Congress Remains Conflicted over Certification

Congress members are unable to come to a decision on whether or not teacher certificates are equivalent to teaching degrees. Edweek explores this dilemma and hears from both sides of the disagreement.

Congress works to address conflict of language between teaching certificates and teaching degrees. Edweek’s blog breaks down the argument into simple structures, explaining the differences between the two.

“The question of how—and whether—the federal government should encourage alternative-certification programs is likely to be an area of debate whenever Congress actually gets around to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. They’re not there yet, not even close, and won’t be for awhile.”

“In fact, last week, two different coalitions sent letters up to Capitol Hill expressing totally different sentiments on whether Congress should continue to allow teachers in alternative certification to be considered “highly qualified.””

“And today, a House subcommittee overseeing K-12 education held a hearing on the topic. They didn’t settle the issue for good, but there was generally a lot of supportive chatter when it comes to alternative-certification programs.”

There is both support and opposition to consider teaching certificate candidates as qualified to teach in classroom settings. Trends show that in areas with less available teachers, certificates are very useful and can help education opportunities for youth. In areas where teachers are plentiful, the question is who are the above-average teachers- those with teaching degrees.

“Alternative-certification routes help address teacher shortages in particular geographic areas and subject matter, as well as strengthen the overall quality of the teaching profession. While Republicans know there is no one-size-fits-all federal solution to help put more effective teachers in the classroom, supporting the availability and acceptance of alternative-certification programs is one way the public and private sectors can join together to ensure more students have access to a quality education from an extraordinary educator.”

“But some members of the committee sounded a note of skepticism. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., talked about her own experiences teaching adults. She had deep subject matter knowledge, she said, but she still struggled with basic pedagogy. For instance, her students told her that some of her assessment questions were confusing. That shows that you need some sort of background and training to teach, beyond just subject mastery, Woolsey said.”

To check out what other important figures had to say about the conflict of language in “certification”, check out the full article online at Edweek.

Published July 27, 2012