Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I had read on the excellent NYCEducator blog yesterday that Alan Singer had noted how the teacher in question from the Success debacle wasn't even certified. I couldn't believe it, so I looked it up. Sure enough, she's not licensed to teach in New York (look it up for yourself here).

The teacher comes from Indiana, so I looked it up. She's not certified there, either. Apparently, this lady has never possessed a teaching credential in her life. Wow.

For me, the big takeaway from all this isn't from the pattern abuse (you can plainly see the children weren't surprised and the teaching aide had seen this behavior before) and it isn't from the fact that this class was in the middle of an intense math lesson after the sun had gone down (Yeah, that 'calm down chair'? It's in front of a window and you can plainly tell this incident took place at night. yuk).

For me, the big takeaway is that this was done by a person not credentialed to teach anywhere in the US. I have to believe that a licensed teacher would not have done this. So I Dropped this comment on Ravitch earlier today:

Now that the initial news of the video itself is passing, is it a good time to start addressing the shocking realization that Ms. Dial was not certified to teach in New York State? Isn’t that a real a takeaway here? (As she hails from Indiana, it may be a good time to point out that no one named Charlotte Dial is certified to teach in that state either). That, to me, is shocking as I always just presumed charter teachers possessed the same professional qualifications as public school teachers. It raises three questions that I don’t think have ever been addressed (and probably should):

1) Are all charter school teachers not required to be licensed to teach?
2) Given the assertions from charters that they ‘perform’ better than public schools, what does this lack of certification from among their teaching corps say about the allegations of the need to improve teacher prep programs on every college campus across the country? If uncertified teachers are doing ‘so well’ then why invest so much money in teacher prep programs?
3) What it that say about charter schools that they do not even require their teachers to be certified? How does that mesh the claim of high standards and high achievement?
I think these are fair questions.
It does raise questions about why the ed deformers are pushing for tougher teacher prep programs and about whether the charter sector can really claim higher standards if they don't even require the minimum requirement for teachers. No one responded to those two questions.

But I did get this response re the first question from a commenter named Sharon in NYS:

New York State allows charter schools to hire up to 30% of non-certified individuals to teach. 100% of teachers in New York State PUBLIC schools must be certified.

 Can this be true? Can close to one third of charter teachers not be real teachers? I'm not a big charter fan, but I haven't expressed real concerns about them in the past because I always felt that, for parents who send their children to charters,  the benefits outweighed all of the criticisms (I'm a parent, so I tend to want to not attack the choices that other parents make for their children).

But if close to 1/3 of charter teachers aren't certified, then I think there is a real danger for students. Uncertified teachers will not respect the traditions of our profession as much as certified teachers will. Uncertified teachers will not benefit from the high, intense training that certified teachers have undergone in order to be certified.

Uncertified teachers may even commit to a pattern of abusive behavior without fully understanding the consequences it poses for children. There is a reason we are required to possess a minimum amount of certification. That reason was on full display in that video, if even evident only from its blaring absence.

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