Art Teacher to Walker: I'm ready to take my So-You-Think-You-Can-Be-A-Surgeon Test

Of the many terrible ideas that have come out of Governor Walker's Presidential Campaign Headquarters the Wisconsin State Capitol lately, perhaps none is more offensive than Gov. Walker's proposition that anyone with "life experience" should be allowed an easy path toward "teaching" our kids. 

Photo: MTEA
Despite DPI  having already significantly weakened teacher certification options just two years ago by creating a "teaching equivalency" certificate (about which, of course, I have much-blogged), the  governor would like to take his disrespect for both the teaching profession and the 875,000 children who attend Wisconsin public schools to the next level by loosening teacher licensing requirements thusly:  by creating "alternative pathways to allow a candidate with real life experience to pass a competency test to gain a teacher license."
That's right.  Scott Walker thinks anyone who passes a "competency test" is fit to teach your kids.

Your ADHD kids.
Your special needs kids.
Your kids who only get one balanced meal a day, and that's at school.
Your high-achieving kids who need individualized attention and assignments at discrete moments throughout the day so they don't get bored and tune out.
Your tactile learner who needs something in her hands at all times or she totally loses focus.
Your English language learner who just started 10th grade midyear in the US and is doing math at a college level but reads at a first grade level.

But don't worry.  We're going to make sure these "teachers" have A LOT of life experience.  Your child will be lucky to have them.  And you'll be lucky to be paying their new, improved salaries with your tax dollars.
Creates alternative pathways to allow a candidate with real life experience to pass a competency test to gain a teacher license.  - See more at:
Creates alternative pathways to allow a candidate with real life experience to pass a competency test to gain a teacher license.  - See more at:
And maybe, just maybe, if things go really well, Walker will expand the program and you'll be lucky enough to get this amazing art teacher to you'll also be lucky enough to be your surgeon, should you ever need one.

I present to you, with the author's kind permission, our MoD OPEN LETTER OF THE WEEK....a brilliant letter to governor Walker from  Wisconsin elementary art teacher, Michele Hatchell:

Dear Governor Walker,

I heard about your idea for a new program where individuals with “real-life experience” and a bachelor’s degree would be able to get a teaching license in any subject as long as they pass a test proving they are knowledgeable. What a great idea! Why don’t you do this for all kinds of jobs? I have been thinking, and I would love to be a surgeon, but I sure don’t have time or money for all that college that it would take to change careers. And I think I have many experiences that would enable me to pass a test to help people surgically. Also, the pay would be a bit better than my current profession which would be helpful for my family.

You see, I have been an elementary art teacher for the past twenty years and I have spent at least 11 years taking college courses to get my K-12 art license and 1-6 classroom license and to renew my licenses every five years. So wow, it would be so much easier if I didn’t have to go to medical school to start my new career.

I looked at a few medical sites and thought I would share some cross over skills from my life experience as an elementary art teacher that would help me be a good surgeon. Maybe that would be helpful to you when developing “the test” for being a surgeon. Maybe someone in your family would be willing to let me remove their appendix after I passed the “Be A Surgeon Test.” I wouldn’t want to start with brain surgery or heart surgery because hearts and minds take a lot of time to heal if they are damaged. Also, I have become very skilled at tests in this current educational climate, so I feel confident I would be deemed proficient on the first try.

Surgical Skill: Bone Fixation and Casting

Real Life Experience:
I have made several thousand paper mache masks and plaster finger puppets with children over the past twenty years. I have photos if that would be helpful.

Surgical Skill: Hand Sewn Gastrointestinal Anastomosis

Real Life Experience:
I have a lot of experience hand sewing sock monkeys and quilts with small children. I also knit every day to keep my fingers nimble-- I could provide a couple sweaters as portfolio examples for the test.

Surgical Skill: Knot Tying

Real Life Experience:
I tie young children’s shoes many times a day to keep my knot tying skills sharp.

Surgical Skill: Stapled Gastrointestinal Anastomosis
Real Life Experience:
I have stapled hundreds of bulletin boards to display the children’s creativity-- I know that tools matter because I am particular about the type of stapler I use and the type of staple remover so that the children’s work is not damaged.

Surgical Skill: Latex Allergy Anaphylaxis

Real Life Experience:
Every year I have attended the blood borne pathogen inservice at school, I know where the epi pens are in the nurse’s office and one year I got special balloons for our paper mache project because a child had a latex allergy.

If you don’t think this would work, maybe I could take a test to be a lawyer or a governor?

Michele Hatchell, Elementary Art Teacher/ aspiring surgeon

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