Thursday, November 01, 2012

A registration revolution, starting with Charter Schools

Every form of occupational licensing, of professional registration, is a type of protectionism—a means whereby incumbents in that profession restrict entry to others. The result is an increase salaries and wages above market rates, and the removal of the threat of innovative newcomers.

It’s a modern form of medieval guild socialism.

One of the prime examples today is teacher registration, which teachers are registered not on the basis of knowing their subject, but because they have endured three years or more of indoctrination at a state teachers college.

No wonder the suggestion from the Charter School Working Group that teachers be hired on the basis of subject expertise, rather than attendance at a state indoctrination centre state teachers college, has caused outrage in the various teaching guilds.  [LISTEN HERE, 3’04”]

The group advising the government says expertise rather than qualifications should be enough…  The chairperson of the Charter School Working Group Catherine Isaac says it wants registration for people who work in partnership or Charter Schools and who have proven expertise in a particular area. “They may have PhDs or degrees in science or engineering, languages--they may be people with music, arts, trade qualifications—who would make great teachers. The objective here is to enrich a pool of high-quality teachers who want to teach, and to recognise that there are additional pathways into teaching…”
But the chairman of the Council of Deans of Education [i.e., the teachers colleges’ boys club] Dugald Scott, says the proposal … would undermine the value of teacher registration.
 

Let’s hope so.

The Director of the Teaching Council Peter Lind says teaching is like any other profession that requires registration … that subject expertise and enthusiasm is not enough to justify registration.

Whereas at the moment, subject expertise is virtually irrelevant to registration. Which if why so many children are taught English by virtual illiterates, science by folk who’ve never seen a test tube, and mathematics by people who have trouble balancing a cheque book.

No wonder the apostles of the status quo, like these two dinosaurs and others quoted in the report, are opposed! 

Because charter schools want people teaching subjects who know their subjects, which would truly be a revolution in the New Zealand classroom. Instead of moderating uninformed discussions on subjects on which they themselves are often totally ignorant (which describes so many of today’s classrooms), these teachers would be able to impart the knowledge on which they are abundantly qualified.

Think about it: science PhDs teaching science. Language experts teaching languages. Mathematics graduates teaching maths. Art history specialists teaching art history. Trades professionals teaching their trade skills.

Isn’t this what you thought schools were supposed to be doing?

Instead, this represents a division of classroom labour so unthinkable to the guardians of today’s calcified classroom management that they can do nothing else but stand in the way, because the extent to which  is allowed is the extent to which parents will be demanding more of it.

And then where will their cosy protectionist guild system be?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Quote...
No wonder the suggestion from the Charter School Working Group that teachers be hired on the basis of subject expertise, rather than attendance at a state indoctrination centre state teachers college, has caused outrage in the various teaching guilds. The groups advising the government says expertise rather than qualifications should be enough

Ha! I agree completely with that assessment from the Charter School Working Group. I can teach math much better than seasoned math teachers with 10 years teaching experience or so (the ones who are in the union and who have protested against the establishment of charter schools recently) but I have no teaching qualification at all.

Good on the Charter School Working Group for making a very sensible recommendation. Its the ability to teach that counts and not the piece of useless qualification paper.

11/01/2012 12:17:00 pm  
Blogger Samuel Lay said...

Anything immediately worthless when the Govt stops making it mandatory needs to be scrapped as soon as possible.

11/01/2012 04:19:00 pm  
Blogger Kiwiwit said...

I went to a private school that used to hire "unqualified" teachers. They were some of my best teachers, such as the science teacher I had who, as a PhD student, had helped discover Rapid Eye Movement (REM) in sleep. The fact that he was a world-renowned scientist did not qualify him to teach science in NZ public schools.

11/01/2012 05:40:00 pm  

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