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November 28, 2008



Matt Knight,

Every teacher should either have a degree, minor or a community college certificate in the subject they teach. Out of field teaching is a problem if the teacher is one chapter ahead of his/her class. You have to understand a subject well yourself before you can pass it on to a class full of students. Becoming competent in a subject requires a significant amount of study and instruction. You can't hand an algebra text to a P.E. teacher at the beginning of the school year and expect them to gain instant competence in the subject. This isn't realistic.

As for comparative statistics, China and India are two of America's main competitors now. They are turning out much more highly educated students in all subject areas. The least we can do is give students in this country teachers who have formal training in the subjects they teach.


Sorry, but the words "Naw, Really?" come to mind when reading this post. This is not a new revelation-it was definitely true when I went to school. In fact, I know that a lot of us were failed when it came to math in middle school because of either the teacher not knowing the subject or because it seemed that they were just killin' time until we got out for lunch.

The difference now is that with "No Child Left Behind" hanging over them we are hearing more about it, but still not putting into practice sustainable solutions to address it, beginning with again taking some of the passion that goes into making sure that we have cheerleading, et. al in school and redirecting some of it into making sure we have students that can at least figure out sales tax and more.

Matt McKnight

I don't think this is as big of a problem as it is made out to be. You can be an effective teacher without a certification. What are the comparative statistics from other countries? Teachers, as with other people in the real world, have many talents.

There is certainly an issue if teachers do not have a firm command of the subject that they teach, but out of field teaching is not the same as that problem. In fact, the expense and difficulty of achieving these certifications would explain much of the difference. We could verify the knowledge of the teachers in a simpler fashion....

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