80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 4, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesQualified Is Different from Highly Qualified

Qualified Is Different from Highly Qualified

Dear Source:
In "A Lack of Respect for Teachers" the writer asked what we readers think. He wrote, "The Virgin Islands requires the professional teaching staff be highly qualified. This thinking belittles the hard work teachers put in to earn their college degrees. It implies that they are not highly qualified now nor were they when they earned their degrees. Are any other degreed licensed professionals working for the government treated this way? Doctors? Attorneys? Accountants? After years of work, shall we have the District Attorney, Assistant District Attorneys, and Judges take a test to demonstrate they are highly qualified?"
A college degree may make one qualified to be a teacher. However, much learning must follow to continue to be qualified. Other degreed, licensed professionals, whether they work for the government or in the private sector, cannot rely on the degree each earned to remain in the profession. Licensure for doctors, attorneys, and certified public accountants requires vigorous testing in order for them to be permitted to start their practice. As a retired attorney, I can tell you that continuing to practice law requires in most jurisdictions continuing legal education on a regular basis given by persons approved by the applicable bar association. These CLE programs do not confer "highly qualified" status. They simply assure continued "qualified" status. In many jurisdictions, in order to hold oneself out as an "expert" in a given field of law requires rigorous additional testing, demonstration of practice in that field of law, and more CLE.
I would be appalled to learn that any teacher did nothing more than get the basic college degree and rely on it for an entire career of teaching. I would not consider a college graduate highly qualified for anything on the basis of having the degree. Commencement from college is, by definition, a beginning. All professionals need to continue their education, keep up-to-date with their fields, and where in the case of the Territory's public schools having lost accreditation and only recently regained it, the learning and testing that leads to "highly qualified" status of our teachers is likely sorely needed. It may be needed just to remain "qualified."
Class Size: I agree with the writer that class size is very important. I have negotiated many a teacher contract from management side, so I can vouch for the fact that a proposal to increase class size probably has nothing to do with respect. It probably has more to do with money (smaller classes = more teachers) and also with the realities of negotiation. Surely, the union put proposals on the table it did not expect to get, but used them a trade off for something the union wanted. Management does the same thing.
Comparison with other professions: I learned very early in life that the disparity in pay for various professions has nothing to do with the value to society of the profession. My father was a minister with advanced degrees, and I thought he should be paid as much as the psychiatrics at the psychiatric hospital where he ministered to 1500 protestant patients. I was a law professor at one time and undergraduate professors resented that we were much more highly paid than they were. Pay for teachers, clergy, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals is based on the going market-rate for the given profession. It's not fair, but it is a fact.
Frankly, I thought, given the title of the letter to Open Forum, that the lack of respect was going to be about students and parents not respecting teachers. If that respect were restored, the life of the teacher would be greatly improved and students would learn a lot more.

Dena Langdon
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,757FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
15 hours ago
Virgin Islands Source

Host Adisha Penn recaps the biggest headlines of the week while Source reporter Knema Willett joins USVI Division of Festivals Director Ian Turnbull in the studio for some behind-the-scenes info on the 2022 St. John Celebration. ... See MoreSee Less

Load more
Dear Source:
In "A Lack of Respect for Teachers" the writer asked what we readers think. He wrote, "The Virgin Islands requires the professional teaching staff be highly qualified. This thinking belittles the hard work teachers put in to earn their college degrees. It implies that they are not highly qualified now nor were they when they earned their degrees. Are any other degreed licensed professionals working for the government treated this way? Doctors? Attorneys? Accountants? After years of work, shall we have the District Attorney, Assistant District Attorneys, and Judges take a test to demonstrate they are highly qualified?"
A college degree may make one qualified to be a teacher. However, much learning must follow to continue to be qualified. Other degreed, licensed professionals, whether they work for the government or in the private sector, cannot rely on the degree each earned to remain in the profession. Licensure for doctors, attorneys, and certified public accountants requires vigorous testing in order for them to be permitted to start their practice. As a retired attorney, I can tell you that continuing to practice law requires in most jurisdictions continuing legal education on a regular basis given by persons approved by the applicable bar association. These CLE programs do not confer "highly qualified" status. They simply assure continued "qualified" status. In many jurisdictions, in order to hold oneself out as an "expert" in a given field of law requires rigorous additional testing, demonstration of practice in that field of law, and more CLE.
I would be appalled to learn that any teacher did nothing more than get the basic college degree and rely on it for an entire career of teaching. I would not consider a college graduate highly qualified for anything on the basis of having the degree. Commencement from college is, by definition, a beginning. All professionals need to continue their education, keep up-to-date with their fields, and where in the case of the Territory's public schools having lost accreditation and only recently regained it, the learning and testing that leads to "highly qualified" status of our teachers is likely sorely needed. It may be needed just to remain "qualified."
Class Size: I agree with the writer that class size is very important. I have negotiated many a teacher contract from management side, so I can vouch for the fact that a proposal to increase class size probably has nothing to do with respect. It probably has more to do with money (smaller classes = more teachers) and also with the realities of negotiation. Surely, the union put proposals on the table it did not expect to get, but used them a trade off for something the union wanted. Management does the same thing.
Comparison with other professions: I learned very early in life that the disparity in pay for various professions has nothing to do with the value to society of the profession. My father was a minister with advanced degrees, and I thought he should be paid as much as the psychiatrics at the psychiatric hospital where he ministered to 1500 protestant patients. I was a law professor at one time and undergraduate professors resented that we were much more highly paid than they were. Pay for teachers, clergy, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals is based on the going market-rate for the given profession. It's not fair, but it is a fact.
Frankly, I thought, given the title of the letter to Open Forum, that the lack of respect was going to be about students and parents not respecting teachers. If that respect were restored, the life of the teacher would be greatly improved and students would learn a lot more.

Dena Langdon
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.