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States must cut red tape to attract more qualified teachers

Rigid standards are shutting out aspiring teachers. States must evaluate potential teachers without traditional certification in ways that don't push needed talent away.

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My wife has a master’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has lived in four countries, speaks a good deal of Arabic and some Italian, and has been either teaching or conducting education research for the better part of a decade. She taught at a private school in Seattle so esteemed that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos (the founder of sent their children there.

Yet according to box-checkers at Maine’s Department of Education, she is not yet qualified to teach 10-year-olds in the state’s public schools. Because she studied history and art as an undergraduate and has not undergone public school certification in another state, the state of Maine denied her application for initial certification to teach, insisting that she must first complete an undergraduate English course at her own expense. This is only for initial, temporary certification, after which she must take no fewer than five additional college courses, five standardized tests, and complete a year of supervised “student” teaching.


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