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Teacher Training and Certification

September 29, 1996

The irrelevance of the teacher education programs discussed in Denis P. Doyle's commentary ("Schools of Education Are Relics of the Past," Sept. 20) strikes a resounding chord. Institutions must understand a teacher's need to be in the trenches--from day one. Those who choose to teach in a specific area must master their subject, while interning with several teachers and schools in order to increase their exposure to different teaching and learning styles, as well as socioeconomic back- grounds.

Emergency credentials and licenses are useless and limit the profession to a file of meaningless paperwork that mistakenly labels a teacher "qualified." I agree with the idea of a medical model, with rigorous internship programs, mentor teachers and requirements that involve constant professional growth, not just a list of classes that guarantee higher pay. Admin- istrators as well as teachers should be involved in this process.


Sherman Oaks

Doyle begins his perspective on teaching with a plausible argument. He even provides some interesting statistics. But Doyle's counterintuitive arguments reveal the inadequacy of his own public education.

Doyle criticizes as "vapid" courses required for certification, yet laments the hiring of "50,000 unqualified teachers" who have yet to complete those "vapid" courses. He suggests that "bid(ding) up salaries" will improve education, when study after study has shown no correlation whatsoever between spending and results.

Most egregiously, he refers to the heads of the two largest teachers unions in America as "members of the National Commission on Teaching . . . a Who's Who of the education establishment" and says the commission "weighed in with a thoughtful report." That would be a first.



Re "Test Given to Teaching Job Candidates Upheld as Legal," Sept. 19: The story on the minority groups' complaint was discouraging, not for the result of the suit, upholding the California Basic Educational Skills Test.

What caught my eye was the fact that our minimum acceptable standard is a 10th-grade level of education as the threshold of acceptability. Tenth grade! We have set our standard so low as to virtually guarantee mediocrity. How utterly depressing that we don't demand more and better for our kids.


San Diego

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