Parents fight for qualified teachers

February 11, 2009 6:19:50 PM PST
Most parents in California do not know if their children are taught by a "highly qualified teacher;" some teachers do not have enough in-the-classroom training to qualify as such. A group of parents has been fighting this and Wednesday, their case was heard before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Two years ago, Hayward resident Maribel Heredia found out her son's teacher was a teacher-in-training.

"I felt like I was being lied to, many parents too," Heredia said. "They think that when they send their kids to school, they think the teacher is fully credentialed."

A teacher-in-training is also known as an intern.

"It's people who haven't had any training on how to teach; they have a bachelor's degree but they have not gone through any teacher education program, and have not received any pedagogical training in how to teach their subject matter," Public Advocates, Inc, spokesperson Tara Kini said.

Heredia and other parents sued the U.S. Department of Education and Wednesday they argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The justices heard the case at Stanford University on their yearly visit to the law school.

The No Child Left Behind Act mandates every student must have a highly qualified teacher in the classroom, but California gets away with calling interns "highly qualified" because of a teacher shortage.

But the state may never have "highly qualified" teachers if districts are constantly forced to lay them off because of budget cuts, according to teachers' union representative Kathleen Crummey.

"Those young teachers are going to look elsewhere for a job; they are going to get out of education all together, so we've lost some of the best and the brightest for our future," Crummey said.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue a ruling sometime this year. The losing party is likely to take their case before the Supreme Court.

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