’s time to stop laying the bricks that seal our fate. We need to be the architects and design a world that empowers us to create—the schools our children deserve.