Much to the dismay of William Amoriell, who heads the education department of Loyola College, the State of Maryland has chosen to open up education's closed shop {"Teachers Must Know How to Teach," Close to Home, Nov. 11}. Maryland's new Resident Teaching Certificate permits liberal arts graduates to teach with supervising "mentors" and minimum education courses. Nothing could be more therapeutic or redemptive for the teaching profession.

Twenty-five years of teaching have taught me that teaching is a performing art, the impulse and sensibilities of which cannot be taught. To compete with Nintendo, General Hospital, MTV -- and be remembered -- teachers must put on a six-hour show daily. Passion for information and passion for the power knowledge confers make a teacher believable. The heart of good teaching is passion. And like curiosity, passion cannot be taught.

Because the "how" rather than the "why" and "what" is the basis business of education departments, U.S. education is philosophically bankrupt. Teachers are taught by default that life imitates school. Reality is correspondingly deformed into a curriculum. Diminished and disconnected from the real world, education cannot promote the big view so crucial to schools' morale, interest and general intelligence. The RTC will be an effective antidote.

Amoriell, however, decried the new certificate and predicted disastrous consequences. I expect he may be losing business to campus competitors. Like other rust-belt industries, education colleges have decayed into obsolescence long before management had an inkling. These managers were convinced the world had to conform its needs to their product. The world, unfortunately, had a bigger view.

It's axiomatic among teachers that too many education courses were/are trivial, if not worthless. Until teacher education values the "what" and "why" of education as much as the "how to" -- "minds on" as much as "hands on" -- education reform will be bogus. RTC-type teacher certification will force U.S. education to finally, as the kids put it, "get real."

Rocky Curtis teaches sixth grade in the Fairfax school system.