To: The United States Senate

Stop Congress from putting unqualified teachers in our schools

Congress: Stop trying to destroy teacher education. Leave preparing teachers to the professionals!

Why is this important?

I am a teacher educator. My students spend four years preparing to be teachers, including spending three years in k-12 schools, hands-on learning how to work with kids. They learn curriculum, methods, learning sciences, motivation, multicultural education, how to work with students with disabilities, and many other skills necessary to prepare America's children for the world they'll live in.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (to replace No Child Left Behind) includes provisions for the establishment of nationwide 'Teacher Preparation Academies'--fast tracks to teacher licenses that leave out almost every essential aspect of teacher education. These academies are run by corporations. They don't take into consideration the needs of the particular areas where they are established. Their only purpose is to instruct teachers to "teach to the test." Worst of all, the ESSA requires states to consider these 'teacher factories' the equivalent of Master's degrees! States are no longer allowed to decide what is best for their teachers.

The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss explains just how this law works to undermine university programs in her recent blog (1). This is Teach for America on steroids--placing unqualified teachers with no experience and little training in the poorest of our nation's schools.

However, because these academies will be funded by the government and venture philanthropists, they present a grave threat to university programs, whose budgets are being cut every day. The ESSA has already passed the House. We need to tell the U.S. Senate not to pass the ESSA with this provision in place. Please sign, and call your senators!