(Guest post by Greg Forster)
OCPA’s Perspective carries an article of mine with a headline I’m particularly proud of: “Teacher Hiring Devastated by Emergency ‘Common Sense Shortage'”:
New moons cause teacher shortages because teachers have accidents driving in the dark without moonlight. Full moons cause teacher shortages because teachers become werewolves.
Claims about the causes are always changing, tailored to whatever is in the news. The claim that there’s an urgent, emergency shortage that we need to address right now never goes away.
News reports about lots of “emergency certifications” in Oklahoma are misleading:
These exceptions are being described as “emergency” certifications. This term has been adopted not only by the old guard but by many others, including some of their critics. I suspect it comes into wide use not only because the old guard and the click-addicted media benefit from public hysteria, but also because the schools seeking permission to make these hires think they’re more likely to get it if their need is described as an emergency. However, the state refers to these simply as “exceptions” to the standard certification requirements. This more neutral description might permit a more careful analysis…
If these exceptions are evidence of a problem, the obvious thing to do is target our response to the particular localities and disciplines where the overwhelming majority of the exceptions are being granted. That way Oklahoma can solve the problem it actually has, not some other, imaginary problem.
Ha, ha! Just kidding. The obvious thing to do is raise teacher salaries across the board, shut down accountability systems statewide, and give the old guard all the other things it wants. Such measures will have only a very indirect effect on the localized and specialized areas where certification exceptions are being granted. But that’s not what teacher shortage hysteria is ever about.
PS: Special guest appearance by Matt Ladner and his Brookings “Super Chart!”
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