Saturday, November 14, 2009


Hi Mike,

Caught up with some of my reading and saw editorial in yesterday's NY Times questioning Duncan's commitment to putting the best teachers in front of the most challenged students. Everyone seems to be freaking out about the worst teachers being in front of educationally neglected children. Let me share what I have seen with these credentialed teachers we get in urban classrooms.

DPS has the highest percent of NBCT in the State of Michigan. The teachers receive their certification while working in their urban classrooms. Once they attain that certification eventually their salaries increase by somewhere between $5000 and $10,000 annually. I am all for increasing salaries. Problem is the manor in which these folks get certified. These teachers are usually the favored teachers by administrators in the building. To assist these folks in the certification process children are unequally distributed among the rest of staff so that a teacher or a number of teachers can do amazing things with their smaller groups of children. Once they pass the process of certification many resort back to their old practices of pulling out the dvd player many times during the week to let kids watch movies. Most teachers in Detroit Public Schools do not respect the many NBCT folks because they know the real deal.

Thus Duncan not addressing this Highly Qualified Issue in giving our Race to the Top funds -- well I am pleased he isn't tagging that onto the receipt of the funding. My own three kids went to school in Detroit.We had to use the Catholic School System because DPS just wasn't and still isn't cutting it. When we tried to use DPS and Cass Tech High -- Ken Burnley made it clear it wasn't about kids in 2005.

Long and short of it is the teachers my kids had were not credentialed up. In fact some were only college graduates that simply loved what they did -- teaching and working with kids. I still have a high school student in the house. We had to move from Detroit to get a proper high school education for my daughters. Son went to U of D Jesuit High. There is no school like that for females in Detroit. Cass -- like I said didn't fly.

I would much rather my children be taught by someone who loves what they do, someone who in an interview can share where they have taken their children, than to have my children taught by someone who can pull out a resume with Harvard on it. Seriously we only learn if we are meant to teach once we get into these classrooms. It is not the credentials. It is the heart.

A.C. (Detroit)

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