Utah State School Board and Licensing: from Education Week.

I certainly have mixed feelings about this new ruling. I can see it as a way to help Utah School Districts find teachers for hard to find areas. On the other hand, what does this do for the pedological training so important to teachers. Shouldn’t teachers know why they are doing what they are doing? What is the learning theory that underpins the actions of each teacher’s actions? It is not a bright future for college and university schools’ of education.

Despite Public Outcry, Utah Schools Can Now Hire Teachers With No Training
By Madeline Will on August 12, 2016 4:07 PM
teacher-classroom-GETTY_560x292.jpgDespite overwhelming outrage from teachers, Utah public schools can now officially hire people to teach without a teaching license or teaching experience.

In June, the Utah State Board of Education voted to create an alternative pathway to obtaining a teaching license, under which school districts and charter schools can hire individuals with relevant professional experience, particularly in hard-to-staff areas like computer science or mathematics. To be hired as a teacher through this pathway, applicants need a bachelor’s degree, must pass the state test required for teacher certification, and must complete an educators’ ethics review and pass a background check.

The new pathway, which is intended to curb the state’s teacher shortage, drops a previous requirement that these prospective teachers take college teacher-training courses. Instead, after being hired, the new teachers go through three years of supervision and mentoring from a veteran educator before receiving licensure.

The policy became effective today, after the state board made no changes, despite last month’s heated public hearing on the issue. According to news reports, a beyond-capacity crowd strongly criticized the new rule, saying that it would harm student learning and that it devalues teachers.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, an elementary school teacher said the policy was “absolutely demoralizing and insulting,” saying: “Just because you comprehend third-grade math doesn’t mean that you can teach third-grade math.”

Representatives from the Utah teacher unions, local subject-area associations, and the Utah Democratic Caucus also opposed the rule. Supporters contend that it will give schools access to a bigger pool of talent.

Forty-two percent of teachers in Utah quit within the five years of starting, and more than one-third of those who quit teaching do so at the end of their first year, according to the Utah State Office of Education. Meanwhile, Utah’s student population is increasing every year—schools in the state gained nearly 12,000 new students last year.

Stock image via Getty

Related Reading:

You No Longer Need a Teaching Degree to Teach in Utah
Districts Facing Teacher Shortages Look for Lifelines
Teaching in Wisconsin Might Not Even Require a College Degree Soon
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Dr. Conde
2:31 PM on August 15, 2016
Truly pathetic, Utah and Wisconsin! Why should any teacher be licensed and educated? College is expensive, and teachers are just babysitters, right? Or only some teachers have to be licensed, and others get paid less than the already paltry wages? How about nurses and firefighters? Is it OK if they just learn on the job? No training necessary! As long as you’re practicing on someone else’s family members, who cares? What if the new hires don’t stay for three years? What if the mentor teacher is too busy teaching herself to also fulfill the role of college teacher? And even though it’s obvious, it bears stating. Teachers don’t just teach subjects, they teach students. Managing individual students and groups and providing meaningful, connected educational/curricular experiences isn’t a script one follows. Moreover, teaching is not a “passion”; it requires education, observation, practice, and reflection, and on-going professional development and collaboration. This Republican dream of disruption until the middle class are all minimum wage slaves is apparently working. One way to address the shortage would be to raise taxes and attract candidates willing to invest in education. The next time someone invokes Finland, I think I’ll just say “Utah”.
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A Rather Grim Assessment of Where Public Education is Headed

Here is an article by Todd Lily on the “for profit” business in education called “The Greening of American Education.” It is featured on the website BustEd Pencils. The privatization of education in the good ole’ US of A is on a role with nothing but concerned citizens to slow it down. Movements to stop standardized testing in states such as New York are some of the examples of resistance by local groups to stop privatization/testing/charters. When considering what is happening across our country, I’m not sure if there is a way to stop this runaway train. Maybe people will come to their senses.

KSL article: Capacity issues in Utah School Districts

See this article and this video by KSL. It raises multiple issues when patrons of school districts fail to pass bonds to build new schools. Certainly makes good business for contractors who build portables.

Tribune article on the new state superintendent.

Even though this article is from a few weeks ago, I would like to post it since we are starting to get ready for the start of new school year. I have known Syd Dixon for many years. She is a 1977 graduate of Dixie High School, the same year that I graduated from rival high school Hurricane High School. I see her as a wonderful alternative to the previous state superintendent who really seemed to be divisive during his 18 months of leadership. I believe she will be a leader who will bring competing educational entities together in what amounts to a very uncertain path for education. Go get em’ Syd.

From the Salt Lake Tribune, Bagley Cartoon: Giving Teachers Dirty Looks

Here is one of Pat Bagley’s priceless cartoon’s. The Utah Legislature is depicted as the driver of the car, and of course, you have the trash-eating state bird, the seagull riding with him.

Colin Powell: the secret to his success.

Colin Powell wrote an inspiring article in the Wall Street Journal titled “What American Citizenship Makes Possible.” Here is the article in its entirety:

Many years ago, after I had become a four-star general and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Times of London wrote an article observing that if my parents had sailed to England rather than New York, “the most they could have dreamed of for their son in the military was to become a sergeant in one of the lesser British regiments.”

Only in America could the son of two poor Jamaican immigrants become the first African-American, the youngest person and the first ROTC graduate from a public university to hold those positions, among many other firsts. My parents arrived—one at the Port of Philadelphia, the other at Ellis Island—in search of economic opportunity, but their goal was to become American citizens, because they knew what that made possible.

Immigration is a vital part of our national being because people come here not only to build a better life for themselves and their children, but to become Americans. With access to education and a clear path to citizenship, they routinely become some of the best, most-patriotic Americans you’ll ever know. That’s why I am a strong supporter of immigration-law reform: America stands to benefit from it as much as, if not more than, the immigrants themselves.

Contrary to some common misconceptions, neighborhoods with greater concentrations of immigrants have lower rates of crime and violence than comparable nonimmigrant neighborhoods, according to a 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Foreign-born men age 18-39 are jailed at one-quarter the rate of native-born American men of the same age.

Today’s immigrants are learning English at the same rate or faster than earlier waves of newcomers, and first-generation arrivals are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or cancer than native-born people. They experience fewer chronic health conditions, have lower infant-mortality and obesity rates, and have a longer life expectancy.

My parents met and married here and worked in the garment industry, bringing home $50 to $60 a week. They had two children: my sister Marilyn, who became a teacher, and me. I didn’t do as well as the family hoped; I caused a bit of a crisis when I decided to stay in the Army. “Couldn’t he get a job? Why is he still in the Army?”

We were a tightknit family with cousins and aunts and uncles all over the place. But that family network didn’t guarantee success. What did? The New York City public education system.

I’m a public-education kid, from kindergarten through to Morris High School in the South Bronx and, finally, City College of New York. New York University made me an offer, but tuition there was $750 a year. Such a huge sum in 1954! I would never impose that on my parents, so it was CCNY, where back then tuition was free. I got a B.S. in geology and a commission as an Army second lieutenant, and that was that. And it all cost my parents nothing. Zero.

After CCNY, I was lucky to be among the first group of officers commissioned just after the Army was desegregated. I competed against West Pointers, against grads from Harvard and VMI and the Citadel and other top schools. And to my surprise, I discovered I had gotten a pretty good education in the New York City public schools. Not only in geology and the military, but also in wider culture. I had learned a little about music, about Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and theater and things like that. I got a complete education, all through public schools, and it shapes me to this day.

This amazing gift goes back to 1847 when the Free Academy of the City of New York was created with a simple mandate: “Give every child the opportunity for an education.” And who would pay for it? The citizens and taxpayers of New York City and State. They did it and kept at it when the Academy became CCNY in 1866, because they knew that poor immigrants were their children. They were the future.

They still are. Today some 41 million immigrants and 37.1 million U.S.-born children of immigrants live in the U.S. Taken together, the first and second generations are one-quarter of the population. While some countries, like Japan and Russia, worry that population decline threatens their economies, America’s economic future vibrates with promise from immigrants’ energy, creativity and ambition.

Every one of these people deserves the same educational opportunities I had. It wasn’t, and isn’t, charity to immigrants or to the poor. Those early New Yorkers were investing in their own future by making education and citizenship accessible to “every child.” They knew it—and what a future it became!

We still have that model. But today too many politicians seem to think that shortchanging education will somehow help society. It does not. It hurts society. We need people who know that government has no more important function than securing the terrain, which means opening the pathways to the future for everyone, educating them to be consumers, workers, leaders—and citizens.

We are all immigrants, wave after wave over several hundred years. And every wave makes us richer: in cultures, in language and food, in music and dance, in intellectual capacity. We should treasure this immigrant tradition, and we should reform our laws to guarantee it.

In this political season, let us remember the most important task of our government: making Americans. Immigrants—future Americans—make America better every single day.

Gen. Powell was secretary of state (2001-05); chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93); and national security adviser (1987-89). This is adapted from his comments at a May 25 forum hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at City College of New York.

Great article on the 2016 election

Harold Meyerson has written a most thoughtful article in The American Prospect on the dynamics of the 2016 election. He calls the 2016 election “the post-middle-class election,” and ties its themes to the collapse of the middle class and the engorgement of the 1%. This situation created both an opening for Bernie Sanders but also for the rage of the white working-class, which responded to Trump’s white nationalist appeal.