You know, I have become accustomed to folks asking me why a graduate degree is needed to be a school librarian. But I do not think I have ever had someone suggest that you could become a teacher without at least an undergrad degree and some sort of certification. What now? Teach for America will advertise for warm bodies and not for someone with a degree? Teacher education programs will fold up their tents and steal silently into the night? And when scores plummet even further (and I begin there as this is always what reformists use to measure success of teachers and education and students) who will be to blame? Once teacher ed programs are gone, I suspect, then school privatization will commence in earnest. Public schools will cease to exist; charters and for-profit schools will swoop in. We are already seeing the echoes of this in some states. And despite the fact that charters are no more successful than their counterparts, the push is always forward.
The ads for the reformist movement here in Texas tout the "miracles" in Louisiana and Florida. Funny, other states used to tout the Texas miracle and the DC miracle until they were both shown to be not-so-miraculous.
BTW, the governor of the state insists he does not have a position on this proposal yet. Really, Governor Walker? Let me make that easy for you. Your position should be, "I think such a move would denigrate the profession of teaching. I will not support this under any circumstances."
The bottom line for me in all the is the total lack of respect for teachers and what they do each and every day. Teacher who genuinely care for their students, who deal not just with the intellect but the affect. Teachers who see kids not as widgets or products but as individuals, as humans. Teachers who know kids are not numbers, not levels or lexiles or test scores or even report card grades. Even after 25 years at the university, I can still see the faces of Lionel and Michaela and Beatrice and Teresa and Rawlin and Valerie and Shawn and Natalie and so many others. I smile as I recall the incredible young men and women they were becoming, and I am so grateful that I occasionally have the chance to see them now, fulfilling the promise they had as teens. I feel the same way about my former students. I see them in classrooms and in libraries. I see them assuming leadership positions in the profession. And I feel so fortunate to have been a small part of their education.