Today was Junior Achievement Day at school. Local business people came from a nearby national bank to every classroom and did five to six activities designed to teach kids about how business works, etc. Teachers were told over the speaker system to sit in their classrooms and catch up on paperwork while the business people taught the class. It was an all day affair, and I'm sure for some of the business people, the Longest Day of Their Lives.
Watching them in action reminded me of the No Child Left Behind legislation that mandates that all teachers need to be "highly qualified" in their content area in order to teach it. So if you've been teaching science for twenty years, but you don't have the science endorsement on your teaching certificate, you must either get the endorsement or get another job. This has been causing headaches for special ed teachers at the high school level; suddenly you can't teach your students with severe learning disabilities in a self contained room all day unless you are endorsed for English, Science, Math, and Social Studies. And no one gets endorsed in each subject area! So there are some problems with this.
My BIGGEST beef is with the underlying principle of "highly qualified": it assumes that in order to be an effective teacher, you simply need to be an expert in your content area. When in reality (not that I recommend this) you just need to stay a chapter ahead of the kids. So... no, no, NO! A highly qualified teacher should be someone who can take any subject area and construct an engaging lesson, utilizing effective classroom management techniques; it should be someone who knows how to use assessment to drive instruction and is an expert in educational psychology and methodology.
My point was made painfully clear watching these very highly qualified business experts flounder in the classrooms. I don't care who you are or how smart you are, if you don't have a quiet signal, you're screwed!