Have you ever been sitting in a crowded hair cattery, salon, nail studio, or doctor's office, and had them announce that someone wasn’t there that day, then pick out a substitute from the crowd? Our culture would never accept such a thing, we need certification to be permitted to cut or style hair, do someone’s nails, or give them a massage. In many cases we need to be certified to fix other people’s cars, plumbing, or electric wiring. These (with the exception of electric wiring and doctors) are not generally life threatening tasks, although they can embarrass someone if they are done wrong.

Why then, do we allow people with no training or certification to substitute teach classes? Parents and students trust the substitutes to be knowledgeable in the case of an emergency, to know how to handle personal problems within the student body, and to teach the correct facts.

Even worse than substitutes drawn from a crowd, are “emergency teachers.” When a certain area has a deficit in teachers, they may hire someone who has a degree in the subject area, but not teaching, to teach the students. They may be very knowledgeable in the subject, but that doesn’t mean that they will be able to find a way to get the students to understand the subject, or manage the classroom well.

What makes our society value the certification of somebody who cuts our hair more than somebody who watches our children and teaches them right from wrong?