Monday, March 31, 2008

The Credentialing Mystique

It's a teensy bit unfair for an adult to pick apart a high school student's logic. However, Charles Kong of Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland seems to have declared himself an expert on homeschooling so I really don't feel too badly about it :-p

Kong wrote in favor of requiring home educators to hold state teacher's credentials:

"Automobile mechanics will repair cars, accountants will manage finances and surgeons will operate on the human body. Just as there is not a true jack-of-all-trades who can innately do everything, there is not a parent who innately knows everything his child should learn about math, science and the humanities. If a barber must be certified to cut hair and a doctor needs an M.D. to treat patients, then it is only fair that an adult also be credentialed to educate children."

While people who are paid to do these jobs often are required to hold state licensing, the government does not typically prohibit unlicensed people from doing them in their own home for their own family. I am perfectly free to fix my own car, do my own taxes, or cut my children's hair if I desire. I can also feed my children without being a Registered Dietitian, make home repairs without being a licensed plumber/carpenter/electrician/etc., make a will without going to law school & passing the bar exam, and so on, and so forth.

If states want to regulate professional educators who earn a living teaching students other than their own children, I don't really have a problem with that. Though I do have major concerns about the usefulness of traditional teacher preparation programs and certification and feel that the process should be completely revamped. But requirements for paid professionals should not be enforced upon those who choose to do those jobs themselves for their own families.

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