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Be grateful for teacher interns

August 26, 2007

Re "U.S. sued over teacher credentials," Aug. 22

Parents need to consider that the No Child Left Behind education law has stifled creativity, eliminated talented educators from the teaching pool and been costly to public education. Enormous amounts of money go to standardized testing instead of into the classrooms to assist students. I have encountered many interns in my 33 years of teaching who were outstanding educators. Just because one does not have the official teaching credential does not mean the person is an inept teacher. The majority of interns are perfectly capable of being in front of a class on their own. Students will succeed as long as they are motivated to learn by caring parents and a government that supports an exciting, creative and compassionate teaching environment.

One must also remember that, under No Child Left Behind credentialing rules, Albert Einstein and Jonas Salk could not teach science or math, Bill and Hillary Clinton could not teach government and Meryl Streep could not teach acting unless a credentialed teacher assisted each of them in the classroom. Throw out the lawsuit and donate the money to public schools.

Larry Zeiger

San Diego

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Thank goodness for parents, riding in to save the day and saving students from those pesky intern teachers. Working professionals' only option, should they want to be a teacher, is to go into the internship program. Without these programs, any working professional who wants to change careers, as my husband and I did, will be forced to choose a different path. Why? Because there are only two options for becoming a teacher in California. Student teaching, which means studying under another teacher, without pay, to complete classroom training, or internships that put you in charge of a classroom, earning a paycheck while you complete your classroom requirements and credential training.

Interns are taking classes and receiving training at the same time they are teaching, so they are not without training and support. There are not thousands of people lining up to become teachers. We cannot afford to continue to pursue policies that alienate the people who want to teach.

Andee Steinman

Palm Desert

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Many, if not all, teachers started out as a "novice" or "intern." The interns I have known are highly supervised by their credential programs. When I was hired by my district, I had my general education teaching credential but was required to enroll in a program to get my credential as a specialist for the severely handicapped. While I did not have my credential, I had worked in the special education field for more than 15 years as a para-educator, tutor and teacher in a nonpublic school.

Although many intern teachers may be new to the profession, they may have many years of experience. Teaching is a difficult job, and you will not bring new people to the profession if you do not allow them to start as a "novice." They have to start somewhere.

Denise Stehle

Lakewood

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