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A Washington State Teacher Is "Flabbergasted" That her State Is Importing Foreign-Born Teachers
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July 10, 2009, 05:00 AM
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From: Christina Neal (e-mail her)

Re: Joe Guzzardi`s Column: On Independence Day, The Struggle To Regain Our Classrooms Continues

I could not believe my eyes when I read Guzzardi`s column, reporting the saga of a foreign teacher imported by Washington State.

I have teaching experience. But I have no teaching certificate. Could I get hired to teach in Seattle Public Schools? Absolutely not! But if I were foreign-born and without US citizenship, I could!

Look at the requirements for admission into the University of Washington`s certificate program. Among other academic qualifications, you must have volunteer experience in public schools. Even if you have already taught for several years in a private school that doesn`t count. Apparently, private school is not diverse enough.

I do not have a math degree. Therefore, I could not even get into the certificate program to become a math teacher. But if I were a foreign national with little (if any) teaching experience, I could get hired—without a certificate.

This is totally warped. There are many highly qualified and gifted foreign-born teachers. But there are also highly qualified and gifted American-born individuals who would never get hired because they don`t have certificates!

But it seems Seattle schools would rather bring barely qualified individuals over here—with no attempt at acclimating or supporting them.

Until we value teachers, none of this will change. Anyone can teach, after all—right?

Neal has a Master`s Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of California.