Highly overqualified

Sarah Whittier, 53, has received a doctorate in English and a statewide award for excellence in teaching. Still, in order to teach students at Pacific Collegiate School, a public charter school in Santa Cruz, California, she was forced to sit through teacher certification courses, packed with students in their early 20s, in which she learned about how to write a lesson plan and maintain classroom discipline. After witnessing his wife's ordeal, Jefferds Huyck (Ph.D. in classics from Harvard; 22 years teaching), who also taught at Pacific Collegiate School, declined to repeat her humiliation and decided that, rather than take time- and money-consuming ed school classes, he would resign and move to a private school. Such is the saga of No Child Left Behind's highly qualified teacher provision, which does a lousy job identifying quality teachers but a fantastic job driving them out of public schools. As New York Times columnist Samuel Freedman writes, "To call this situation perverse, to ascribe it to the principle of unintended consequences, is to be, if anything, too reasonable." To be fair to the feds, the state of California (like all states) has the option of waiving certification requirements for charter schools, so Governor Schwarzenegger: Stop this perversity!

"Despite a Doctorate and Top Students, Unqualified to Teach," by Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times, October 11, 2006

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