The Corner

Education

Getting More Good Teachers into Classrooms

Of late, leftist teacher organizations have been pounding the drums for higher pay, using a lot of misleading statistics and rhetoric to squeeze more money out of the taxpayers. That’s the wrong way to go.

We need to open up the channels into the teaching profession, which are badly constricted due to state licensing laws. In North Carolina, there are three bills in the hopper that would lessen that problem and in today’s Martin Center article, Anthony Hennen takes a look at them. The bills:

  • HB 634 would expand “lateral entry programs,” which prepare potential teachers to obtain a teaching license even if they did not earn a degree through an education school.
  • HB 681 would excuse military spouses who taught out of state and moved to North Carolina with their spouse from testing requirements for North Carolina teacher licenses.
  • SB 462 recommends the UNC system to consider adopting UTeach, a program that trains STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) college students to become high-school STEM teachers.

Hennen writes,

If all three bills become law, North Carolina public schools may have more competition for teaching positions. The overriding concern, however, is whether the increase in licensed teachers could pull down average teacher quality and harm student outcomes. A February report from the UNC system on teacher preparation shed some light on this problem: out-of-state teachers performed worse UNC system-trained teachers except in English instruction. (Of course, it is possible that UNC’s self-interest played a part in those findings.)

I have no doubt that the education schools will fight along this “but teachers who have been through our programs are the best trained” line, but it’s baloney. Ed-school pedigrees are neither necessary nor sufficient for competent teaching.

Hennen nails the truth, writing that “creating more pathways into teaching should be a benefit. Without question, it will reduce the average cost of producing teachers. It will also help fill some holes, such as the shortage of STEM teachers.”

Passing these bills wouldn’t be a cure-all for the problem of inadequate numbers of good teachers, but it would be a start.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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