Ancient Athens Did Not Need Licensed Teachers


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Contrary to popular notions, teacher licensing in public schools does not insure teacher quality. A license also does not even insure that a public-school teacher is an expert in the subject she teaches. In fact, in our upside-down public-school system, licensing often leads to ill-trained and mediocre teachers instructing our children.

The notion that only state-approved, licensed teachers can guarantee children a good education is proven wrong by history. In ancient Athens, the birthplace of logic, science, philosophy, and Western civilization, city authorities did not require teachers to be licensed.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle did not have to get a teaching license from Athenian bureaucrats to open up their Academies. A teacher’s success came only from his competence, reputation, and popularity. Students and their parents paid a teacher only if they thought he was worth the money. Competition and an education free market created great teachers in ancient Greece.

Parents in America gave their children a superior education at home or in small grammar or religious schools for over two hundred years before we had public schools or licensed teachers. School authorities’ claim that teachers have to be licensed for our children to get a quality education, is therefore false.

Today, in millions of companies across America, bosses or their managers teach new employees job skills, from the simplest to the most complex. Private schools and trade schools teach millions of students valuable, practical skills. Thousands of college professors with masters or doctorate degrees in the subject they teach, instruct hundreds of thousands of college students in subjects ranging from philosophy to electrical engineering. Over a million home-schooling parents teach their children reading, writing, and math with learn-to-read or learn-math books, computer-learning software and other teaching materials. All these teachers are not licensed yet they often give children a far better education than licensed public-school teachers.

Teacher licensing laws are simply a bureaucratic invention of our government-run public schools, an invention that we can do without, thank you.

Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst, and author of “Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children. " Contact Information:

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Phone: 718-447-7348.

Article Copyrighted © 2005 by Joel Turtel.
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