Uncertified Teachers in Prince George’s County Schools

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Uncertified Teachers in Prince George’s County Schools

Prince George’s County has been the largest school district in Maryland for the past more than twenty years. However, as a result of under funding, compared to other Maryland public school districts, Prince George’s County sustains the second highest percentage of uncertified teachers in the state. The lack of certified teachers has left lasting negative effects on the Prince George’s county school system.

This problem goes much deeper than Prince George’s County, uncertified teacher are being allowed into the classroom all over the country and have been for the last couple of decades, mainly due to teacher shortages. By definition "a qualified teacher is expected to have a broad background of general education as well as professional preparation."(Teacher) it has never been considered satisfactory for a student to complete on 60% of material taught, why should it be different for teachers? In the early 1980s during a teacher shortage graduates of teacher education programs had lower levels of academic achievement than most college graduates and were still allowed to teach. In 1991-92, 16,000 teachers nationwide were uncertified. Currently, 37 of 39 states employ waivers, which allow failing teachers into classrooms.

Past attempts at solutions were Teachers for America, Experimental Certification of Ethnic Colleagues for Elementary Schools, provisional certification, and emergency certification. Teachers for America is a very easy, "six week crash course in teacher survival skills taught primarily by teachers from their troubled placement sites."(Roth, 220) These teachers are said to bring "enthusiasm and intellect" to the classroom. In inner city and urban school systems, where most of the student body is poor and in the greatest need of good teachers, the TFA teachers are installed. While TFA is a good idea and puts teachers in classrooms, some say that the children who are being used as guinea pigs for this experimental teacher training are suffering. However, after receiving praise from some major cities, its training program was approved in 1995 and it "received $2 million from AmeriCorps, President Clinton’s national service initiative."(Mosle, 3) Experimental Certification of Ethnic Colleagues for Elementary Schools (E3) was an effort to "increase the representation of males and people of color on teaching staffs of elementary schools,"(Shade, 261) in response to teacher shortages. This solution was implemented for three years and was very successful. Provisional certification is given to a person who has been certified in another state and has passed the Praxis II, "but who needs one or two courses Maryland requires for teachers.

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