Politics

Cardona says states hiring unqualified teachers ‘a slap in the face to the profession’



Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Wednesday said lowering standards and changing pathways to qualify educators is disrespectful to the profession. 

“Look, I’m all for veterans becoming teachers… but let’s remember, when the nation’s report card is showing that our students have dropped drastically, to provide educators who are not qualified or trained in the pedagogy of teaching is a slap in the face to the profession,” Cardona told reporters at “The Monitor Breakfast,” hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. 

Cardona acknowledged that many educators are leaving the field, forcing standards to change to make up for teacher shortages, and suggested other ways to work around the issue.

“We have to be creative. We have to create pipeline programs,” Cardona said. 

The secretary advocated for better working conditions and more competitive salaries to attract and retain teachers in the profession — and suggested different uses of American Rescue Plan funding to compel new teachers to the field.

“We have to look at our current students as future teachers and give them a pathway in high school. We have to take our paraeducators, who work extremely hard meeting the needs of our students, making $12 an hour, and say ‘Listen, I’m going to provide some [American Rescue Plan] funding now because we’re in a crisis for you to go on and get your degree and then you’re gonna come back and you’re gonna get a job here.’”

Cardona also suggested ARP funding could be used to bring retired teachers back to the profession without risking the loss of their retirement benefits. 

“There are solutions out there lowering standards is not one of them. We need to raise the bar,” Cardona said.



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