Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year*

*Even if that teacher has no experience or credentials

Like you, I need to start each day by consuming a steaming nugget of wisdom from edu-genius Michelle Rhee. That’s how I know that most, if not all, of our nation’s BEST teachers are brand new to the classroom and are free from the burden of unnecessary credentials. So how unfair is it that most states won’t even allow these top teachers to be considered in their annual Teacher of the Year contests? That’s right: at this very moment a state bureaucrat is passing over a newly minted edu-starlet in favor of some LIFO lifer whose only accomplishment (other than being nominated as a top teacher by his or her peers) is hanging on.

We need a campaign to fix this injustice ASAP, and I know just who should lead it.

To: jwilliams@stand.org
From: Your biggest edu-fan

Dear Jason: Every child deserves a Teacher of the Year, wouldn’t you agree? And yet too many of our children are denied the opportunity of being taught by a Teacher of the Year because states like Massachusetts and California refuse to recognize that the BEST teachers often lack experience and credentials. Won’t you take the lead and fix this egregious injustice once and for all?

Your own personal story–your ‘race to the top,’ as I’ve come to think of it–will be essential as we try to roll back these stifling Teacher of the Year regulations. Imagine how inspiring it will be for others in your brand new shoes to hear the story of how you overcame California’s onerous and burdensome requirements that Teacher of the Year nominees have 1) at least 7 years in the classroom and 2) a teaching license. I mean, my God, when will the ceaseless punishment of excellence finally cease?

Naturally we will need to consider legislation to fix this, perhaps using a threatened ballot initiative for leverage. I’ll leave the details up to you and Jonah…


Hat tip to Boston teacher @columwhyte for alerting me to the fact that Williams, a TFA alum, retired from teaching at age 23, unlicensed after a year and 10 months in the classroom.

Is Jason Williams the Best Teacher in the History of the World?

Stand’s Jason Williams claims to have been nominated as teacher of the year in California after just two years in the classroom. But teachers in California aren’t even eligible for the award until they’ve taught for at least 8 years.

No doubt you are aware by now that Jason Williams, chief of the odious (and misnamed) Stand for Children in Massachusetts, was an OUTSTANDING teacher. For reminders of Williams’ outstanding-ness see here, here, here and here

But now it turns out that Williams is even more outstanding than we previously thought. After teaching for just two years at an Oakland, CA middle school, Williams claims to have been nominated as California’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. Pretty impressive, yes? Well, Williams’ accomplishment is even more dazzling when you consider that the California Teacher of the Year program is only open to teachers who’ve been in the classroom for at least 8 years… 

I know–I had the same thought. I bet Williams was SO effective that 2 of his years in the classroom were worth 4 years with your average teacher. (That seems to be Williams’ own view—he repeatedly refers to himself as a “life-long educator.”) In other words, surely the state of California had to make an exception when confronted with the sheer force of Williams’ outstandingness. But when an enterprising Boston teacher called the California Department of Education to inquire, he got the predictable response: laughter. Turns out that rules are rules, even for someone of Williams’ outstandingness. 

It’s fitting when you think about it. Stand for Children poses as a grass roots group while receiving millions from Walmart, JP Morgan and Bain Capital. Meanwhile Stand’s Massachusetts chief is a charlatan who has exaggerated his own teaching credentials in order to peddle phony edu-reform.