Unlicensed teachers in the classroom

A new report found that 10 percent of teachers in California are not fully credentialed, raising concern about ongoing instruction (“10% of teachers lack full credentials,” Los Angeles Times, Jul. 2).  Schools serving low-income families are most at risk.

There was a time when a California teaching credential meant taking so many useless subjects, but even now when the requirements are more relevant there is a shortage. Some reformers argue that if private and religious schools don’t require a credential to teach and yet still produce impressive results, then why are public schools held to a higher standard?

The answer is that traditional public schools must by law enroll all students who show up at their doors regardless of ability or motivation.  As a result, teachers need further training to help them teach these students.  Private and religious schools are able to select only those students they alone want to.

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