Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fifty Separate or One United?

As you read this post, you may wonder if the #PolarVortex has frozen my's is possible.

The story begins 18 years ago.  I was in the midst of earning my elementary education degree at Tri-State University (now known as Trine University in Angola, Indiana).  My advisor Dr. Van Wagner was explaining the licensing process for teachers.  As she explained this to us I admittedly felt confusion.  At the time I was going to have to take the Indiana Educational Assessment to become a certified Elementary Teacher.  Dr. Van Wagner then informed me that my license would be valid in 24 of the 50 states.  She said many states have a reciprocity and only ask for provisional certificates to teach in other states.  I reflected, 24-50 states?  Less than half?  Then I asked her if one of those 24 States was Michigan, the answer was no.  Michigan at the time had almost no reciprocity with any other states.  I was going to have to take the computer based test to get my Michigan Teaching License. At the time I voiced my confusion and I also consulted some teachers and administrators.  In every instance they all agreed that the system is poorly run.

(Fast forward three years)
Now in my third year as a fifth grade teacher I was reminded that I needed six graduate hours every five years to keep my license current.  At first I thought this was simply a "right of passage" thing. Then after getting into it I started to become irritated with the system.  I thought...Let me get this straight, I put in 60+ hours of professional development, I attend conferences, I put my heart into my teaching, planning & students and now I have to pay for credits.  It just doesn't seem right.  Am I off-base?

(Fast forward seven years)
I had completed my Masters in Education from Spring Arbor University.  In the end I felt as though I gained knowledge and insight into several areas.  In short, I grew as a person and educator.  Then I was selected to be the Principal at Warner Elementary school.  Everything appeared positive until I discovered that to be an administrator in Michigan (possibly other places) your Masters degree had to be in Educational Leadership.  Really? My Masters is in Education.  By now I can only say...Ridiculous!  So I did the dance, I went to classes at night and on weekends, I typed up paper after paper and completed project after project.  Then after three years I earned my Educational Leadership Certificate.

(Fast forward to today)
We are now in a time that educators have information at their fingertips.  Twitter chats take place each day, EdCamps are free opportunities for professional development, professional articles and blogs are a source of constant learning, growth and reflection...yet we still require hours on top of hours for educators.  I believe the system needs a drastic overhaul.  Why is it that a class taught by a single instructor is more valuable than #edchat or EdCamp?

So last week as I was freezing (like many of you), I decided to do a search.  I wanted to see if there were any Elementary Principal openings in Hawaii.  I know, I know, dream on!  Funny thing is I found there are tons of openings nation wide.  First of all, I'm not going anywhere (Sometimes it's just fun to see what's out there, especially in Hawaii!)  Second, I discovered a slightly disturbing fact.  Nearly every State required a current license from that particular State.

(What does it mean?)
The way I read it is, if an educator wants to move from one State to another he/she would have to file for a provisional license.  Essentially it is difficult to move State to State.  This is my problem, we are in an era of Common Core Standards, we are more connected today than we have ever been before...yet our educational licenses don't travel?  Makes no sense.

I feel compelled to clarify that I don't believe the Federal Government should have complete control over education, in fact local control appeals to me the most.  Ultimately, in my opinion, the way things have always been done is a crime.  Requiring educators to pay for continuing education credits and to sacrifice time and family just doesn't make sense.  The goal should be to promote education, and to encourage our best to be educators.  We're missing the boat, educational salaries are way down the list and on top of that educators consistently sacrifice time and money to keep their licenses up to date. Something needs to be done.

If you've ever read my posts I hope you know that I believe a persons attitude is the single greatest factor to how they go about living.  It's tough to have a good attitude when the system is unwilling to do what is best for educators and our future.

(Can it be fixed?)
In short, yes.  The rat race for professional hours needs to stop.  I know my story is not unique, I don't have all the answers.  I know this much, it isn't educator friendly.

This Week's Big Question(s):  Would you make any changes to the system?  If so, how would you begin?


Monday, February 3rd:  11am Math Expressions Meeting
Monday, February 3rd:  1:1 Tech meeting at 1pm
Wednesday, February 5th:  Jump Rope for Heart Assembly in gym 8:45am
Wednesday, February 5th:  Digital Learning Day!
Wednesday, February 5th:  String Team second semester begins
Wednesday, February 5th:  Last Day for Time For Kids turn-in
Thursday, February 6th:  SIP meeting 4pm in Boardroom
Friday, February 7th:  Pizza Kit pick-up 3pm-6pm

Articles Worth Reading:

Passion Driven or Project Driven? by +Angela Maiers @AngelaMaiers

Mental Illness Among Teens by @joykelly05

Reform & Engineering Systems @palan57

Love Ninja: Mom shares teacher's amazing strategy... by Glennon Doyle Melton

Digital Learning Day is Coming +Steven Anderson @web20classroom

8 Things We Know Better But Do Anyway... +Justin Tarte @justintarte

5 Ways to Stay Connected to the Olympics in Class +Amber Teamann @8Amber8

Michigan's Educational Achievement Authority: Dismal... @DianeRavitch

The Hidden Importance of Teaching With Stories +A.J. Juliani @ajjuliani

50 Things To Let Go Of Before Your Next Birthday +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

Love the Auto Carrot! (4 min)

Choices!  You ARE who you associate with... (2 min)

Differentiated Instruction in the Elementary... (5 min)

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