Tim Slekar is dean of education at Edgewood College in Wisconsin and a veteran teacher educator. He has watched and fumed and protested and spoken out as Governor Scott Walker and his puppet legislature wage war on public education and on teachers.

He wrote an angry letter protesting their latest plan to introduce “flexibility” into the credentials of teachers. He says they are using Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” to create a crisis, then step in and impose solutions that make the problems worse. They are both creating a teacher shortage and establishing the conditions to ruin teaching as a profession. What the legislature and the governor really want is to cut the cost of education by driving away professional teachers.

Here is a part of his letter; read it all.

Dear Teacher Education Colleagues,

I cannot support any license changes until the conditions causing teachers to leave the classroom and the conditions discouraging young people from entering the profession drive the policy discussions.

There is absolutely no evidence that changing license developmental ranges will do anything to stop the exodus of teachers or make teaching more attractive to our students. This situation is a perfect example of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine and allowing the so called “shortage” narrative to drive policy in this manner is shortsighted and, ultimately, harmful – and it must stop!

We (teacher educators) must advocate for what’s BEST for our children and our communities. Changes in certification and license structures is a distraction at best, but much more likely it is a deliberate move to deprofessionalize teacher education.

We should not be complicit in this action despite the urging of some K-12 administrators and their desire for license “flexibility.” In fact we should remind our K-12 administrative colleagues that school principal licenses and superintendent licenses are under siege in other states. Pennsylvania has already created a “pipeline” into the superintendency that allows lawyers and MBAs to bypass state administrative license requirements (ALEC inspired).

Also, as academics we also have an obligation to use evidence and research to drive decision making and the evidence is clear: creating a deregulated pathway to the classrooms of our most vulnerable children will create even more inequity then we have now.

We should also revisit our friends over at ALEC to understand that deprofessionalizing teaching is model legislation being pushed across the country in an effort to weaken our public schools.


Attacking Teacher Credentials and Teachers Unions

In addition to directing money away from public schools to private and non-union institutions, ALEC’s efforts also make running those schools a lot cheaper for the corporations and private entities involved. ALEC has been engaged in a relentless attack on teachers, their credentials, and the organized voice of teachers–unions.