1: they are in their final phase of teacher education for their degree and this is their supervised student teaching. Some of these will be students earning their master’s or doctorate in education. Most will be in their last semester of their bachelor’s degree.
2: they are pursuing an alternative route to certification. They already have a bachelor’s or higher degree in the subject that they are teaching but not a degree in education. While they teach, they are required to take classes in education or get a master’s degree in education in order to be certified.
As insane as it may sound, a person with a PhD in Physics is not qualified to teach physics in a high school though he is perfectly qualified to teach in a college. This person would need to take some classes in curriculum design and classroom management and foundations of education in order to get a teaching certificate.
So, remember, not having a “degree to teach” may mean the person holds a much higher degree than a Bachelor of Education or that he/she is completing one while teaching under supervision.
The qualifications of the teachers in any public school are open to the public. You can ask the principal or the school district office about what degree was earned and where it came from regarding any teacher.
It could also be that these teachers have a degree in another field and are teaching while working on their alternate certification (taking the required educational classes to qualify for their teaching credentials). These teachers will have a mentor teacher assigned to them and would have a temporary teaching certificate.
Both interns and alternate certification candidates are supervised, so there should be no problems.
You can talk to the teachers or ask the principal or school district for this information. Information is usually sent home once a year about which teachers are not “highly qualified” and which classrooms will be hosting interns.
Most likely the teachers at your daughter’s school do have at least their bachelors and are working towards their credentials. I’ve worked with teachers that were obtaining their credential while teaching in the classroom.
More and more colleges are offering classes designed for stay at home moms etc. Also many college are starting to have five year programs so you can get you BA and MA at the same time.
You should look for a school that offers life credits. Life credits are credits awarded for life experience. If you have a BA and are interested in switching careers look into programs like Teach For America ( http://www.teachforamerica.com/index.htm) or a teaching fellows in your state. These programs are extremely hard to get in to but you get your education for free while teaching in low income areas.
This is however, public information and you are entitled to see the credentials for the teachers that are providing instruction for your daughter. You may try going to the school principals office and requesting a list of credentials for the staff. If they refuse, take your concerns to the next level, which may be an area supervisor or the district superintendent. This is public information and you do have the right to iquire.
You can also contact the county school offices to find out information. Most counties have a person/office dedicated to certification. In the state I teach (Florida), certification information is available online from the Department of Education.
The school, district, and state dept of ed keeps records of their teaching certificate.
It’s not a big secret, just ask.