Discussions underway

Voice Card  -  Volume 28  -  Larry Card Number 7  -  Tue, May 4, 1993 10:36 PM

This is a response to VC 27 John 6 ("Educational Conversation")...

There has been much discussion here in California, and I suspect in the rest of the country, about modifying the teacher certification process to allow "unconventionals' to teach. In Silicon Valley this has special interest because of all of the out-of-work engineering, math, computer types. Such topic area teachers are in great demand primarily because good teachers in these areas move on to better paying jobs in the private sector.

Additionally, almost anyone with an undergraduate degree can be a substitute teacher, at least in California. With the shortage of substitute teachers in our area, a person could substitute full-time.

The teacher certification process in California is disgraceful. Diane is a special ed. teacher. When we moved to California 7 years ago, she had her undergraduate degree in Human Language from Stanford and her masters in early childhood education/special education at the U of Illinois. She was a credentialed special ed teacher in three states, Illinois, Texas, and Utah. While in Utah, she was the chair of the special ed department at her school and a mentor teacher in the district.

Sounds like she should have no problem getting a credential to teach special ed in California in a district that is 70% Latino. (Oh, by the way, did I mention that she is bilingual in Spanish?) Fat chance.

To get a special ed credential in California, one needs a regular ed credential (few other states require this). To get a regular education credential Diane had to go back to school to complete a regular ed. certification (which took four years going part time while teaching on an "emergency" credential that had to be renewed each year at $60 a shot.)

Obtaining a regular credential requires student teaching. So the State dept. of Ed. was pressing Diane to take a half-year from her teaching job to student teach in another teacher's classroom. I should mention that Diane earned mentor teacher honors while teaching under her "emergency" credential. Diane, with 7 years of teaching experience, a masters degree in her speciality, and designation as a mentor teacher in two states, was being forced to student teach. Diane finally won the student teaching battle with the state dept., but it took five years.

To do her job, Diane needs a resouce specialist credential. To work with preschool students, she needs an early childhood credential. I believe that she has to get a total of six credentials, and they certainly aren't free. Each comes with a $60 price tag, and they have to be renewed every couple of years (again with a $60 fee).

Did you say something about jumping through hoops John?

Your question about starting a new school should be addressed to Diane. It was her dream at one time to do this. However, the school would have been for severely handicapped students, so the structure would have been different than what we have been discussing. Maybe, I'll have her contribute a card describing her ideal school - she has much better ideas than I do. However, it will probably have to wait until the new baby arrives.