On Tuesday, the West Virginia House narrowly passed House Bill 4407 by 50-48. The vote came one day after a presentation from the West Virginia Department of Education revealed that 38 percent of public school math teachers are “not fully certified.” House Bill 4407 would lower the certifications required to be a teacher in the public school system.
Yes, you read that correctly. These numbnuts want to lower the certification required to become a full-time teacher. HB 4407 would eliminate a requirement that those wanting to teach through alternative certification must already have an “academic major or occupational area the same as or similar to the subject matter” they wish to teach. Wait. What?
Yes. It’s all real. I have an English degree, and if there was an open history position, I could apply for that position. I would have a very real possibility of securing the job. It doesn’t matter that I have absolutely no experience in teaching or that my knowledge of history is limited to required courses. WV Democrats have been fighting for raises for their teachers and there is currently a major teacher shortage. West Virginia, a small state in regards to population, has a teacher deficit of around 700.
However, who wants to teach in one of the lowest paying states in the nation? Who wants benefits that are being drastically cut? Instead of coughing up the money to pay teachers what they deserve, lazy lawmakers would rather hire unqualified “teachers” to make sure the children in the state have absolutely no chance at equal footing in this country’s rat race.
Delegate Sean Hornbuckle (D-Cabell County) said to his fellow representatives,
What we’re doing here is we’re devaluing … what our teachers do for us and what they mean to us. But we’re also telling Concord, Fairmont, West Virginia State, Marshall and West Virginia universities that there’s probably no longer a need for their teaching degrees because you can just do anything and sign up to teach.
That is the exact message it sends to teachers. It’s basically telling them that trained monkeys could do their jobs. At the very least, it lowers morale among a group of professionals already hit hard by cuts and slights.
Instead of giving the state’s children a quality education, those who supported the bill would see substandard programs just to slide past the problem. It’s a damn shame they would sell their children short because it’s the easiest remedy.
The bill still has to go to the Senate. We can only hope they do the right thing for their teachers and children.