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Voice: State erecting obstacles to keeping qualified teachers

July 26, 2001

This letter is in response to the article "Finding Teachers" in the I.V. Press on July 12. I am a high school teacher trying to fulfill all of the state requirements to be fully credentialed. While reading this article, I wondered why the journalist did not include the opinions of those who are teaching with emergency, pre-intern or intern credentials and are trying to comply with state regulations and receive their full credential.

Here is my opinion:

The state of California needs qualified teachers who care about education and who want our children to succeed. We consistently read about the teacher shortage crisis in journals and newspapers. The need for quality in teachers is undeniable.

The state, however, continuously creates more obstacles and deters qualified candidates from working in education. Quality teachers often leave education because of the excessive demands put forward by the state in order for a teacher to receive a credential. The percentage of teachers who leave the classroom within the first two years is substantial, often due to frustrations in the credentialing process.

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Should we lower our standards of teaching in order to fill the classrooms with teachers? Absolutely not. The current system of training teachers, however, is inefficient and too bureaucratic. These extra courses and classes — approximately 30 to 45 units — only grant the teacher a credential. None of these courses even goes toward a master's degree.

I urge the state to review current demands for teaching credentials and restructure the system. We need to train teachers. Instead of endless courses repeating the same material, however, a more solid, consistent program is necessary.

Teachers with emergency, pre-intern or intern credentials are not the demise of the educational system. Many are dedicated, quality teachers who continuously jump through hoops in order to stay in the classroom and teach our youth.

Finding quality teachers does not have to be a problem. The current system, however, will assure that it is.

BONNIE EDGAR

Brawley

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