The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 27, 2000, Image 7

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    Page 7
Monday, November 27, 2000
icd from f,
UT COacliJ
hat Slocum |
iqher calling
ecruitment of Aggies, uncertified teachers by national program a worthy cause
itM quartos
of certi
achers is hav
ing a negative
Iffect on school
districts and
students across
tlic nation.
I In Texas, according to numbers
from the State Board of Educator
Certification, about 45,000 teach-
he honor!ling jobs are vacant.
20yardst : ll Many of today’s public schools
coreto2f ||ie understaffed, falling apart phys-
143 second!
was an oitr
Jones rece:
ne for aft
teles did k
fcally and short on up-to-date text-
■ooks and other resources. Public
i school districts in rural or inner-
• city areas are hit hardest.
■ Because they can pay higher
■alaries and offer better benefits,
Wealthier suburban school districts
rest of the ft and private schools are able attract
hreeplay I lertified teachers,
escoretoll To combat classroom over-
ckChrisSb irowding, many school districts are
nomena! t| Ising alternate ways to get talented,
e withapeil uncertified teachers,
pass to reer |ft Prog rams th at alio w uncertified
■ducators to teach should be sup-
rausteralll ported by the districts and potential
wssessiomtii teachers as ways to combat the
iyintooffc k'oes of public education,
t of the even! For years, districts in Texas have
n done,toe granted emergency certification to
its thirds individuals who agree to enroll in
3.J. Johor; jummer training classes.
! score to H, Now, the State Board of Educa-
hefoorthttft; Jion is reviewing a proposal that
lykickiojil Jvould allow Texas public school
m districts to hire college graduates,
pven those without a teaching cer-
Wificate or training to teach.
® The proposal has met some re-
Ilistance and complaints. Many feel
earn gets ftft|h e of training and certifica-
ough to ft |ion leaves the educator unprepared
'tnow^dass and diminishes the quality
o education for the children.
ouKeiwtip j n a Houston Chronicle article,
Brock Gregg, spokesman for the
" m ‘ ssociation of Texas Professional
ducators said “This proposal
ight fill some classrooms, but it
ill shortchange children.”
Gregg assumes the children
re not already being short
changed by the current state of
public education.
[ On the national scale, a pro-
>ut to sei
gram called Teach for America is
looking to improve public educa
tion by reaching out to motivated
college graduates with non-educa
tion degrees.
They can apply to join Teach
for America’s “corps of teachers,”
where they go through an intense,
five-week training program to pre
pare them for one of 15 hard-to-
staff inner-city or rural school dis
tricts across the country.
Teach for America’s recruiting
campaign came to Texas A&M a
few weeks ago to recruit interested
Aggies. Teach for America is
scheduled to continue recruiting in
the spring as the deadline for sub
mitting applications nears.
Teach for America’s system has
upset some A&M education majors
who believe the program’s five-
week course does not offer ade
quate classroom training.
Although the Department of Ed
ucation would not comment, it is
obvious there is a difference be
tween the ideologies of the depart
ment and Teach for America.
Department officials have said
they strongly support theory work
in the classroom and student teach
ing the final semester of an under
graduate’s senior year. Officials
with Teach for America say they
favor more hands-on training and
less classroom theory work.
Despite their break from the tra
ditional four-year teacher certifica
tion track, these efforts to improve
public education on the state and
national levels benefit the instruc
tor, the district and, most impor
tantly, the children.
Texas A&M has one of the
strongest education departments in
the state and one of the nation’s
highest teacher-retention rates. In a
perfect world, all well-qualified
and trained education graduates
would get a job shaping the future.
Even if they did, all the new
teachers could not fill every vacant
teaching position. A shortage, and
therefore a need for uncertified
teachers, still would exist.
According to the program's
Website, Teacher for America saw
4,000 applicants last year — that is
4,000 uncertified people looking
for a way to make a difference in
public education.
Thousands of uncertified appli
cants are looking to become teach
ers and many school districts afe
hurting for additional teachers.
Overcrowding in schools has
stretched out of the rural and in
ner-city districts and affected
some of the more well-established
Teaching has one of the lowest
national retention rates, causing
class sizes to grow, and straining on
the teachers who stay.
Texas school districts would
benefit from the state proposal by
being able to tap into a pool of pre
viously ineligible applicants.
There comes a point when the
benefits of having a larger class
with a single, certified teacher
are less than those of qualified,
uncertified teachers helping level
out class sizes.
Ultimately, those who agree and
disagree with putting uncertified
teachers to work say the important
part is the effect on the students.
There is no denying the useful
ness of teacher certification in the
classroom. Education majors who
have gone through hours of class
room management and education
theory classes may have an advan
tage over uncertified teachers.
However, for many current col
lege students, the teacher who did
the most for them in public school
was not necessarily the one who
managed the classroom the most
efficiently, or even the one who
knew the subject matter the best.
Often, the teachers who stand
out in students’ memories are ones
who inspired them, who motivated
them to do their best in the class
room and beyond - and that is more
important than any certificate.
As Mary Stauffer, central re
cruitment director for the program,
said, “Students interested in the
Teach for America program need to
be resourceful, intelligent, creative
and have a desire to improve public
Uncertified applicants who are
willing to work in hard-to-staff dis
tricts in a stressful occupation are
the motivated individuals these dis
tricts need. These applicants are
looking to make a positive impact
on the students. In districts troubled
by problems like overcrowding,
poor pay and few benefits, that ide
alism is much needed.
If a talented, qualified and moti
vated individual wants to improve
public education and the futures of
students in poor school districts,
the lack of a teaching certificate
should not stand in the way.
For Aggies without teaching
certificates, Teaching for America
is a great way to make a positive
Professional educators like
Gregg who see certification as a
mandatory criteria for holding class
should not keep those who want to
help from doing so.
Eric Dickens is a senior
English major.
red the A;:-
isive often'
e of the hi
: vely re®
Aggie fan
igh the
Closing one chapter opening another
Clinton's visit to Vietnam welcomes closure, hope for economic growth
■a year,
h, Aggie
)iiietoM :
notA 6
fell to
have A
hile most of the United States
watched the drama slowly
unfold in Florida, President
Bill Clinton made a historic visit to
communist Vietnam.
Clinton is the first U.S. president to
visit Vietnam since the Vietnam War
Many people find the situation
ironic since Clinton is an admitted
However, the irony is unimportant — Clin
ton’s visit marks a milestone in U.S. rela
tions with Vietnam.
While many remember the war with
heavy hearts, this visit helps close that
sad part of American history.
The visit does not dishonor the sol
diers who fought in the war, but it
gives closure to many while working
| to improve relations with Vietnam.
Clinton’s presidency has focused on
America’s relationship with Vietnam.
Starting with the gradual lifting of em-
jbargoes in 1994, Clinton has worked
to improve ties with Vietnam, includ
ing opening diplomatic relations in
This year saw the earnest begin
ning of a Vietnamese-American
trade agreement.
But the culmination of this
progress was Clinton’s visit.
Although heavily censored by
the Vietnamese government,
Clinton talked about the is-
RUBEN DELUNA/The Battalion
y 0 «r * su es of human rights and a
- * democratic government.
ie d dof 1 Clinton believes that
c q 0 ^ I when Vietnam interacts with
IPhone I the world through economic means, the Vietnamese will gain
it car 1 * I more individual and political freedoms.
“I think that the trend toward freedom is virtually irre
versible,” Clinton said.
When the trade doors open between the United States and
Vietnam, everyone will benefit.
Because 60 percent of Vietnam’s population is under the
age of 30, U.S. companies in Vietnam will have an able
work force.
According to The Boston Globe, “At $370 a year, Vietnam
=^.30 a.fl' 1
an<J P 3 f
still has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world.”
While many Americans would complain about the loss of
jobs, America would receive more jobs when companies be
gan exporting goods to Vietnam.
This would be a win-win situation, with more jobs for
both countries.
With Clinton’s trip to a country where 58,000 American
soldiers and 3 million Vietnamese died only a quarter centu
ry ago, many people awaited to see what he would say about
the war.
Clinton offered no apologies for the conflict, but in
stead discussed the future of these two countries. He
avoided assigning blame for the war.
To many Vietnam veterans, the move was an
important one.
Clinton did not dishonor those who fought,
and he even visited a site where bodies of
American pilots shot down during the war
had been found.
At least 20 soldiers who were listed as
missing in action will be returned to the Unit
ed States for burial.
Clinton’s trip offered hope to the Viet
namese for a more global economy while in
troducing a possible market for American
I businesses.
Yet, he also respected America’s veter
ans by not accepting blame for the war.
Vietnam will be a new market for
American businesses to expand their
consumer base and their employee
The most impressive part of Clin
ton’s visit is that he got the two
countries to discuss their future.
Clinton said that the countries’
histories have “intertwined” for
many years and that the countries
need to put the “painful” past be
hind them.
While many Vietnamese government officials were
nervous that Clinton would discuss political changes,
Clinton discussed trade and only lightly touched on other
Clinton’s trip to Vietnam respected America’s veterans
and encouraged discussion of economic opportunities for
both countries.
Brieanne Porter is a sophomore
chemical engineering major.
Criticism cjf gun
licensing column flawed
/n response to James Drew’s Nov. 22 Mail Call.
Drew talks about [Nicholas Roznovsky’s] ig
norance of the Constitution, but he should
read it himself.
The Second Amendment says, “A well-regu
lated militia, being necessary to the security of
a free state, the right of the people to keep
and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
I do not think that most Americans can
classify as well-regulated militias. And let us
remember that when this was written, America
was a different place with many more threats
at home and from abroad.
The argument that gun regulation increases
crime is too simple. There are probably a num
ber of factors that lead to the increase of vio
lent, gun-related crime. One such possibility is
an increase in population.
When more people are in a place, there will
be more interaction between them, both posi
tive and negative.
The argument that licensing and registra
tion would lead to confiscation is really moot.
If the government wanted to take away the
people’s guns, it could at any time because it
is stronger. If the government wanted the guns
badly enough, a couple of pistols would not
stand in its way.
And I certainly do not think the government
would ever come to that. People are not so
dense that they would miss a trend in govern
ment from democracy to totalitarianism.
Terrell Rabb
Class of ‘02
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