A reader sent the following commentary on reformers’ efforts to lower standards for educators and to welcome people without professional preparation and credentials to teach in and administer the nation’s public schools and charter schools. His response was prompted by a post about teachers in Arizona with online degrees. He writes:

“Arizona teacher: “I have seen staffs comprised of high school graduate teachers who bought their degrees online and took not one college level course.”

To the Arizona teacher… destroying the profession of teaching and filling it with unqualified faux teachers is not a bug in the privatizers’ “reform” model, it is a feature.

I just found this from the Connecticut Policy Institute—a “think tank” and “a non-partisan research institute on Connecticut economic policy and education reform” that fronts for for-profit business interests that are trying to profit from the privatization of education. To do this, they put out bogus “studies” and “policy papers” in support of these business interests’ practices and approaches to privatized education:


In this op-ed, Ben Zimmer defends Vallas’ lack of credentialing, but goes one further.

Not only should there be no credential requirement for Superintendents, THERE SHOULD BE NO CREDENTIALING OR EDUCATION REQUIREMENT OF TEACHERS (???!!!) as well as ADMINISTRATORS.

Ben Zimmer: “With a few exceptions, Connecticut law requires teachers to have a degree in education, meaning many talented people who didn’t decide to become teachers until after completing their educations have difficulty doing so.

“This serves the economic interests of existing teachers and administrators by limiting competition for their jobs, but does not advance the goal of obtaining the highest quality teaching and administration possible.”

Don’t you get it? If the government entity in charge of education requires thing like ohhh… bachelor’s degrees, or even 2-year community college associate degrees… or even one single college course… well, you’re just “serving the economic interest of existing teachers and administrators by limiting competition for their jobs.”

Those teachers who’ve actually achieved these “worthless degrees” will bring along with them accompanying demands for a decent salary, health benefits, retirement, etc…. AND WHO NEEDS THAT when you’re trying to make a profit… err… excuse me… make “transformational change” in education?

Oh, you don’t believe this? Well, Connecticut Policy Institute’s “studies and papers” have “proven” all of this to be true… that you need nothing more than a high school diploma to teach in K-12 schools.

Zimmer goes on:

Ben Zimmer: “As the Connecticut Policy Institute has discussed in our papers on education reform, there is no evidence linking certification regimes to teachers’ or administrators’ effectiveness in increasing student achievement. They simply serve to limit the recruitment pipeline of outstanding educators and keep the antiquated education administration departments of the state university system in business.”

An organization fronting for business interests that want to profit from the privatization of education—some of them charter school chain CEO”s making $500,000/year or more (Geoffrey Canada)—has its spokesman attacking education departments—some of them Ivy League universities… most of them having turning out quality teachers for 100-150 years or more—as only being “in business” to advance the selfish financial interests of their administrators and professors that work in them. They are deliberately blocking “outstanding educators” from entering the field because they are out for themselves, and not the students’.

Wow! I”m so glad someone’s finally blowing the lid off this!

But then look at this assclown Zimmer’s bio at Connecticut Policy Institute:


He proudly touts his own education credentials:

“Ben received a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he specialized in business law and economic policy, and a B.A., magna cum laude with highest honors in history, from Harvard College.”

But Ben, I thought those high-falutin’ things like degrees didn’t matter. Aren’t those “J.D.’s” and “B.A.s” and “magna cum laude’s” just worthless pieces of paper spit out by “antiquated” entities that are only trying to keep themselves “in business” to pay the undeserved salaries of the folks who work in them?

No, no, no… you see in Ben’s world, rigid requirements like… oh… years of post-secondary education, or even passing a certification test…. those things only matter in OTHER careers or professions. They don’t matter in the realm of K-12 education… as his noble “kids first” organization, Connecticut Policy Institute, has produced studies and papers” have “proven” that.

No, according to Ben, teaching is like working the fry machine at McDonald’s… just let anyone in the door—education and credentials be damned—to have at it and compete for the job, then just keep the ones who do it best. And THAT is how you end up with a staff of what Ben describes as a nation of “outstanding educators.”

Got that?

You see the way to get better teachers in front of kids is just simple… so simple that those antiquated ed departments full of money-motivated hacks have been missing it for over 150 years.

The way to fill our country’s schools with “outstanding educators” is to lower or even eliminate the standards and requirements for becoming one.

That’s it!!!! Why hasn’t anyone thought of that until now?

What’s that, you say? The highest achieving nations like Finland and South Korea don’t operate that way? In those countries, becoming a teacher is as difficult and demanding as becoming a doctor?

Well, that would never work here in the United States.