Minn. Chamber says anyone can teach?

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I read with interest the article by David Olson on June 3, “Every student deserves a chance to succeed” and fully agree with the title.  However, I do not agree with the stated problem that it is the teacher licensing process at the root of the dilemma. If anyone can teach with an alternative teaching licensure, does the writer also believe that anyone can be a doctor and practice medicine with an alternative medical degree? And then we have licensed nurses, chiropractors, dentists, electricians, beauticians and so on. Does the author also challenge the validity of those professional licensing boards and standards? 

“The statewide teachers’ union spent a boatload of money on ads to prevent the best and brightest individuals from sharing their expertise with Minnesota kids. And it succeeded.” Was the author’s niece barred from taking college classes to become a licensed teacher? Or was she not willing to take the time to invest in the profession? The licensing process is there for everyone’s protection and well-being. Individuals who want to teach need to take the classes required just as anyone who wants to be a doctor takes the classes, does the internship and completes the interview process. There are standards and accountabilities. I don’t enjoy all regulations and rules, but they are there for our protection.  Sadly, common sense that we were taught as children has gone out the window with lawsuits that award millions for people who spill hot coffee in their laps or trip on a curb. We need rules, standards, policies to protect us and especially our children. 

 Alternative school choices have opened a new world to students who struggle with the traditional system. Charter and magnet schools that appeal to different learning styles and strengths offer much to the success of learning. But I believe the real gem, and key to success, is a small school. Bigger is not better. Too many kids in one building is not good. And above all — teachers can only teach children who are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes wanting to learn, a support system at home that makes sure the child is well rested, fed, safe and healthy. A car without gas will not run and a child that is not fed or rested will not learn. Perhaps the author should step into a few school systems and see what is happening before putting the blame on the licensing process. 

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If the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce wants to help children learn, the membership should invest in the future of our children through school funding to keep neighborhood schools open, limit class sizes to no more than 20 students per classroom and pay to compensate the best and the brightest that compares to pay in the private sector.

Ann Bryson