Let me start with a full disclosure: Lawrence Baines is a colleague and friend with whom I have collaborated on several book projects and presentations. So I want to offer some friendly concerns about his thoughtful When ‘Highly Qualified’ Teachers Aren’t in Education Week.
Baines open with: “Recent research confirms that America’s most vulnerable children are being taught by the least-qualified teachers.”
This is incredibly important, but let’s clarify a few points. Vulnerable students include black and brown students, high-poverty students, English language learners, and special needs students. And Baines is highlighting a truly ugly fact about unwritten policies in education: these vulnerable populations of students are assigned disproportionately new and early-career teachers as well as un-/under-certified teachers.
Dozens of studies for many years have confirmed that administrations commonly “reward” veteran teachers by assigning them “good” students and advanced courses such as AP and IB.
Add to that dynamic that the rise of charter schools linked strongly with TFA has increased the likelihood that vulnerable students will be assured a continual stream of uncertified and new teachers.