If you’ve read anything about education in the past 20 years, you’ve heard that the school systems are crushingly short of science and math teachers.
If you’ve had kids in the public school system, you’ll know that the system is even shorter of good math, science and technology teachers.
It’s not a wonder, of course; people with degrees in math, hard science and technology have a lot of opporunities in the private sector, right out of school. And as a career wends its way, the disparity gets starker; while a career in science or technology offers boundless opportunity for advancement and even entrepreneurship, a career in public education offers decades of unionized, union-style plodding up a public service pay scale, in a system where no matter how hard you work or how good you are, you will always have less money, seniority or recognition than some ticket puncher who gave up on teaching a decade ago, but is five years away from her pension.
But for all that, there are people, especially people in Math and Science, who spend a decade or two in the field and want a change of pace, or develop an altruistic streak, or become alarmed at the lack of math and science preparation they’re seeing in their own school-age kids; people with ample skills, the real world experience that impresses smart kids, and enough zeal for educating kids that they opt to leave a well-paid field in mid-career to teach!
And it’s with an aim toward alleviating that shortage that the Emmer Campaign is pushing alternative licensure – to allow these highly motivated people, the ones that have the chops to convince a school board to hire them, to get into the classroom without having to repeat two years of college to get a state license…
…that in the end ensures nothing about a teacher’s competence, but shows that they’ve sat through classes on pedagogy and child psychology.
But to listen to the left’s chanting points industry, you’d think what Emmer and the conservatives mean by “alternative licensing” is bringing in unqualified teachers from Guatemala and putting them in the classroom.
This particular chanting point is such a gross torture of context that it qualifies as an outright lie. It actively disinforms the public.
Remember – every single burned-out teacher currently punching their ticket in a Minnesota school until retirement is “certified”. The state’s minority achievement gap – which, in the Metro, is among the worst in the nation – was accomplished by “certified” teachers. But our math and science classes remain catastrophically short of qualified instructors.
What is more important – maintaining a bureaucratic status quo, or getting our state’s kids the education they need?
To Education Minnesota and the DFL, the answer is painfully obvious.