Thursday, March 12, 2009

The LEV Has BP

I had some free time today, so I finally was able to spend quality minutes with the 2009 Citizens Report Card on Washington State Education from the League of Education Voters. I like schools, and this is a mostly inoffensive read, but one part that jumped out at me (under our C+ grade for "Raising the bar--for everyone."):

*Expand alternative pathways for subject-area experts to become teachers.
*Revise and strengthen the state's definition of Highly Qualified Teacher to require an academic major in the subject area being taught.
Don't those seem kinda mutually exclusive?

Take the oft-cited theoretical engineer, who majored in engineering. She might be a math wiz, but if that wasn't her major it would seem that the LEV would deem her to be NOT highly qualified.

Similarly, the computer sciences. Most of your Microsoft engineers weren't math majors, even though they might be pretty sharp at it, but under what the LEV proposes here they wouldn't be HQ to teach math, either.

I'm not against alternate pathways; if they fill a need and they get good people into the classroom, that's a happy thing. But it's hard to see how you can promote both alternate pathways AND subject area degrees, because there's quite a divide between the two.

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