Computer Cal or Liberal Arts Larry aren't likely to replace Ted or Tammy teacher in Carroll's academic classrooms any time soon.
That's because Carroll educators view a proposal by the Maryland Board of Education to ease the requirements to teach as an effort to help those systems having trouble recruiting teachers.
Carroll, which hires about 100 teachers each year from a pool of between 1,500 and 2,000 candidates, is not one of those systems, educators said.
"The large applicant bank allows us to be very, very selective," said William R. Rooney, Carroll's supervisor of personnel. "We view the resident teacher program as an emergency situation. As long as we can maintain a large pool of candidates, I don't see that being an issue here."
The state board proposal would allow a "resident teacher certificate" to be given to applicants with a college degree in liberal arts. They would be required to take 90 hours of course work in teaching techniques to qualify.
The measure, however, was put on hold for public comment after the Maryland State Teachers Association, which opposes the proposal, threatened to sue the board for moving too quickly on the matter.
Rooney said that if teachers weren't available for a position, those with resident certificates would be considered. However, he said he had concerns about hiring people who had not gone through the rigorous teacher-education process.
"The person who has gone through the program is better trained and better prepared," Rooney said.
Maureen A. Dincher, president of the Carroll County Education Association, which represents about 1,250 teachers, also had serious concerns about the proposal.
"Any time the politicians relax the rules for getting into any profession, particularly teaching, you lower the standards for the profession," she said. "I should think parents would be up in arms."
Although Chris Centofanti, president of the Liberty High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association, wasn't "up in arms" about the proposal, she said she didn't like the idea.
"I don't feel someone who has a degree in another area would be qualified to properly educate children," said Centofanti, of Sykesville.
"Teachers are trained to deal with all types of problems."
She said more people are steering away from education as a career because of poor salaries and other problems associated with the profession.
"But I don't feel that's a reason to put someone in there who doesn't have the proper training," she said.
Peter B. McDowell, director of Carroll's secondary schools, said there is a positive side to the proposal and noted that many vocational-technical teachers appropriately began their careers as plumbers or electricians.
They learned teaching methods later.
"You really don't know in many cases how a teacher is going to perform," McDowell said. "There's really something within a person that makes an outstanding teacher. It's not so much an expertise in content, but something that makes them wonderfully charismatic and endears them to students."
Gregory C. Eckles, North Carroll High School principal, said teachers colleges do a good job of preparing teachers. For those teachers below par, Carroll has in-service programs to help them, he said.
"I want the best possible and most knowledgeable people in the classroom," he said. "If we can get that through the education process, then that's the best."