Responding to a column in The Advocate, LFT Interim President Larry Carter made it clear that the Federation supports the idea of a year-long residency for new teachers, but has concerns about the plan approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Carter responded to a column by right-wing Advocate writer Jeff Sadow, who defended BESE's two-tiered certification scheme in this article.
The LFT leader cited concerns about long-term funding for the residency program, and criticized BESE for supporting back-door certification plans that may not properly prepare teachers for the classroom. Here is Carter’s full response to the column:
In response to Jeff Sadow’s Sunday, October 16, column, I want to make it clear that the Louisiana Federation of Teachers supports the idea of a year-long residency for prospective teachers.
We believe the program could better prepare new teachers for the classroom, and result in a more professional teaching corps.
We want to make sure that the program is well thought out and sustainable. We don’t want to see a well-intentioned program fail because it can’t be financially sustained in the long run.
We also want assurance that a rigorous residency program is not undercut by back-door schemes that grant teacher certification after just a few weeks of training.
In his column, Sadow seems to want to have it both ways. He praises the rigorous, year-long residency, but then flip-flops to call it a “self-serving bubble.”
Short cuts to certification, Sadow says, defy “the notion that the establishment is the sole source of expert knowledge about how to teach children.”
We believe that properly done, the residency program will give us teachers who are fully prepared to meet the needs of all children in our classrooms. Shortcuts cheat prospective teachers of the experience and knowledge they need to deal with the realities of our schools.
We want teaching to be treated like a true profession, with practitioners who enter the field ready to spend their working lives in the classroom. The residency program could be a step in the right direction.
Short cuts, on the other hand, leave young teachers unprepared for the challenges of a modern classroom. The result is that they often leave the profession after just a couple of years. That cheats children out of the benefit of having a seasoned professional in front of the class.
Larry Carter, Interim President
Louisiana Federation of Teachers