Opinions of SPED "HOUSE" rule?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by tek_war505, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. tek_war505

    tek_war505 Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2011

    In our area special education teachers are becoming certified in all the content areas rather easily because all they have to do is pass the praxis II for that content area instead of taking all the credit hours in that subject area. This rule though only applies to teachers who have been already teaching that subject and are grandfathered in. It expires for new teachers. So I would have to take X credit hours in each subject I wanted to be highly qualified for since the HOUSE rule would not apply to me.

    There are SPED teachers who are highly qualified in all 4 content areas simply because they passed all 4 praxis tests without doing any actual course work in that subject, easy. That seems a little unfair and seems to defeat the purpose of why highly qualified legislation was passed in the first place.

    I think the HOUSE rule just applies though if they are a Special Education teacher, if they also wanted to be qualified to be a regular math teacher they would have to take those credit hours in math besides just passing the Praxis.
     
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  3. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    I disagree that it is easy to pass Praxis II tests. Many candidates have trouble passing Praxis II Math, even after they have taken all of the coursework. To pass that test without having the credit hours requires lots of study.

    It seems unfair to you, because you are a new teacher. It seems very fair to those who have already been teaching that subject and were considered highly qualified when they were hired, and would now be out of a job unless they take many more credit hours because of the new legislation.
     
  4. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Dec 10, 2011

    I'm a special ed teacher who is highly qualified in a few subjects by taking the subject 2. While I do tend to agree with your reasoning, there are two reasons why I think this method currently works or is in use.

    1. Almost all of the special ed teachers I know are dually certified in elementary education. Many, if not most, want to do special ed only as a way to get their foot in the door for an elementary job. There are comparatively few special ed teachers who seem to be willing to teach secondary special ed because it 's a little farther removed from the elementary world and the content knowledge is a big issue. Because of this, I think it's a good idea for states to try to make it a little easier for secondary sped teachers to become highly qualified - if they set the bar too high, I don't think anyone would go for it.

    2. Just because I'm not getting college credit for the content I am learning on my own time doesn't necessarily mean that I know less about my content areas than others! For instance, I have been working on getting highly qualified in chemistry. In high school I hated science and didn't pay attention. Once I was hired to teach it to sped students 10 years later, I realized I loved it. :) Basically, I had to learn chemistry all by myself. In September I could barely tell the difference between a proton and an electron, now I am able to do complicated chemical equations. I spend about 15 hours a week teaching myself chemistry... probably more time than I would be spending if I attended a college course.
     
  5. tek_war505

    tek_war505 Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2011

    Well from what I have read the whole idea why highly qualified legislation was passed was that research has shown that teachers who have had more college credits in the subjects they teach tend to be much better teachers, in particular math and science teachers. Even teachers who had been math and science teachers for years without those college credits tended in the research to not be as effective in the classroom as those teachers who had 20+ college credits in the subject they taught. One of the best middle school math teachers I have known got her undegrad degree & masters in mathmatics and she taught middle school math at the catholic school system for 30 years. So by saying here just pass a test and your highly qualified seems to completely defeat the purpose of why highly qualified legislation was passed in the first place.

    I understand some praxis II tests like the high school math test are very hard, but some have a reputation as being extremely easy. Many students in my class passed the praxis II language arts test with very little effort and told me it is considered the easiest content area to pass. So many SPED teachers are highly qualified in language arts in my area.

    As a new teacher if I wanted to be highly qualified in 4 subject areas. I couldn't simply pass all 4 tests, but I would have to take 21*4, for middle school, or 30*4 for high school. That means I would need to take at least 84 to 120 more college credits and pass those praxis as well ! Trying to work and go to school part time taking hard math and science classes would take over 10 years to do. Seems a little unfair and as a way to keep new teachers out of the profession. Either new teachers should be able to take all 4 praxis II tests or experienced teachers have to go back to school and take college credits to become highly qualified in the subjects they teach. Otherwise it is extremely unfair to new teachers and much more difficult for them to be highly qualified and to be able to compete with the teachers who are highly qualified under the HOUSSE rule.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 11, 2011

    The big difference is that the teachers currently teaching the material have years of experience actually teaching the material. So if they can pass the test, they have shown a mastery of the content material which they have put in on their own time or through professional development. A new teacher has not done this.

    Just because a teacher has 20+ credit hours does not mean that they are a good teacher. Many new college graduates come out of school with lots of classes, but have no classroom management, no skills for breaking down concepts for students (especially students with special needs), and little knowledge in the specific classes they are teaching.

    With the teaching world so inundated with candidates for a position, it is not a bad thing to up the bar for receiving certification.
     
  7. tek_war505

    tek_war505 Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2011

    Well what about the new teachers who haven't been teaching those subjects for years who can show just as much mastery as the experienced teachers by passing those same praxis II tests?

    If you can pass the test you should be able to teach the subject regardless if your a new teacher or veteran.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Not necessarily. Just passing a test does not make you qualified to teach a subject. These new teachers do not have the experience that the teachers who have been teaching the subject. Something needs to be said for experience otherwise, why bother with student teaching...
     
  9. tek_war505

    tek_war505 Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2011

    Yes but experience and requiring them to take x amount of college credits in a subject is like comparing apples to oranges, it is not comparable. New teachers should be able to take the praxis II test in their subject area then be allowed to teach a few years to get the experience once they have two years of teaching experience they are highly qualified just like thier veteran teachers.

    I have had zero experience as a middle school math teacher, but I subsituted one day for a para in a math class. The middle school math teacher was asking me for help teaching algerbra because she was having difficulty understanding the math problems. If I had not had calculus and 16 credit hours of math in college I would not have been as strong in math and to be able to explain to the teacher and the class how to do the algerbra problems. She was forced into teaching that subject because they needed a middle school math teacher. She said she normally taught a different subject. Clearly having those college credits in math made teaching math much easier for me.
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 11, 2011

    Yes, but this teacher would not be able to pass the test and thus would not be highly qualified to teach math.

    I do not want a teacher to teach my children who is not highly qualified. I would not wish to be a parent of a child in a new teacher's class just to allow them two or three years to get experience teaching the material.
     
  11. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Dec 11, 2011

    I have no problem with any teacher being highly qualified if they passed the subject area Praxis Exam.
     
  12. tek_war505

    tek_war505 Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2011

    Well I think with a few failed attempts she might be able to pass the middle school math praxis. I know a few students who passed the middle school math praxis after retaking the test a few times and now they are considered highly qualified to teach middle school math even though all they took was a 100 level math class in college. The middle school math praxis is not as hard as the high school math praxis from what I have been told. They have study guides for each of the praxis test that teach the student how to take the test.
     
  13. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Dec 11, 2011

    Where I am in Florida, there is no Praxis requirement. If you take the content area test and pass it, you can teach it. This is for all teachers not just us veteran's.

    There are many, many things that usually seem unfair to new teachers. However as those teachers become experienced they often understand the why.
     
  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Dec 11, 2011

    When I moved from elementary to secondary, I only had to take the PRAXIS for English to get certified. I added another subject by taking the test, and one because it was my minor in college and so I had enough hours.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Dec 11, 2011

    I'm technically highly qualified for English/language-arts K-12 because I simply took the praxis test. It was very easy. I do not at all think I have the training to teach a HS English class though. I'd be concerned about hiring a teacher based on that alone. I took the test so I'd be qualified to teach reading for 4-5 graders since they're still in elementary, but my home state's elementary license only goes up to 3rd grade (4th and up is considered middle).
     
  16. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Dec 12, 2011

    I am a Special Ed teacher who has been considering down the road taking the Praxis to add onto my certification. I'm already licensced to teach K-6 general ed and K-12 Special Ed. This year since I've been moved to the middle school I'm considering taking the 6-8 exams for at least Language Arts and History. (Math and Science is not my strongest suit and even this year with 6th grade Math I sometimes have to ask the Gen Ed teacher to explain a problem to me).

    In all fairness I know in my district with so many budget cuts and in order to save jobs a lot of teachers have been moved to a new content area with the condition that they must successfully pass the Praxis. When it becomes a matter of teaching a subject you may not be completely confident of or having no job at all I guess it's easy to see why so many teachers opt to just take the certification exams in multiple areas.

    Another big issue, particularly in Special Ed in my state is that in a lot of smaller districts there are only two placement options for Special Ed students: self-contained or inclusion. In my district our self-contained room is strictly for severe delays. Many of us have complained that there isn't another level between the two. The answer we have received is that due to the fact that teachers now have to be "highly qualified," a teacher would not only have to have a Sp Ed certification, but also certifications in all 4 subject areas for grades 6-8. We don't have enough staff to split up the subject areas among a team. So I see where you are coming from with it not exactly being fair, but I know myself personally am not in a position where I can really go back to school right now for more credits.
     

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