NCLB Leaves Experienced Teachers without Jobs

According to an article in The New York Times, “Despite a Doctorate and Top Students, Unqualified to Teach” (subscription required), experienced teachers are leaving the profession because of No Child Left Behind requirements. Under California law, a teacher must successfully complete a certification program to fulfill the NCLB mandate that there be a “highly qualifiedâ€? instructor in every classroom. The problem: many experienced teachers consider the program “an expensive, time-consuming indignity,” that lasts two years, costs around $15,000, is geared to beginners, and teaches lesson planning and classroom control.

The New York Times highlighted the plight of one teacher:

Jefferds Huyck stood in a corner of the gymnasium, comfortable in being inconspicuous, as the annual awards ceremony began one Friday last May at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, Calif. He listened as the principal named 16 of Mr. Huyck’s students who had earned honors in a nationwide Latin exam, and he applauded as those protégés gathered near center court to receive their certificates. Then the principal, Andrew Goldenkranz, said, “And here’s their teacher.� Hundreds of students and parents and colleagues rose unbidden in a standing ovation. In that gesture, they were both celebrating and protesting.

As virtually everyone in the audience knew, Mr. Huyck would be leaving Pacific Collegiate, a charter school, after commencement. Despite his doctorate in classics from Harvard, despite his 22 years teaching in high school and college, despite the classroom successes he had so demonstrably achieved with his Latin students in Santa Cruz, he was not considered “highly qualified� by California education officials under their interpretation of the federal No Child Left Behind law.


With the quality of teacher training being widely assailed as undemanding, most recently in a report last month by the Education Schools Project, a nonpartisan group, Pacific Collegiate in 2005 had what certainly looked like the solution. Out of a faculty of 29, 12 already had or were nearing doctoral degrees, primarily related to the subjects they taught.

And if the performance of the school mattered for anything, which unfortunately it does not in the credentialing issue, then Pacific Collegiate could show results. Admitting its 400 students in Grades 7 through 12 by lottery rather than by admissions exam, it recorded an average of 1,982 out of a possible 2,400 on the three-part SAT and sent graduates to Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Swarthmore and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among other elite universities.

Yet when Mr. Goldenkranz became principal in September 2005, he was informed by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education that, as he recalled in a recent interview, “in no uncertain terms, we had to develop a path to compliance with N.C.L.B.� Once the teachers were certified, Pacific Collegiate itself would have to pay $6,000 per teacher to the state for their enrollment in a program devised to improve retention of new faculty members.

One thought on “NCLB Leaves Experienced Teachers without Jobs

  1. I am in full agreement with you in terms of stopping homework.

    While I was in school, I found that most homework was useless in terms of my education…while not all of it was useless – most of it served no purpose beyond the basics to education.

    Life and working in it, is dealt with interaction, not with sticking your face into a book and writing answers into a paragraph or a few pages to have somebody mark it and then grade you on what you wrote. Not knowing if you understand or not whatever you wrote.

    I may have finished any homework that was given to me and still not have understood the concept of anything in it.

    True classroom education should be equivilent to the freedom of knowledge wanted to learn by the student – not pushed upon by the schoolboard or through a form of homework where it may be of no further inspiration or gathering of knowledge by the student.

    Knowledge is gathered through inspiration to learn how to want to do something – so whether or not somebody reads Shakesphere or draws symetrical lines in math and has no comprehension of it – really serves no purpose.

    Any student who is interested in literature should be taught what they seek – as in math, science, history, geography and any where else.

    It will only make the student much more capable of understanding that area to a better degree.

    While I hold an IQ. of 141, I had a very hard time in school dealing with class because I was not taught in a way which I could understand most of the class’s session.

    Teacers had a rule – whcih they followed in order to meet their boss’s demands and get their paycheque.

    To that degree – their livelihood means that they had to be quiet in terms of providing their voice, and therefor would not suggest any new ways of learning for kids who need another view.

    Building a house doesn’t only consist of one way to do so.
    While building a house, things change – sometimes it’s the layout, sometimes it the cost, sometimes the ground stability, sometimes products which need to be used, sometimes it’s weather, or the customer’s demands and sometimes the crew that is hired…so the plan which was innitially created by the artist and architect will have changed because of these matters and more.

    The same is true when building a student to learn. The education system can only design a concept and try to stay close to it – however the way that the form will take will be twisted and turned and shaped into something else within only a matter of days and the concept has now evolved.

    If it can accepted as in the circumstance with a house or with something relative in terms of business, why can it not be the same for education?

    The entire school system has to change to help teach from a different perspective. One which is more oriented for gathering knowledge for comprehension than which is just forcefeeding students only to reject it and throw it up.

    When you forcefeed a kid, they will be stubborn, irritable and refuse to eat – and if they do eat, they will be upset and cranky and unresponsive. It’s the same principal – just on another scale.

    In areas where adults deal with this matter everyday, it’s surprising how teachers and principals and those in the areas of education do not understand this.

    I probably would have become a far better student had my teachers used this theory instead of forcing me to do homework which I barely understood because my inspiration or comprehension was not there.

    There were times when I came up with a theory or answer which would be the same and because it was not taught that way in class, I would fail. How is that right? What does that teach the student?

    Your answer is right, but it’s not the way I taught you to do it and even though you have your own ideas and you can show it to be valid – you are wrong. You fail.

    Does that make sense? Would you want to be fired from your job because you thought of another way to do something? What stupidity.

    Why fail a student or dismiss their idea because of it? There is more than one way to come to an answer which may be relative to the problem – so why disregard the person who doesn’t see it your way?

    Education is an experience which will teach everybody new ways of doing something. If it wasn’t; we would still all be stuck in a cave trying to make fire and hunting animals with sticks and stones.

    Inspire the student. Give them the freedom to speak how they feel. Give them the right to ask questions based on their curiosity. Never downgrade them. Never dismiss their questions.

    Failure to respect and acknowledge your students will mean failure to your students.

    Prepare the students for life by letting them explore it.

    Homework and negative and restrictive teaching methods will only fail them in their future.

    The student who will want to do homework will do so without asking for it and should be given credit based on it. It will be out of their desire for the subject.

    Don’t reject a school student because of their decision not to do their homework or if it is not done to what you expect – because you are not in their head.

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