Charter schools

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Nancy, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Why don't charter schools require teachers to have a teaching certificate?

  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Charter school regulation is different by State. See . You'll have to look to your State Education Agency and/or law for specifics and caveats.

    There are Charter Schools in Texas that are for Performing Arts. In an instance such as this, I personally wouldn't have a problem with a dance instructor not having a teaching certificate, but I'd think teachers of core classes would be required to be in compliance with NCLB's highly qualified teacher mandates if the school and/or district accepts federal money.

    Regarding special education students, it's my understanding that if a school accepts federal money (public or private), the school must adhere to IDEA.
  3. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Your dance teacher example is a good one. In IL, charter schools are quite a mess; some are very good and some are rip offs, with administrators funneling off funds and leaving the students with a worse education than the public schools. In Chicago, that's really saying something bad. Certification is no guarantee of "highly qualified."

  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm not talking about schools for performing arts, I wouldn't care if a dance teacher didn't have a education degree either. I'm talking about regular charter schools that teach RR&R.

    For example, I know someone who graduated college with a business degree up here and couldn't find a job. She moved to the southeast and got a job teaching first grade in a charter school. She's never taken one education class. To be a teacher in Ohio you need a bachelor's degree in education. I thought it was the same everywhere? I wonder what it says when we allow someone who is not trained to teach, teach our kids. Are we saying the charter school kids are not as important?

    I guess what I also don't understand is this person said she can get a masters in one year and then teach in any school anywhere. How do you get a masters in education when you don;t have a bachelor's? There are no jobs up north for ]teachers so many of our recent grads are moving down south. So we are just now hearing about these ineqities. If I spent four years in college in the education field and found out I could have majored in anything and gotten a teaching job I would be upset.

  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I can't address the charter school issue but I can answer your questions about people coming in from other fields to teach in public schools in Georgia.

    You can be hired to teach without a teaching degree but you come in on a provisional certificate (at a lower salary than a regular teacher would make). You have a set amount of time to take education courses (which could be done in a master's degree program) and take the state teacher exams. At that point, you would become a certified teacher (with full pay).

    There are also programs to fast track this process (particularly in high needs areas). A friend of mine has just been hired by a local college to head up a program to train and certify non-teachers for the classroom.

    I have seen several of these people go through the process at my school. Quite frankly, they were not prepared to teach in a high school classroom. While experts in the subject matter, many had no idea what to expect from high school kids and were a disaster at classroom management.

    The ones that stuck it out got the hang of it and are doing okay. A couple just quit before the school year was over. They said they could make a lot more money doing something else with a lot less aggravation.

  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Found the following from US Dept of Education at . It is dated 2004, so there may be more recent info.

    E-2. What qualifications do teachers in charter schools have to meet under NCLB?

    The law provides that a teacher who teaches core academic subjects in a charter school meets the certification requirement if he or she meets the requirements set forth in a State’s charter school law regarding certification or licensure [Section 9101(23)(A)(i)]. Thus, a teacher in a charter school does not have to be licensed or certified by the State if the State’s charter law does not require such licensure or certification. All other elements of the “highly qualified teacher” requirement apply to charter school teachers in the same way, and on the same timeline, that they apply to teachers in traditional public schools.

    There's been some bad press on Charter Schools in Texas also. I wouldn't allow difficult child to go to a Charter School unless it had a good, long-term track record.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    You are a good person for me to vent to since you're in the field.

    Here's my vent. My easy child was in education her first year of college. She wanted to teach early ed very badly. She started taking education classes from day one or she wouldn't graduate on time. She jumped thru hoops learning how to teach math to elementary school kids, she had to write out in words how to add, subtract, etc, so that a second grader would understand. She had to learn how to be creative, make games from scratch that would teach kids certain concepts. She took developmental psychology so she would undserstand the different stages kids go through. She learned different teaching methods and had to practice them all. She listened to professors tell her there were no teaching jobs in our area and how she would never make any money. That if she wanted a job she had to move south.

    It finally got to her and she didn't want to move so she switched majors to business. One of the things she was worried about was that education was so specialized that she wouldn't be qualified for anything else if she couldn't find a job. Also here you have to specialize either in early, intermediate, or secondary in order to get a job in that area. If you do early ed you can't teach middle.

    So she changes majors to human resources hoping she will find a job in business that deals with teaching job skills or at least emplyee benefits. None of her education courses counted toward her business degree so now she has to go every summer if she wants to graduate in four years.

    But the kicker is, her cousin who graduated from college in May with a degree in business, moved to Phoenix and couldn't find a job she liked so she got a job teaching first grade in a charter school. She never took any education classes. She didn't have to learn how to teach math or phonics or how to make up games that taught large motor skills or how to use a certain education method or even understand developmental stages. I love my niece but she never ever expressed an interest in teaching and was never good with little kids. So she gets the job and my easy child who loves kids and would make a wonderful teacher isn't doing it.

    So I am wondering why anyone up here would major in education when they can major in photography or ceramics or english or physical ed and get out and move down south which is what they would have to do anyway if they wanted a job, and become a teacher with no education background.

    Am I right that this just seems not fair to those graduates who have a degree in education? Up here if you have a degree in education, most businesses don't want you because you are not qualified. Should it work the same way the other way around? Especially when you are talking about teaching our kids?

  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh, Nancy. This opens up a big can of worms. As far as charter schools, I know that many think that they are the answer to the ills of public schools but I don't agree. Things you have pointed out ~ teachers without credentials ~ are just one of the problems. From what I can see, many charter schools end up doing no better than the public schools and in many cases, doing worse. That, of course, is just my personal opinion.

    As far as whether people coming in to teach without an education degree being fair, again, in my opinion, no. But there is a coming crisis in education as the baby boomer generation retires where there will simply not be enough teachers. Particularly in fast growing areas like the south.

    There was an article recently in our newspaper that showed the majors of the current class of graduates from Georgia colleges in the field of education. There was ONE physics major with an education degree. Who is going to teach physics to our kids?

    At the high school level, I think it is easier to bring in people to teach without an education degree since the classes are heavily content based. As I said in my earlier post, I have seen some people come in from a business background and be successful. I have also seen some of these people eaten alive by a rowdy ninth grade algebra class.

    At the early and middle levels, I think it is more important to have people trained in education. I would not even know where to begin teaching math to little kids despite my math background. I think that takes the kind of training that you describe. I don't know of any elementary teacher in my area that did not have an education degree but I'm sure that it happens in other areas.

    I do know that getting a teaching job is much harder up north. I went to college in the midwest and was told at the time (many years ago) that someone would have to die before a teaching job opened up. I moved to Florida and got a job immediately. If your daughter really wants to teach, she might have to move to a growing area and go the provisional certificate route.

  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Geesh Kathy, it must be frustrating for you too. So they create charter schools as an alternative to public schools and then they hire people who have no training in education and they expect our kids to succeed? I guess I don;t know why those areas in the south that are taking untrained people as teachers don't come up here to recruit our college graduates? I'm sure there are a fair number who would move.

    I have had issues with some teahcers over the years who I thought weren't the best for the job, but if my child was being taught in a school by an untrained/uncertified teacher I would have a real problem.

  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    They do recruit from up north. They also are bringing in teachers from overseas. There is a teaching shortage that is getting worse every year.

    As far as your child having an untrained/uncertified teacher, you probably wouldn't even know. In Georgia's public schools, as long as a teacher has a provisional certificate, they are considered certified and it is certainly not made public knowledge that they are working on full certification.

    How many times have you asked to see your child's teacher's college diploma or even asked what their major was in college? Another little known fact is that a certified teacher can teach out of field as long as it is less than half of their teaching load. So as long as I taught 3 math classes, I could be assigned to teach 2 chemistry classes (which would be a major disaster since I hated chemistry in high school and avoided it altogether in college). I don't know if this is true in other places, though.

    This may not be politically correct for me to say but as far as encouraging your daughter to teach, I wouldn't do it. Both of my girls have expressed interest in teaching and I have advised them both to think long and hard about that career choice.

    Why? As much as I love to teach, if I was just starting out, I wouldn't do it again. The teaching profession has changed so much since I started 27 years ago. Teachers get so little respect nowadays (just read this board) and everyone's child is perfect and can do no wrong. Inclusion classes have added a new challenge and parents constantly threaten lawsuits. I had a friend get an Asperger's child whose mom was notorious at threatening to sue (and had sued the school district three times and lost all three times). My friend was so scared that she joined a professional organization in order to get insurance coverage to protect her against any possible lawsuits. How crazy is that? And to top it off, she had only been given a half day inservice on Asperger's before she taught the child in question.

    You really have gotten me going, haven't you? :rofl:

  11. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member


    My kids go to a charter school in Michigan and ALL teachers are required to be certified. They had to let a few go a couple years ago when this rule changed to require the certification. I'm very happy with the teachers though like private schools, they do tend to attract younger teachers and have higher turnover. Much of that has to do with lower pay and benefits since few charter schools have teacher's unions. (Interesting side note: I was discussing this with an AFT [American Federation of Teachers] organizer and she noted that though charter schools would be fairly easy for them to organize, because they are so spread out all over and don't offer the "volume" of a whole district, they aren't good potenial for them.)

    I'd also like to mildly disagree with your statement that business don't like to hire teachers or people with education degrees. My degree in 1985 was in Elem. Ed but being in Michigan, there wasn't a job to be had. I had no problem finding sales jobs - and I'm not talking retail. I've sold copiers/mailing systems, pharmaceuticals, and now health insurance to companies. MANY of the sales reps I have worked with at every job have had degrees in education. Much of sales is "teaching" your prospect about your product or service well enough that you don't actually have to "sell" anything. I'm not sure this as true now as it was 20 years ago since I'm rarely in contact with the new hires where I work now, but if companies were smart, that's where they should be looking.

  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kathy, I agree with you and while I'm actually glad she changed majors because I think her prospects of getting a job that she will be happy in are much better, this whole thing got me thinking about how crazy it is they don't require all teachers to be certified. You're correct I wouldn't know if my child were being taught by an uncertified teacher or not. I guess if I was a teacher though it would bother me that I was working side-by-side with others who did not have to go thru the same training. And it does seem that we are willing to sacrifice those students in a charter school. We even require preschool teachers to now be certified up here.

    I'm not sure the recruiting process is all that widespread or well known. Not once did my easy child hear from anyone other than her profs and the head of the education dept, all of whom discouraged them from being teachers. Maybe if they invited some of those recruiters into their classrooms they wouldn't have so many drop out.

    It's also discouraging to hear how they are begging for teachers in the south and up north we have no jobs. Soon our country will be overcrowded down south and the north will be a goasttown.

    Mickey, we require our charter teachers to be certified also. Actually I checked the website that was suggested and there are only some states that don't, all south. I wonder how the education compares between states which require certification and states that don't.

  13. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">How many times have you asked to see your child's teacher's college diploma or even asked what their major was in college? </div></div>

    I did. You'd have thought I was asking for something that required the highest national security clearance. I asked Administration for a teacher's qualifications when difficult child was in elementary. I didn't get them. I also asked for qualifications of the school district's Special Education evaluators who performed difficult child's 1st evaluation. I never got their credentials either.

    I can't recall who it was, but someone posted about a Charter School not accepting Special Education students in the not to distant past, so I wanted to post the following quote so that we can find the info in the future. From US Dept of Education:

    Every charter school is part of its state's educational system and all states participate in IDEA, so all charter schools have obligations under IDEA. Most of the state charter school statutes reviewed for this report were passed before the 1997 amendments to IDEA. The IDEA amendments clarify obligations of charter schools to students with disabilities and ways in which charter schools may access federal special education funds and services, whether through a district or directly from the state. If a charter school is considered a freestanding LEA (that is, a local education agency or district), it must be treated by the state the same as other freestanding LEAs in regard to applying for federal funds. For charter schools that are part of an LEA, the LEA must serve children with disabilities attending those schools in the same manner as it serves children with disabilities in other schools. The LEA must provide IDEA funds to those schools in the same manner as it provides those funds to its other schools.4
  14. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    in my opinion you have a RIGHT to know the credentials of someone who evaluates your child.

    When ex-difficult child was 12, a school psychologist made some comments about his hearing (his HEARING??--hello, he's a musician)that could only be made by a licensed audiologist which the school psychiatric was not. The reason she made the comments (I believe) is because she was told to by the Dir of SpEd since the school district was then barking up the ADHD-inattentive type tree (INATTENTION???--ex-difficult child was is the 99th percentile on the attention/concentration factor of the Weschler, as one would expect for someone who can play the organ with both his hands and feet.)

    I digress...I made them take all the statements out that only could have been made by an audiologist OR send him to an audiologist at their expense if they were making a referral....Hmmmm "our expense?" On second thought, maybe he just looks inattentive because he is either bored, unmotivated or both.

    Unfortunately, I cannot cite law to support the above. Law just says "qualified" but how are you supposed to determine that if the school district is not required to demonstrate qualification. I am fairly certain most parents would not have known that a "central auditory processing disorder" can not be diagnosis'd by a school psychologist.

  15. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    In Ohio at least, if public funds (read: taxes) are used to pay your salary then your personnel file is public record.
  16. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, I hope that there are some limits to that. Otherwise, a teacher's social security number would be open to identity theft.

    I would have a big problem with that.

  17. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Of course there are limits to it and information such as the social security number is protected. It's not only teachers that this applies to, you know. I worked for municipal government and my personnel file was public record.
  18. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Oh..Sheila that could of been me. I work with someone who is sending his son (first grade) to a new Charter School. He told me that special education students were not allowed at Charter Schools. Anyone who misbehaved would be kicked out. He didn't want special education kids around "his" son because it would "MESS" him up !!!!! I told him that in our city the Charter Schools are not required to have licensed teachers , and they are ALL a Part of the Unified School District. He didn't believe me and was going to go to the principal of the school. He certainly doesn't want any "spec. Ed" kids messing up his son.
    I asked him what will happen if this year, or next or even two years from now he finds out his child may have ADHD, or some sort of learning disability. Would he be kicked out of his school?? This Man replied with "if all parents spanked their children their would not be a behavior problem".

    I was so angry. I could spank my son, but that doesn't work. He just gets meaner and angrier right back. If ONLY he had a difficult child he would have to change his whole outlook. He has his son's whole career planned out. What schools, what job...the whole bit. He is very narrow minded, and very outspoken on his views.

    When you have difficult child's you have to take it day by day..heck, hour by hour. And you are happy for each hour that things went good.
    I would do the happy dance if he made it a day without school calling. lol
    This man and I work opposite shifts, it is rare that we actually see each other. But I had to send him that link. Just had to do that.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This thread is interesting. My brother got a Masters in Math, and worked as an Actuary for twenty years. He has Crohn's Disease so he wanted a job with less hours (he never married, doesn't own a house so he already has enough money for life, and just wants to keep busy rather than go on disability). One of the school district's in NJ was hiring math majors, WITH A BONUS, to teach high school. He got the job WITH A BONUS. He has never taken even one education class, nor does he have to. He's been teaching kids with math problems for years now, and, according to, is known as a very good teacher. The school district loves him--this I do know. He has no trouble with the kids, in fact he's good with the harder-to-manage ones. They come to him after school, sometimes to discuss their problems, sometimes for help with school work. Fair or not fair, life itself isn't fair and he really loves teaching, I guess. I may have some of the details wrong here because I know nothing about teacher qualifications and don't live in the state of NJ. I do know my brother had no trouble getting hired, even with a serious medical disorder and being in his middle 40's. They have to be desperate.
  20. Kathrine

    Kathrine New Member

    Some of the best private schools in the country will not hire someone with just an education degree. They insist you have an academic degree. There are a lot of bad teachers out there with an education degree (and good ones too) and there are a lot of good teachers with no education degree. A lot of colleges water down the education degree so that not-so-bright people can easily earn one. (And some education degrees are not watered down) Right now in our country highschoolers who score in the bottom third on standardardized tests are the ones accepted into the schools of education. That's not impressive. (I am not saying that all teachers or current students are low scorers--just that right now that is the current disturbing trend.) My point is that an education degree doesn't necessarily make you a good teacher. In fact, many of our brightest college students leave the education degree program because it is not challenging enough for them. I got this information from the gov't study on education out of the U.S.Dept. of Education. If my son's school had teachers who were all education majors I would watch them all like a hawk. If his school had teachers who did not have an education degree I would watch them like a hawk too. The degree has nothing to do with how well a person teaches. It's up to the parents to determine if the teachers are teaching well and to monitor the progress of the children.