Families & Communities

Quality Teaching

Pláticas en Acción
Quality Teaching

Quality teachers know the subjects they teach, know effective ways of teaching those subjects and value their students.

What is the issue?
Many students do not have access to quality teachers. Right now, hundreds of thousands of Texas students are being taught by teachers who are not prepared to teach. Some of these teachers were hired on an “emergency” basis and do not have a teaching certificate, while others are teaching subjects that they do not specialize in.

This situation is made even worse by Texas’ reliance on a state test, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) to determine how well students are performing. Students who do not pass this test are subject to being held back, even though their failure may be due to being taught by unqualified teachers.

Texas colleges and universities are not training enough teachers for the state’s public schools. Texas does not have enough qualified teachers for most subjects; almost one-fourth of new Texas teachers are not fully certified.

The shortage of qualified teachers is especially severe in the areas of bilingual education, English as a second language, math and science – particularly in elementary schools.

Why is it important?
TAKS should not be the only standard used for determining student’s future.

Allowances should be made for the lack of qualified teachers, and parents and political leaders should understand that children who learn from unqualified teachers stand little chance of performing well on tests that demand high levels of instruction and learning.

What needs to be done?
Texas must address the shortage of qualified teachers in our schools. Colleges and universities need to recruit and train more teachers to guarantee qualified, certified teachers, well-educated in the subjects they teach, for every classroom in the state. And current teachers need access to professional development in order to update their skills.

What can you do?
Do you know if the teachers in your children’s schools are certified to teach the subjects they are teaching? You can find out by asking the school principal or the teachers themselves. If your children are not receiving instruction from qualified teachers, you must tell both your state senator and representative. You must insist that the TAKS is not used as the only indicator of whether students pass or fail a grade. Demand excellence and quality instruction from the teachers – just as excellence and quality learning are demanded from your children.

The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) is a vanguard leadership development and research team working with people to create self-renewing schools that value and empower all children, families and communities. IDRA is an independent, private non-profit organization directed by María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. IDRA, 5835 Callaghan Road, Suite 350, San Antonio, Texas 78228-1190; 210444-1710; contact@idra.org; www.idra.org. © 2003 by IDRA. • Parent Information Resource Center at IDRA •