Tax Dollars Paying for Unqualified Teachers

Here's how our tax dollars are being spent with this school voucher scam:

About 500 students attend Harvest Preparatory Academy. Thirty-six teachers and two aides educate them.

But only eight are licensed, the Ohio Department of Education says. And more than one-third of staff members hadn't had a background check more than midway through the school year...[more]

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So a guy with no college degree is teaching both English and science, two vastly difference subjects.

Of course being a Christian school maybe it's easy; the English book and the science book could both be the Bible.

they haven't hired predators if they didn't do background checks?! That's scary.

We had a teacher at the kids school that was diagnosed with cancer - and it took weeks to clear the replacement b/c of the checks. Why don't the parents throw a fit?

If they stop taking voucher/public money - they don't have to answer to anybody. Our school takes no tax or voucher money of any kind. But they vet the teachers and make their policies transparent.

This story is scary.

And fyi in the Christian schools I've been associated with the Bible is covered in the Bible class.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

it sounds like the voucher structure worked. these 3 schools did not meet certain criteria and now have faced (or are facing) consequences.

the real scam is the amount of money rec'd by the public school systems. you highlight this article and the 3 schools, but how many public schools are underperforming? how many of these schools "qualify" for the voucher program (213, i believe)? well, at least those teachers are properly licensed, huh?

so where's the real scam?

All teachers should receive a background check just because there are major issues at stake if they don't.

However, I don't like hard and fast rules for schools. Especially the ones requiring teachers to be "cerftified" as well as requiring them to be college graduates. That may be a good general rule, but it shouldn't be the only rule. There should be minimum requirements to teach, but they should be based on personal knowledge and quality teaching.

For example, according to these requirements if Bill Gates wanted to teach computer programming at a local high school he wouldn't be able to. He doesn't have a college degree. A doctor couldn't teach a high school anatomy and physiology course because he or she isn't cretified. A lawyer couldn't teach a high school history class on the Constitution because he or she isn't certified. Where's the logic in that? You can have a "certified" teacher that majored in education and took the minimum requirements in the sciences, history, and computer science, or you can have people that are experts in their field. According to many people you'll take the education major over the doctor, lawyer, and most revolutinary computer programmer in history.

The Bill Gates example may be a little extreme, but it nevertheless proves that point that government policies are often out of date, out of touch, and prevent quality education.

I had a chemistry teacher in high school that came from private and government work as a nuclear physicist. She had a Master of Science in nuclear engineering (NOT the largely useless Master of Education that so many teachers get to receive a pay increase). However, she still had to go through the government crap to be able to teach because her "qualifications" weren't up to what the state of Kentucky said they should be. What a joke!

but the safety issue. We KNOW that predators are attracted to professions where they can access children. That is insane to allow unverified people in positions of authority over children. And very unnecessary in todays' world.

The certification issue - for a private school that isn't tax funded, it up to the school itself. I know what the certification requirements are for the our school and I accepted it. It's more than enough. Our kids also get a home school certificate rather than an accredited 'diploma'.

The No Child Left Behind regulations don't apply to schools that aren't tax supported. So it is up to the parent to know what the policies are. And what level of education and experience they require of the teachers they hire.

Ok, probably all parents' aren't doing this are they?

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

Perhaps that title sounds a bit too Yoda-like?

I agree that rules for certification are way too inflexible - in some ways they serve to protect the status quo more than push to change it.

But I caution about throwing open the doors and allowing "experts" in fields to come in off the street to teach. When talking about learning, there is much more to teaching than just knowing the content material. There are a lot of things that need to be known about childhood/adolescent development, learning/cognition, and pedagogical content knowledge, or knowing strategies for HOW to teach certain content material. Where a lot of this comes out, I think, is not with the top students in the class, but when you start hitting the middle-of-the-road to struggling students. Where top students will excel no matter what environment you put them in, if a teacher doesn't have a robust understanding of students' thinking and developmental levels, they can't really address well the floundering students. In many ways, the kinds of questions they have can flummox people who are advanced in their fields ~ they just can't understand HOW people don't understand. Something that happends way to frequently in college classrooms around the country. That's one of the many reasons why for many people the option of 2 years at JUCO is a better idea than drowning in 250-person lecture-halls.

Of course being a Christian school maybe it's easy; the English book and the science book could both be the Bible....

Sensor - Im guessing you're an athiest. Be that as it may, what's the graduation rate of Christian schools vs Government ones?

TPS shrinking enrollment. Charter / religous schools gaining enrollment. It appears parents believe TPS schools are more "unquallifed".

Perhaps the best decision is to move to the suburbs and use their public schools. Probably cheaper, safer, more enjoyable in the long run. Same goes for city accountablility / responsibility.

I know this is a big political website, but I don't think people know that Harvest Prep is a big sports school. Many of the uncertified and non-degree holding teachers are former OSU basketball players who coach at Harvest Prep. I do not know if this true or not, but I hear many of the school's basketball players receive vouchers to attend the school (I heard this because the school I coach at scrimmages Harvest Prep a lot). Putting a couple of these things together I propose a question: Is Harvest Prep taking voucher students just to have a great basketball team (they made it to the state finals this spring)?

Brassmonkey- Interesting about TPS, but I work at Libbey HS and you would be surprised how many students return to TPS after going on voucher to a private school. I'm not saying all voucher students return, but there is a definite bump in students after the October and February counts. After these counts the state distributes the money. Well once these private schools get the money they can get rid of students who are not "making it." Oh by the way, charter schools can't do this because they are quite reliant on state funds. Hence, they retain more students than the privates, but suffer from many of the problems that plague traditional public education.

While I may be "unqualified", I'm sure you do not wish to do the job that I do. But if you think public school teachers get over so much why aren't there more people banging on the doors to become teachers?

You're correct that experts in a field don't necessarily make good teachers. I don't argue that point. The converse of that is also true, however. Just because someone is an expert doesn't mean they aren't a great teacher. The kicker is that teacher "certification" doesn't guarentee that teachers are any better.

I was specifically referring to upper level classes in a high school setting. Chemistry, calculus, physics, computer programming, economics, biology. For these classes to be taught properly the teacher needs to have at least a college degree in that field. That's not how it works now however. If you go into most schools and look at the teachers of these classes, many of them majored in secondary education while in college taking the bare minimum of classes in that area. You would be absolutely amazed at how many football or basketball coaches are also the chemistry teacher (majoring in chemistry in college these stories were very commonly talked about).

I'm not arguing that teachers should be under no oversight at all. But sometimes the best teachers for a subject don't meet these seemingly arbitrary requirements. Sometimes the best teachers haven't graduated from college, haven't been certified teachers, and haven't taken a single education course in college. I was a tutor in college for chemistry, and was good at it. By the end of the year I consistently had 50 people a week in my two-hour session because I knew what I was talking about and I knew how to convey that information to the students (I also had a friend who tutored organic chemistry and he charged each person a few dollars to come - they came in droves). I have no doubt in my mind that if I (or my friend) had gone to 90% of American high schools the quality of instruction would have dramatically improved. In fact, there was a high school about a mile down the road from my college. My senior year I could have very easily taught a class every day. But I wouldn't have been "qualified" according to state regulations. The state would have deemed qualified the football coach that majored in physical education, but they would not have deemed qualified a college chemistry tutor. That's why hard and fast rules are ridiculous, and that's why a news story saying a teacher is unqualified simply because he doesn't have a college degree is ridiculous as well.

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