The teacher crisis in Arizona could be solved by attracting qualified professionals by way of improving teacher salaries, properly funding the state’s education budget and ending the Legislature’s war on public schools, or…
We could go with the Republican-controlled Legislature’s plan, which is to lower our standards even further.
As if such a thing is possible.
Under Senate Bill 1159, the idea is to make it look like we have plenty of teachers simply by watering down the requirements for becoming one. Not necessarily to a degree that any old moron will be given an opportunity to tutor your children, but close.
The logic, if you could call it that, and you can not, seems to be that rather than provide Arizona schools with the funding they need (even with the state’s $ 5.3 billion surplus), and providing the state’s heroically dedicated teachers with the renumeration they deserve, we can fill the faculty seats being left empty by qualified scholars heading for other opportunities simply by dumbing down those pesky academic qualifications.
It’s your bad luck to be well-educated
You may be puzzled by the notion that lowering teaching standards could somehow raise the academic performance of students.
I am as well.
Our confusion would seem to indicate that, as children, we had the misfortune of attending institutions of learning that required those who taught us to be academically certified in their profession. And these fine teachers not only instilled a modicum of knowledge into our young minds but actually expected us to… think.
If, on the other hand, we had been fortunate enough to be schooled by unqualified nincompoops – or we happened to be a member of the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature – lowering standards to improve appearances (if not actual academic performance) would make perfect sense .
The Arizona Education Association and the Arizona School Administrators Association are opposed to SB 1159. But what do they know about education?
Other than a lot.
Of course, this is not to suggest that highly skilled individuals with valuable, work-related expertise should not be allowed into Arizona’s classrooms. There is already room for that.
What we’re talking about here is something different.
Arizona is making a profession impossible
As Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler put it on Twitter last month:
Arizona’s teacher shortage is beyond crisis levels. Instead of offering real solutions (like increasing pay & reducing class sizes) the House Education Committee passed a bill to reduce the requirements to teach. AZ students & teachers deserve so much better than # SB1159.
She also said, “We have a teacher shortage because we have made the job of teaching nearly impossible in Arizona.”
Butler’s Republican colleagues seem to disagree.
And one could hardly blame them.
They might be looking at themselves as examples of what they’d like to do with teachers.
They are state lawmakers, after all.
A mirror image, of the worst kind
They have been elected to their positions by the voters in their districts, who have put them in control of billions of tax dollars, was well as making them responsible for the security and education of Arizona’s children.
Could there be a greater responsibility in public life?
And yet the professional, academic and intellectual requirements needed to become a state lawmaker are exactly… zero.
So, the politicians might say to themselves, if being a state legislator requires no real knowledge, skills or talent, why should teaching?
Given that, our GOP-controlled Legislature could someday turn Arizona’s education system into a mirror image of what we’ve got at the State Capitol.
How does that make you feel?
Reach Montini at [email protected]
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