Can WGU Train High School Teachers?

One of our commentors, “Burb” wrote a surprising comment about why the schools should accept teaching credentials from Western Governors University,

Burb wrote the following comment after  an earlier post onThe AVE addressed the intervention of Seattle’s School Board in the Superintendent’s decision to allow Teach for America volunters to teach in our Schools.

Sorry, you work in Washington, you follow Washington laws regarding certification.  The aveeditor doesn’t mention this but but Washington allows for alternative routes to certification.  These “idealistic”  young patriotic etc.s are trying to do this but they can’t demonstrate competence (like they have a degree in theater arts and are applying to teach MS math or science.  You think it’s easy, dare you to try).

Another commentor:

Through my research of the Dean Stritikus’ push to partner with TFA, I’ve had the pleasure to meet a number of very bright, dedicated teachers-to-be. Some have student-taught my child. I would hire them in a heartbeat over a five-week teach-for-awhile.Teabagger? Hahahahaha

Great.  So Burb and the other commentator dismiss the value of having the TFA recruit people actually trained in math, english, art or history to teach in our schools. 

I have no antipathy to toward teaching people how to teach, but the idea that one can teach without knowing anything but teaching is asinine.  I suspect at the elementary level teaching itslef is the major expertise we need.  I doubt, however, that teacher education is the best way to prepare people to teach high school.  While there must be great value in apprenticeships and formal training in, as one example,  special education, at some point we need teachers who know the stuff they are teachiung! 

It sounds as if these commentors would really be happy if Seattle recruited some WGU grads whose only credentials were practice teaching, some ed course and a WGU curriculum where science comes in a  do it yourself lab box and “english” means you take a pass fail test.  

This is great.  First we fire teachers because we are broke.  The we hire teachers who do not know their subject matter because otherwise these folks can not get jobs.


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  1. burb #

    Tickling the funny bone, again. Here’s where your TFA best and brightest come from:

    Last I checked, we don’t teach Human Resource Management or Social Work in our schools. TFAers take the same subject matter and teaching competency tests as teachers do, the only difference is TFAers don’t have to be competent until they’ve bungled along for a year messing with the minds of disadvantaged kids.

    I never said WGU was superior. But compared to the “deep thinking” that went into Stritikus’ TFA program, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that way. See, the bosses at the College of Education aspire to be WGU.

  2. burb #

    BTW, the TFAers in the Seattle cohort have, for the most part, tested to teach Elementary or Language Arts/Social Studies. Not rocket science.

  3. burb #

    Don’t want to forget this obsequious email from Dean Stritikus: