Badge of Shame

October 11, 2006 1 min read

Jeffrey Huyck is the kind of teacher parents wish their kids could have. He holds a doctorate in classics from Harvard. He has taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels for 22 years. His Latin students at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz, California earn national honors and go on to elite universities. But Huyck is missing one thing: the ‘highly qualified’ stamp that, under the No Child Left Behind Act, would allow him to continue teaching at the charter school. Confronted with the choice of enrolling in a multi-year teaching-certification program that would cost at least $15,000 or leaving Pacific Collegiate, Huyck accepted a position at a private school. Influencing his decision was the experience of his wife, Sarah Whittier, who also works at Pacific Collegiate and holds a doctorate in English literature. At age 53, she drove 90 minutes to attend certification classes that she found humiliating. “To me, it’s a badge of shame,” she says of the highly qualified teacher requirement. “It’s an embarrassment. It’s infantilizing.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.