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Educating School Teachers Commentary

September 20, 2006 By: richard.ginn Category: Uncategorized

The “Educating School Teachers” report by Arthur Levine is a second in a small series of reports looking at the education system. The report says mainly bad things about education schools and that most schools leave graduates unprepared to teach in the classroom. Another report earlier this year by the NCTQ failed over 60 of the around 70 plus colleges they looked at for poor reading skills curriculum in teacher schools.

The article says that just over 1,200 schools give out degrees to students, which is at 78% of the four-year colleges. They all come in different sizes, types, and requirements that I think is good.

The report states that the nation faces around 200,000 teacher vacancies a year. That is a lot and with teacher quality a main concern, the college system based on this report is doing a very bad job.

The report used a nine-point system to judge the quality of a teacher education program including curriculum, degrees, research, and admission requirements.

Only 40% of principals say the education schools are doing well says the report. That sucks. If principals are not happy, major changes are going to have to take place. They also looked at curriculum length and how long it should be, some people wanted four-year degrees while some wanted five-year degrees. 60% of people polled say that students have to spend one semester in the classroom as part of the education experience. That is not going to be enough imo. I would go for at least one year for a student in a classroom with it possibly being a paid internship.

Mentoring after the college years also came up. That should be done at the school district level for all new teachers, not from the college as they are suggesting.

The report says that the teacher facility is disjointed because they have not been in a regular classroom for a long period of time in decades. Interesting idea, and it is probably true.

The report gets into low admission standards. Low admission standards can be kept if you have a college program that is top notch, at this point of time it looks like the curriculum is going to have to change to make sure that high amounts of quality and quantity at the same time.

The report does say that they did find excellent teacher training programs in more than a quarter of the schools they visited. This was nice to see. Each one had different curriculum, graduation standards, in a classroom standards, etc.… The four colleges they looked at were Alverno College, Emporia State University, Stanford University, and University of Virginia.

Alverno College is a women’s college. Students at this college must complete 40 competence units distributed across eight areas. They must master four out of eight areas. They will have 100 hours of fieldwork in the classroom as well.

Emporia State University students have to pass the Praxis 1 exam although a few can get in if they just miss a piece of the exam by like one point or two. They will also have to pass the praxis II exam as well. Seniors in this college have to take a one-year internship in a professional development school. Students in the professional development school start out spending two full-days and three half-days in a classroom. They spend some time doing some site based method courses talking about theory and experiences they had in the classroom. After Thanksgiving break they spend full-time in the classroom.

The University Of Virginia has a five-year program. Students at this program also have to take the Praxis 1 and 2 exams. Students in the fifth-year wind up spending the fall-semester teaching full-time in a classroom.

The Stanford University program is a Master’s Program. They take 45 graduate credit hours and have to spend 4 hours a day, 20 hours in a week in a partnership school.

It was nice to see a total variety in the amount of time student has to do some work in a classroom teaching. A nice variety in curriculum as well. Variety is a good thing.

The next part of the report talks on changes that can be made to improve the quality of the teaching workforce. Salary increases is one fix. Imo that is not going fully solve the problem. More professional development schools must be created. I have to agree here. It looks like a great way to create teachers. The report recommends that college programs be five years long. I am not so sure that is going to be needed.

How colleges are going to have to graduate students is going to have to change. I think a major group of colleges are going to have to get together. The four colleges listed in the report would be great for this group. Massive changes to the curriculum along with the scrapping of many poor college education programs are going to have to take place in order the quality to improve nation wide. The students need time in the classroom to get better, to get used to what they are going to do for a paycheck each day.

This report also asks the question if education colleges are junk, what other colleges like possibly law, math, and journalism are in the same boat as well.

Sources:

Levine, Arthur “Educating School Teachers” Edschools.org (2006) n. pag. Online. Internet. September 2006
Available: http://www.edschools.org/teacher_report.htm

Walsh, Walsh , Deborah Glaser, and Danielle Dunne Wilcox”What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching about Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning” National Center For Teacher Quality (2006) n. pag. Online. Internet. June 2006
Available: http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_reading_study_exec_summ.pdf

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