SUNY Proposals For Charter Schools

Jul 18, 2017 by

Teachers in public schools need to be professionally qualified but teachers in most New York charter schools soon may not.

Public school teachers will continue to be mandated to earn a master’s degree and uncompromising rigorous certification, but their charter school counterparts may be spared.

Demonstrated knowledge in subject areas and competence to teach it will remain in full effect for public schools but charter school recruits may be pretty much hired off the street.  “It doesn’t take a scholar to teach one”, should be the slogan of Success Academy and other commercial syndicates.

Why has the SUNY Board of Trustees proposed the downgrading of academic expectations for charter school instructors?  Could it have something to do with the fact that conditions there are so poor that half of their teachers quit in one year? Warm bodies with credentials are needed, but since things are that bad, they have decided that a warm body is itself a credential.

Are they claiming that the thousands of hours of ongoing preparation that public school teachers undergo bears no relationship to the art and science of teaching? If that is so, then why not relax the requirement for everybody, instead of actually tightening the screws on public school educators?

It’s a dissolution of integrity and a surrender to mediocrity.

Years ago, when there were a number of uncertified teachers in public schools, it was viewed as a damning indictment of racism and an abandonment of the ideal of providing quality education. Now , many of the same people who felt that way, feel that “alternative pathways” to teaching are the answer to what they deem educational failure.  What an Orwellian idea!

Getting rid time-vindicated indicators of professional worthiness is a pitch that Teach For America and other sinister organizations recommend to their greenhorns who are deployed to schools to lecture veteran educators on the follies of traditional training.

According to the president of Bank Street College of Education, who was one of former Mayor Bloomberg’s top education officials and remains an avid charter school booster, the thoughtless SUNY proposed regulations would pave the way to becoming a full-time teacher after less than one month.

This would not mean that public schools and charters will be operating on a double standard, because the charters won’t have to adhere to any standards at all except those they arbitrarily tailor to their own inadequacies.

According to Politico, the “charter school networks ( will be able to) self-certify teachers: no college courses, no student teaching, no pre-service tests.” Unlike public school teachers, the SUNY-approved charter teachers will not be required to “complete a program approved by the state education department, meet CAEP standards, pass the edTPA, the Education All Student exam, the Content Specialty Test”, and numerous other exams in differing formats that each measure subject familiarity and literacy.

If the new regulations go into effect,  demands on aspiring charter school teachers will be lifted even as there is an intensified cracking down on those inflexibly enforced on pur public schools.

Public school teachers spend a fortune in time and money and energy to become and stay accredited for classroom worthiness. If it’s necessary to do the job well, then they don’t begrudge it. But if they are useful, then why should they be dispensed with for charter school educators?  Either do away with them for all teachers or impose them equally.

Mozart shouldn’t have needed a diploma from Juilliard or anywhere else to teach music, or Bill Gates for his genius in plying his trade, so maybe there’s a place for “alternate pathways.” But that’s not what SUNY has in mind.

Whether the proposals are enacted or not will be  strictly a political decision. If they are, then by their same argument, let pilots earn their wings on the basis of prior service on a sanitation route and the politicians who approved it take the safest seats on a departing aircraft.

Ron Isaac

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