Fall 2016

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Page 26 of 43

ATPE NEWS 27 respect in this country is money. We need to change the com- pensation paradigm so that a notable percentage of teachers are making salaries that people have a high level of respect for. ATPE: HOW DO WE BALANCE THE NEED FOR HIGHER STANDARDS AT THE STATE LEVEL WITH THE NEW DISTRICT OF INNOVATION (DOI) LAW, WHICH ALLOWS A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF DISTRICTS AROUND THE STATE TO IGNORE SOME LAWS LIKE CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS? HOW DO YOU RECONCILE THOSE TWO OBJECTIVES? Morath: I don't know that I see the same conflict that you do there. The state certification system is the key signal to what is required to be prepared to be a teacher, but there's also a need for innovation across the board. If you abandon the concept of teacher certification requirements in its entirety, there may be a conflict, but that's not really what the DOI law allows. It allows experimentation and innovation for alternative ways of preparing teachers. That may be necessary because the regu- latory regime for teacher certification may be moving slower than what is necessary in terms of preparing people to be good instructors in the classroom, I think in the area of career and technical education in particular. To be a computer science teacher, you have to go through our certification process to reach the level of certification that's required. I can certainly conceive of a situation, though, where you have a part-time teacher who is a skilled programmer by day, but in the morn- ing that person comes in and walks a junior and senior level class through a whole series of algorithmic development pro- cesses that are pretty darn robust. And if you force that per- son to go through the certification process, you might not get there. Clearly, we need to create this signal that entering the classroom is something that requires a high level of rigor, but we also need to allow for innovation because we're not going to get everything right in Austin. We never have, we never will. Left by Gene Acuña; Below Courtesy of TEA Commissioner Morath reads Dr. Seuss to the students of Blackshear Elementary School (Austin ISD) on March 2, 2016— Dr. Seuss Day. continued on page 40

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