Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Colorado Department of Education

So, the long sad saga of certification in Colorado continues.  A year and a half ago, when I knew we were going to move to Colorado, I started the certification process to teach in Colorado.  Since I had taught in Colorado in the 1970s (yes, I am that old - sigh), I submitted an application in March of 2010 for renewal of a lapsed license.  It is not easy to fill out an application for a teaching license in Colorado.  It is a long and complicated form.  The renewal for a lapsed license was, at least, a bit shorter.

A couple of months later, I received notification that I had filed the wrong application.  They couldn't find any record of my having been certified in Colorado.  I repeated the information that had been submitted on the application and they told me, they would have to look up the information on microfiche, since it was too old to be available in their current system.  Later, again, they said that they had found the information, but that I had had a provisional license at the time and, in order to make it current, I would have to take a class on Working with Retarded Children (or some similar title).  Since courses designed to teach teachers to work with special needs populations are no longer titled like that and since I didn't want to take more coursework, I asked if there was an alternative, given that I was also certified to teach in Alaska and Illinois.  They said I could file an out of state application, instead of the renewal one.  Which meant starting the application process all over again, except for the fingerprinting.  This time, I had to have every place I had worked verify that I did, indeed work there.  And, I had to submit official transcripts of all college work I had completed.  Given that I have taken classes at at least 10 different institutions, beginning in the 1970s, much of my education and experience took place quite a few years ago, it is a rather long and complicated process to get all this done.  Finally, the application was complete and submitted.

Meanwhile, I decided, as a backup to file an application to substitute teach, thinking that that would be faster and would at least let me work in the fall of 2010.  I also filed an application for the regular teaching license.  Both of those were filed in September.

But, the Colorado Department of Education is so backed up that the subbing license, which was indeed a bit faster, was only issued the second week in December.  This was AFTER most of the school districts in the area stopped accepting new substitutes for the school year.  Thus, I missed out on subbing for the whole year.  At my age, that is no minor thing, as I am nearing the age when some people retire.  Then, finally, toward the end of December, the Colorado license arrived.  Only it included only half of my endorsements.  In Alaska, I had been certified K-8 Elementary Education AND 5-12 Information Technology.  In Colorado, they had only given me the endorsement for K-8 Elementary Education, without asking which one I preferred.

I suppose it could have been worse.  If they had asked, I would have gotten the Elementary Education certification first, but I was not impressed that they didn't ask.  From May to December, it had taken 7 months to get my certification done.  But at least now, I could start applying for jobs.  Only, of course, then there was this big recession thingie.  And no one was hiring.  And, if they were hiring, they wanted endorsements in something other that what my certificate said. 

Since I have more college courses than anyone in their right mind would ever want, I decided that I would have a better chance of getting a job with more endorsements, specifically those in the STEM fields, since those seemed to be in higher demand than elementary education.  So, in March, I filled out the application for additional endorsements.  This, again, is a much more complicated process than it needs to be.  Since I wasn't sure which endorsements would be most useful, I filed for all of the endorsements for which I thought I would qualify (mathematics, chemistry, biology, computer information technology, and gifted education).  I figured if they were looking at all of those transcripts, it would be much easier for them to just do them all in one fell swoop.

Wrong.  I just got an email, telling me that I can only ask for one endorsement at a time.  This makes no sense to me.  I can see that they might want me to pay for each endorsement, but why do they need a NEW application.  Why can't they just charge me the $80 for each endorsement that I qualify for and want to add.  But I guess that makes too much sense and might help too much to get rid of their giant backlog of certification requests.

So, now I have to decide which endorsement I want.  Math seems to be in the highest demand, but I have the shakiest qualifications for that.  I have the hours, but just barely and since some of the courses have unusual titles, I am not sure if they will count.  I can be pretty sure of getting an endorsement in Computer Technology, since I have a Master's degree in computer science, but my degree was from quite a while ago and most people hiring in that area want to see more recent coursework - and I only have one recent relevant course.  I have more than enough hours and expertise in chemistry, but I am not really that interested in teaching at the high school level.  The endorsement I really want, for personal reasons, would be the one in gifted education.  But there are very, very few jobs in that area.

There are other complicating factors, which are too boring to detail, but the bottom line is that now it will take even longer to get the certification and endorsement stuff finalized.  In the meantime, at least I can sub.  Unfortunately, there are so many people subbing now, that actually getting subbing jobs is also problematic.

Maybe I should just work at McDonalds. 

No comments:

Post a Comment