It seems a bit silly that former Ivy League physics professor David Wolfe needs to take a maths test in order to be allowed to teach in an English school.

However, if he weren’t trying to make a point, Mr Wolfe could easily take the test, submit his portfolio, and teach a lesson with an external moderator assessing to gain a fast-track teaching qualification. This would take up very little of his time.

If we’re going to keep Wackford Squeers-esque loons who shouldn’t be teaching out of the profession, then requiring qualified and intelligent people who move into schoolteaching later in life to take a not-very-hard test doesn’t seem like a terrible sacrifice.

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2 thoughts on “Overblown

  1. The point he’s making is that surely his track record (not least in terms of academic success) should speak for itself – which of course it should. Ever since the 1980s, there has been this insidious, creeping obsession with tests and qualifications, many of which are pretty worthless apart from allowing bureaucrats to tick the appropriate boxes, which in turn supply reams of statistics to government bean-counters.

    I haven’t been in Professor Wolfe’s position (yet), but I myself don’t have any paper qualifications in the subject I’m paid to be an expert in by an internationally renowned organisation. And I take some pride in this, as I’ve met loads of people with film or media studies degrees who don’t know the first thing about their subject apart from the narrow range encompassed by their set texts (I learned my trade through running a repertory cinema for six years that prided itself in maintaining high-quality programming despite having no income other than via the box office – which concentrated the mind much more than any abstract exam!)

    When he hired me for my present job, my boss neither knew nor cared about paper qualifications – what mattered was the half-inch-thick bound portfolio of published work and a sheaf of glowing references. Which is exactly what should be the situation here.

    (This reminds me of Christopher Booker’s book The Mad Officials, a collection of similarly deranged anecdotes – one that sprang to mind was a turkey slaughtering firm whose employees went back decades, who were all required to obtain an appropriate qualification. When they turned up at the course, they discovered their tutor’s experience amounted to a fortnight. How on earth was this guy competent to pass judgement?)

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