Education : NCLB Highly Qualified Teachers Will Help to Eliminate the Crime of Under- Education
Author: Leanne Hoagland-Smith
Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) defines highly qualified teachers: To be deemed highly qualified, teachers must have: 1) a bachelor's degree, 2) full state certification or licensure, and 3) prove that they know each subject they teach. So why the continued resistance to this requirement? After all, don’t we want our children taught by the best teachers especially given the poor outcomes during the last 25 plus years?
From a common sense perspective, this definition makes sense given the thousands of dollars being paid to teachers. According to a report compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics entry-level teachers in 1999-2000 nationally averaged $27,989 with the national average at $41,820.
Comparing these salaries to the number of days spent teaching (national average of 185 days) indicates that a teacher’s daily rate ranges from $151 to $226. When factoring the actual time instructing students which varies from elementary to high school, suggests that teachers are not under paid for their efforts. (NOTE: These figures do not include fringe benefits.)
So why the resistance to this definition and standard? From my observations during the last 10 years, there is a direct connection between this standard and accountability.
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a 7th grade teacher in an urban school spend 1 hour and 45 minutes yelling at her students within a 2 hour period. As a former teacher and now performance driven educational consultant, I know that there was very little learning happening in that classroom. Many would say that the students were bad and it wasn’t the teacher’s fault. However, in asking some indirect questions, I learned that this teacher was not certified and was hired because she of her relationship with the principal. In fact, this teacher had the better 7th grade students due to the principal’s intervention. Factoring that this is a school on academic probation shows me a true disconnect between highly qualified teacher and accountability. Why would anyone hire a teacher without exceptional credentials in this situation demonstrates a total disregard to those students' academic current and future success .
The hiring of non-qualified teachers appears to be a more prevalent practice than many taxpayers realize. Parents, citizens and students presume that their teachers are fully qualified. This practice of hiring non-qualified teachers has contributed to the significant under-education of American children especially those in urban schools.
Under-educating leads to the accountability factor. When children are under-educated, they have experienced performance failure conditioning. Yet, many administrators and teachers fight accountability with arguments from blaming parents to not having enough money.
Currently, the U.S. spends a national average of $10,000 (local, state and federal tax dollars) educating students. In a class of 25 that equals $250,000. Even if the expenditure is reduced to $5,000 per student, that still is $125,000. Given that academic growth in elementary and high schools for the last 33 years has average less than 1% (Source: Nation’s Report Card), whatever strategies than can be implemented to ensure dramatic performance improvement need to be embraced by every school system and community. Our nation cannot continue to under-educate any student and NCLB establishment of highly qualified teachers is a solid first step toward eliminating this social crime of under-education.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith, President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, works with large urban to private schools, certified staff, support staff, students and parents to improve performance that in 30 to 180 days. Using proven tools, we can quickly and affordably identify the gaps in YOUR organization, provide you with an Action Plan that you can easily implement along with developmental programs from executive leadership to student leadership.
What would the value to you be if everyone within your school all rowed in the same direction with energy and enthusiasm?
Connecting Passion to Purpose to DOUBLE Performance in Real Time...