Secondly, simply looking at experience and credentials (the current proposal) does not tell the whole story. There are incredibly effective beginning teachers who only have bachelor's degrees. There are some amazing teachers who come into the field through alternative routes and others who do incredible work "out of field." Conversely, there are some teachers with more experience and traditional credentials who may not be as good. Since we still lack an accurate way to measure teacher effectiveness, we really don't know how to sort teachers in a way that tells us which teacher is more effective. This is the very heart of the current debate over standardized testing and teacher evaluation.
The third flaw in this thinking is that you can somehow improve how local districts and schools select their teachers by making the process more complicated. This process is already cumbersome, filled with regulations, certifications, background checks, politics, school district policies and union rules. Adding yet another layer of complexity will just slow down the process and prevent high poverty districts from getting the teachers they need, when they need them. The result will be larger class sizes and more substitutes when schools are unable to move through the process and hire enough teachers.
If we want our kids in high poverty communities to do better academically, it is time we truly supported the teachers who work with them instead of insulting and blaming them for all of society's ills.
Beginning this week, I will be devoting every Tuesday to providing new content to support the teaching of reading. I hope you will join me in spreading the word of new, helpful tools designed to improve reading instruction, and make teachers' work easier.