You may have read in this week’s Oregonian that there’s a conflict going on in the House Education Committee between Democratic Co-Chair Sara Gelser and Republican Co-Chair Matt Wingard.
The article mentions his goal of expanding charter schools and removing the requirements for teacher certifications, allowing unqualified people to teach in Oregon classrooms. We think of it as Matt Wingard’s Walmart agenda for Oregon schools.
But what the Oregonian didn’t tell you, in a curious oversight, is that Matt Wingard has served as a paid consultant for Oregon’s biggest online charter school. We frankly don’t know what the conflict of interest rules require, but you’d think it’d be relevant for anyone writing about his education agenda. And it’s certainly relevant for anyone wondering about his use of his position to advocate so strongly for charter schools.
Maybe that explains why he believes so strongly that unqualified people should be able to teach.
As Oregonians, we expect you to be licensed to cut hair, serve beer, and operate carnival rides. But apparently, Wingard believes that anyone who thinks they’re qualified should be able to teach in Oregon schools. (Too bad there’s no certification policy for politicians, or we’d all be denied Rep. Wingard’s leadership.)
We feel pretty confident in saying that Oregon students and parents aren’t clamoring for teachers who aren’t qualified and licensed. We’ve yet to see any signs at pro-education rallies proclaiming: “Let The Unqualified Teach Our Children!”
In the midst of this chaos, Education Committee Co-Chair Sara Gelser has been standing strong against Wingard’s attempts to tie up the work of the committee.
So what can you do to help? Clearly Wingard isn’t going to listen to anyone else, so do something positive: Email Co-Chair Gelser (email@example.com) and thank her for standing strong for Oregon’s schools and middle-class families.