Michigan is phasing out its computer science teaching endorsement

August 4, 2017 at 7:00 am 9 comments

I’d heard that this was happening, but couldn’t believe it, until I saw the news reports.  While other states are ramping up computer science teacher certifications or endorsements, and schools are starting to offer programs for those certifications, Michigan is actually phasing it out.

Teachers who currently hold the endorsements will continue to see them displayed on their certificates and may continue to teach in those areas. However, starting in 2017-18, administrators will have discretion in assigning a teacher in those endorsement areas. For example, a teacher with a computer science endorsement may be assigned to teach computer science, or a district may employ a teacher without the endorsement who displays strong computer science skills.

Source: Some Teaching Endorsements Phasing Out – Michigan Education Association

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike Zamansky  |  August 4, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Looks like they’re taking the approach that if it’s hard to fill, lower the standards: https://mea.org/some-teaching-endorsements-phasing-out/

    This is where the CS Ed community is doing itself a disservice when some of us claim that short term PD is sufficient to create a CS teacher. It also opens the doors for “reformers” to start taking similar measures in other subject areas.

    I wasn’t able to easily find what the requirements for this endorsement is (was), but I was able to locate this list of courses that it allows you to teach:

    Computer Science
    Programming
    Computers*2
    Computer Literacy*2
    Keyboarding*2
    Word Processing*2
    Computer Applications*2
    Web Design *2
    Introduction to the Internet *2

    With the footnote 2 indicating that you don’t actually need the endorsement to teach those courses

    Reply
  • 2. Dennis Frailey  |  August 4, 2017 at 10:01 am

    The original article says the certificates being discontinued are “hard to fill” or “don’t attract many candidates”. Could this be because those who would qualify have higher paying employment options? If so, then the solution is not to browbeat the education association but to find ways to make teaching CS as lucrative as doing it.

    Reply
    • 3. Mike Zamansky  |  August 4, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Dennis – it’s not a pay issue – at least not specific for CS teachers. I put down thoughts on this here:

      http://cestlaz.github.io/posts/will-we-lose-cs-teachers-to-industry

      and here:

      http://cestlaz.github.io/posts/on-retaining-teachers/

      Reply
    • 4. Mark Guzdial  |  August 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      The education association doesn’t make these decisions in Michigan. The Department of Education does. States vary widely in how certification works. Talking to colleagues at Michigan State, one of the factors was that the Michigan Department of Education does not have anyone with expertise in CS (less than 10 states have CS expertise in their Department of Education).

      Reply
    • 5. Alfred Thompson  |  August 6, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Most places seem to feel that teaching is deserving of the same pay regardless of subject because “teaching is teaching.” Supply and demand is not something that schools are generally allowed, by philosophy if not rules and contracts, to take into account.

      Reply
      • 6. Mark Guzdial  |  August 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

        I agree, Alfred. Especially in states where teaching is unionized, pay and raises are typically based on seniority, without distinction between fields. I see the logic of it, especially at the elementary school level. A CS teacher in K-8 might be able to make more than the English teacher if they had to compete in the industrial job market, but arguably, we need the English teacher more at the K-8 level than the CS teacher.

        Reply
  • 7. cycomachead  |  August 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    It’s hard to tell what affects this really has. Without knowing anything about how they determine someone l”who displays strong CS skills” compared to the requirements that are needed to earn a certificate, then it seems very difficult to judge what this means for teaching quality.

    Personally, I feel like the proper approach is to award but not require certificates. the two actions taken seem to be orthogonal.

    Reply
    • 8. Mark Guzdial  |  August 5, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Teacher certification is how we provide quality control on “strong CS skills.” I recommend the Bugs in the System report to better understand issues of teacher certification.

      Reply
  • 9. Jan Chapman  |  August 10, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Truly this is a sad and unfortunate situation for the state of Michigan and its students and professionals affected by it.

    Reply

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