Education Certification Problems

Published October 12, 2006

Dear Editor:

Your article “Despite a Doctorate, Top-Students Unqualified to Teach” [Oct. 11] did a fine job of calling attention to major problems in our education system’s approach to teacher training and recruitment. It is truly a shame that Mr. Huyck is forced to leave Pacific Collegiate over his failure to complete the state’s bureaucratic certification process.

But you fail to point out that these requirements are set by state government, not federal, and therefore have very little to do with No Child Left Behind. Some states do in fact allow charter school teachers to remain uncertified in the belief that schools and parents, not a centralized certification board, are the best judge of teacher quality.

The problem existed long before NCLB was launched in 2001 and is rooted in the belief that parents and students need government bureaucracies to tell them how and what they should learn.

It says something about private schools that Mr. Huyck didn’t have trouble finding a new job. Private schools clearly value knowledge of subject and real-world experience over pro-forma teaching “credentials.”

Michael Van Winkle ([email protected]) manages media relations for The Heartland Institute.