As the start of a new school year is quickly approaching, parent’s need to give much consideration as to who will be teaching their child this year? Sure, they may know their child’s teacher’s name, but do they know this teacher’s credentials? Does this teacher meet No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) qualification of certified and highly qualified?
This topic can be rather touchy, because there are some really good teachers out there that are not certified, but parents should ask themselves this question, “Would I allow a doctor without the proper training to service me in any way?” If the answer is no, then why are parents so passive about who’s teaching their child every day? Shouldn’t this be just as important as who they would choose as their doctor?
In order for a teacher to be considered qualified he or she must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in the field of education. For those teachers who are teaching a special subject, which are mainly middle and high school teachers, they should be certified in the area that they’re teaching. These teachers should have also completed and passed the state licensing examination, or have earned national board certification.
There are many teachers who fall under other categories such as Temporary Authority to Teach (TAT), Out of Field Authorization to Teach (OFAT) or Temporary Employment Permit (TEP). All these teachers have the authorization to teach, but none of them fall under NCLB’s definition of highly qualified. These are teachers who either possess a college degree; however the degree is not in education, or they do hold a degree in education, but have not successfully passed the state licensing exam.
Louisiana Resource Center for Educators (LRCE), a center that works to assist individuals to obtain their teaching certification, has reported that Louisiana currently has more than 3,000 non-certified teachers in the classrooms. The question then should be asked, “Is this the problem with Louisiana’s education?” Certainly, all the blame can’t be laid on these teachers, but it could possible play a significant role.
All parents are able to check their child’s teacher’s certification. This information is available at doe.state.la.us. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and there’s a “Most Requested Information” box. Click the drop menu and choose Teacher Certification. It is recommended that all parents take a few minutes to truly find out who’s teaching their child.