29 November 2005

Educational Reform Idea 01

When The Jenius takes over the swampland known as the Education Department (which is more likely to happen than unicamerality), the first Idea to be implemented will be that teachers--all teachers--will have to recertify themselves every 5 years.

Let the howling begin.

The recertification will involve a minimum of 300 hours of continued education and a comprehensive exam that will include subject matter and teaching techniques. For a teacher to receive or keep his/her license, s/he must pass the test and complete the minimum requirement of continued education hours.

The exams, covering every major subject matter (English, Spanish, Math, Sciences, History/Social Studies, Art, Music and Physical Education) and grade levels (1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12), would be open to all teaching candidates, without restriction. Yes, without restriction. If a person graduated in English, but has a passion for teaching sciences, that person should be allowed to compete for the license that they want. The key word is compete. A candidate may take as many exams as s/he wishes, to enhance their job potential and maybe improve their skills.

Candidates are ranked on the exam on a 10-point system. Results of "6" or less must re-take the exam. A second result of "6" or less and the person is placed on the waiting list to fill those positions that are left over after the passing candidates have selected their positions. (Yes, selected. What's the point of striving for excellence if you can't use it to improve your options?)

As for continuing education, teachers are the only professionals who don't have to stay current or even be competent with the newest information in their field. Accountants, lawyers, doctors, nurses, engineers, social workers and mental health workers all have minimum requirements. Teachers should not be exempt and with a 2-month window they can use every year, 60 hours a year to become a better teacher is a criteria long overdue.

To enhance teaching potential and effort, salaries and bonuses will be tied to exam results and accumulated hours. Teachers with high exam results and the minimum number of hours would get more money. (The extra monies will come from implementing Idea 02; topic for another day.)

By recertifying, teachers would have to face up to the need of being competitive in their chosen field(s), open the door to otherwise qualified candidates who lack either academic credentials or experience, push the boundaries of conformity in education to encompass innovation and remove the overwhelming weight of deadwood-disguised-as-teachers We currently pay salaries to.

Suggestion: Mention this idea to a teacher. Note how the more incompetent ones--the ones who bitch and moan and complain and drag their carcasses to and from the classroom and couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag--are the ones most likely to hate this Idea. Note how the competent teachers will tend to agree with the Idea: they know what it takes to be good, even great, and are willing to put forth the effort. We need more of those teachers and fewer of what often seems the whiny majority.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen! As an educator who is looking to relocate to PR in two years (when I complete my doctorates) I will join you in the efforts to improve the quality of educators in pr!

Agree with you on all points, except when it comes to awarding money for higher test scores. This would lead to rampant cheating, unless closely monitered during testing time.

Recruiting Educators
What about the recruiting of teachers by other states? Most recently, by the state of Texas Even the city I work in has recruited teachers from PR. With the promise of higher salaries, states in the mainland have raided teachers in puerto rico. Leaving behind, what I imagine are the veteran teachers, who are close to retiring, or too burnt-out and tired to even care about their students/parents, or weaker teachers, who dont have the skills to be certified or recruited to the states.

See you in two years!