April 28, 2014
Nothing in life is ever black and white. We live in a world of gray. However, when it comes to education in the United Stated, most rhetoric coming from most proponents, reformers, parents, and educators tends to be all or nothing. All of our public schools are failing. Not true. Nothing can be done except to rely on charter schools. Again, not true. Shades of gray, shades of gray. Charter schools are neither the savior nor the downfall of public education. And charter school teachers? Well, if you are considering sending your children to a charter school, please do your homework.
Arizona parents, the first thing you should know about our state’s charter schools is that they are not required under any state and/or federal law to hire certified teachers (see here and here). It’s true. And AZ charter schools are only required, by law, to show parents teacher qualifications when and if parents ask. Well, if you don’t know to ask, you don’t ask. Now I am not suggesting that AZ charter schools do not hire certified teachers; I am merely pointing out that they do no have to.
So what are the requirements to teach at an AZ charter? Of course they vary, so I went on a popular employment site to see if I could find any AZ charter schools advertising for teachers and what they require of their teachers. The list of requirements for an English/Language Arts teacher at the charter school Leona Group Arizona, LLC. included “Bachelor degree, required (subject area emphasis, preferred) Arizona teacher certification, preferred”. The school requires a teacher they hire to have an advanced degree, but not necessarily in either education and/or English. Ok, I guess. Additionally, they would like to see a “commitment to young people’s learning success and achievement, preferred” but an “Enthusiastic and positive approach to teaching is a must!”. Let me see if I understand this correctly. Enthusiasm is a must but commitment to students’ learning success and achievement is only preferred? Yes we want our children’s teachers to have enthusiasm, but I prefer they be committed to our children’s success. Wouldn’t you?
Next, James Madison Preparatory School is hiring a high school science teacher. However, “AZ teacher certification is not required.”. Not really much else to discuss.
Finally, the Academy of Math and Science is looking for K-8 Special Education teachers. Nowhere among the massive list of “teacher-speak” buzz words does the phrase, “Must possess an AZ teaching certificate” appear. However, applicants can “be awarded brownie points” for having graduated from a “top 20 University”. You read correctly, brownie points. Again, no mention of having to possess a degree in either education or special education. Any parent with a special needs child would want to seriously scrutinize before sending their child here.
As I stated at the beginning of my post, nothing is ever black and white. AZ charter schools may be right for your child and they may not be. My best piece of advice? AZ parents, do your homework.