Boots & Sabers

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1535, 06 Oct 21

Teacher Licensing Doesn’t Improve Teaching

I know… we’re a bit focused on education lately. Our teaching licensure bureaucracies are being leveraged as an instrument of the Left to indoctrinate and propagate that indoctrination. They have very little to do with the quality of teaching.

Meanwhile, researchers have found no difference in performance between certified and noncertified teachers. Super­visors also don’t seem to think licenses mean much: The Aspen Institute has found that just 7 percent of superintendents and 13 percent of principals think certification guarantees that a teacher “has what it takes” to be effective in the classroom.

Indeed, preparation programs frequently seem more focused on insisting that would-be teachers embrace an ideological deluge of “anti-racist” and “social justice” dogma. The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education champions the “integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory” and urges them to “resist recent federal attacks.” Accreditation standards for teacher preparation call for candidates to inventory “their personal biases” so as to promote “equity, diversity, and inclusion.” At the nation’s largest teacher-preparation programs, two in five faculty say that their area of study includes equity, race, or diversity — and about a third of these scholars employ a critical-race-theory perspective.


While alternative licensure programs may seem a promising workaround, the vast majority of them are owned and operated by schools of education. The schedule and structure of the programs may look different, but the culture, curriculum, and cost of the training don’t meaningfully change. Even programs such as Teach for America, which is inevitably depicted as an “alternative” route into the profession, typically partner with schools of education to license their teachers.

Proponents of teacher licensure frequently offer analogies to medicine or engineering, arguing that professionals in each field need certain essential knowledge and skills. They have it partly right. Those fields do require licenses. But what they ignore is that licensure in those professions signals only a baseline grasp of the requisite knowledge and skills — not that someone will be a “good” physician or civil engineer. Likewise, teacher licensure is a poor proxy for ensuring that someone will be a good teacher. Perversely, though, even as the ed-school professoriate preaches that good teaching is largely a matter of relationships and emotional intelligence, they defend bureaucratic, rigid licensure systems that just aren’t capable of accounting for these traits.


1535, 06 October 2021


  1. Mar

    When I “studied” to be a teacher at UW Madison, School of Special Education, at the time, it was ranked in the top 10 of school of special education in the country.
    It was a joke.
    They had one professor who said that if we would just teach the severely cognitively disabled students, they would be just like anybody else. And yet that person was in charge of teaching classes in special education.
    As far as teaching qualifications, you don’t learn hardly anything in college, most is learned on the job.
    And getting a Masters degree is a joke. Most of the time, you attend some classes and write some papers. It’s a little more difficult to get a Doctorate, but not by much, if you are willing to take the time.
    And no degree or test will ensure a successful teacher. Just look at all the teachers arrested for sex abuse and bringing their radical liberal agenda to the classroom.
    And like the K-12 schools, colleges teach to teacher education exam.

  2. Merlin

    The question shouldn’t be whether or not to license, but how to raise the threshold for obtaining the license. The dilution of practical qualifications has become painfully obvious. Allowing the industry to continue policing itself is not the answer, but neither is expecting oversight by politicians cozy with education lobbyists. I don’t know the answer, but I’m pretty sure relaxing or removing licensing requirements is just an unconditional surrender.

  3. Mar

    “but I’m pretty sure relaxing or removing licensing requirements is just an unconditional surrender.”
    I disagree. What does a teaching license ensure?
    Does ensure competence?
    Does it ensure the teacher can handle a classroom.!
    If you had a choice, would hire a person to teach auto mechanics an actual auto mechanic but may not have a college degree vs someone who has a degree in education but doesn’t know squat about shop?
    A teaching license means nothing.

  4. dad29

    Umnnnhhhh….the greatest teacher in Wisconsin history was Vince Lombardi. And he didn’t have a license.

  5. Mar

    Not sure about that.
    From Wiki, which I know is not a good source,but…
    Lombardi, age 26, also taught Latin, chemistry, and physics for an annual salary of under $1,000.[50][note

  6. Merlin

    The Left’s answer for failure is always to lower the standards for success. Always. Removing the licensing requirements to teach would be every lefties wet dream. All they’d have to do is ‘identify’ as an educator. Might as well allow them to identify as your physician too.

  7. dad29

    Vince taught at a Catholic high school. They don’t require a license, and his degree was NOT “Edyoomakayshun.”

  8. dad29

    By the way…….after the Saturday night HS football games, Vince took his wife to dinner in a nearby roadhouse. There was a skinny kid who was hired as an entertainer–he sang. Vince thought he needed more weight, so he bought the kid dinner every time they were there.

    The kid was a good singer. His name is Frank Sinatra.

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