Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Deeming Interns ‘Qualified’ is Harmful to Students

January 25, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gift President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 22, 2010, that will allow states to classify teaching interns (students earning teaching certificates and endorsements) as “highly qualified” was a giant lump of educational coal to our nation’s minority, low-income, and English-language-learner students, and students with disabilities (“New Law Labels Interns ‘Highly Qualified Teachers,’” Jan. 5, 2011).

The provisions on “highly qualified” teachers in the No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act have been nothing more than an egregious education Ponzi scheme since they were signed into law by President George W. Bush. The U. S. Department of Education has never enforced the highly-qualified-teacher provision. Teacher-interns and even long-term substitutes have continued to staff general education and special education classrooms, not only in low-income schools, but also in some of our nation’s wealthiest, in the case of special education.

Students are losing their educational lives due to their teachers’ poor training and incompetence in the classroom. We let students attending teacher-preparation programs staff virtually any class in school districts across America with counterfeit documents referred to as waivers, permits, and approvals. Do we let medical students perform open-heart surgery or prescribe medication? Clearly the answer is no. So why do we let students in teacher-preparation programs pretend to be teachers and practice on students?

Finally, there was hope across the United States for low-income and minority students, and those with disabilities, with the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that California had illegally classified thousands of teachers in training as highly qualified. Congress and President Obama have quietly killed a federal court ruling that would have been the impetus for states to redefine decades-old teacher-preparation programs and train America’s teaching workforce to provide a globally enviable education to all of our children in pre-K through 12th grade.

Marcie Lipsitt

Franklin, Mich.

A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2011 edition of Education Week as Deeming Interns ‘Qualified’ Is Harmful to Students

Events

Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
STEM Fusion: Empowering K-12 Education through Interdisciplinary Integration
Join our webinar to learn how integrating STEM with other subjects can revolutionize K-12 education & prepare students for the future.
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
School & District Management Webinar How Pensions Work: Why It Matters for K-12 Education
Panelists explain the fundamentals of teacher pension finances — how they are paid for, what drives their costs, and their impact on K-12 education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read