Politics makes strange bedfellows but there you are.
I am doing some tutoring at Ballard and I told two kids who are skateboarders about this and they said, "Sweet." From the Wall Street Journal:
Where most people see ornate, neo-Classical federal
buildings and sweeping stone plazas in this city, skaters see something
else: opportunity, in the form of sturdy railings, low stone benches,
ramps—ideal "obstacles" for skateboarding stunts. And now, after years
of ducking the national park police that patrol these plazas, this
week's closure of public buildings and easing of surveillance offered
skaters hope of revisiting their favorite spots. It was, said one, "on."
But from the lighthearted to the downright wrong, it appears that TFA continues to be the darling of Congress. From The Washington Post's The Answer Sheet:
Unobtrusively slipped into the debt deal that Congress passed late
Wednesday night to reopen the federal government after 16 days and allow
the United States to keep borrowing money to pay its bills is a
provision about school reform that will make Teach For America very
In language that does not give a hint about its real meaning, the
deal extends by two years legislation that allows the phrase “highly
qualified teachers” to include students still in teacher training
programs — and Teach For America’s recruits who get five weeks of
summer training shortly after they have graduated from college, and are
then placed in some of America’s neediest schools.
I urge you to go to the Washington Post story and register a comment.
One, because the Washington Post is pretty much the newspaper of record
for stories about Congress and two, because this needs as much blowback
What IS highly qualified really supposed to mean and who gets those teachers?
Under No Child Left Behind, all children are supposed to have highly
qualified teachers, school districts are supposed to let parents know
which teachers are not highly qualified, and these teachers are supposed
to be equitably distributed in schools. They aren’t. It turns out that
teachers still in training programs are disproportionately concentrated
in schools serving low-income students and students of color, the very
children who need the very best the teaching profession has to offer.
The inequitable distribution of these teachers also has a
disproportionate impact on students with disabilities.
Understand that there was a lawsuit over this issue of highly qualified teachers and in September of 2010, the 9th Circuit - following an appeal of a case in California by low-income parents and students - struck down the provision about highly qualified teachers. From the column about this issue at The Answer Sheet by UW's Professor Ken Zeichner:
However, the Ninth Circuit decision quickly became moot. In the final
days of the lame-duck congressional session in December 2010, Congress
passed an amendment as part of a continuing resolution to fund the
government that, at the eleventh hour and without public debate,
temporarily codified the regulation that the Ninth Circuit had struck
down. At the time, congressional leaders defended the temporary
amendment as necessary to avoid any mid-year disruptions to the schools
caused by the court’s decision.
In the summer of 2012, as the temporary amendment approached its expiration date, the debate intensified again about the broader definition of “highly qualified.” Teach For America (TFA),
charter networks, and other “reform” organizations pushed for the
extension arguing that classrooms would be left without a teacher if
Congress held firm to the original highly qualified teacher (HQT)
standard of full certification. In reality, districts would still be
permitted to hire teachers who were still in training, but they would
need to distribute them more equitably and a plan would need to be
developed to lessen their number over time.
On the other side, over 90 civil rights, disability, grassroot
community, and education organizations comprising the Coalition for
Teaching Quality argued that the HQT amendment hides
and perpetuates the disproportionate concentration of
teachers-in-training in schools and classrooms serving low-income
students, students of color, students with disabilities, English
learners and rural students.