Alabama Board Of Education Did This To Teacher Of The Year

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that there is an issue with education in the US. The President has recently weighed in on reducing standardized testing, something that teachers have fought since its inception. It seems that one small win for education now has to take the back burner to another problem area: Credentials.

The Issue With Education Credentials

Education credentials should be straight forward. A teacher should have credentials to teach. You wouldn’t trust a doctor without knowing they went to medical school, right? Well, it isn’t as simple as that. As an educator, I can attest that every place has their own set of rules and just because you are highly qualified, with a degree from a top school, years of work experience, or even a teacher of the year finalist, as the case may be, that doesn’t mean that you can simply get a job teaching somewhere that needs you.

That’s right, even the best of the best might not be deemed “qualified” if the school board decides extra education credentials or “a different color” of credentials is needed to teach. To make matters worse, these certifications take away time a teacher has to actually teach and they aren’t free. In fact, teaching is one of the very few skilled professions that charges its members to apply for a job (I’ll write on that doozy a bit later!) and to continue having a job.

In one heartfelt letter, Alabama Teacher of the Year, Ann Marie Corgill, felt she had no other recourse than to resign from her job as a teacher, due to the board of education’s insane requirements. The board stated she was not fit to teach 5th graders because they did not recognize her national credentials in education and wanted her to test (for a fee, of course) for a local credential set.

Let that sink in. A local institute did not want to recognize a Teacher of the Year’s national credentials because they would lose money by not having her take their standardized test. This is a straightforward case of greed. It is an extra tax on being able to work and it is an extra tax that many teachers simply cannot afford.

Whether you are a parent or not shouldn’t matter. What is at stake is the future of our world. When we care more about which stamp a certificate has, instead of the actual proven ability to teach, then what message are we sending to the world?

Featured Image by roanokecollege via Flickr, available under Creative Commons license.

Jo Szewczyk is an American scholar who earned his PhD from Lancaster University in the UK. He is currently an ex-pat American living in Montreal, Canada where he spends his time with his cat, Chuck Finley.