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Education departments systematically award higher grades than do other academic departments at their universities, according to a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, which links those high grades with a certain type of low-caliber assignment commonly found on the syllabuses of education courses.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education has developed a new, online course on blended learning. Expected to launch this spring, the course is intended for teachers spanning preschool, K-12 and higher education. It comes at a time when a number of state boards of education and school districts are testing new methods of instruction that bring technology into the classroom alongside in-person instruction.
Holley Hamilton, a first-grade teacher in Charlotte, N.C., was considering going back to school for a master’s degree in education last year. Noticing that younger teachers were coming into classrooms armed with new ideas, she figured teacher-preparation programs had advanced significantly in the two decades since she graduated. But then the state government eliminated the automatic 10-percent pay raise given to teachers with master’s degrees. So Ms. Hamilton put her plans on hold. She’s not the only teacher forgoing a master’s degree. Enrollment is down in education schools across the country.
Andre Perry writes: If colleges want to reverse the declining number of teachers of color, create more STEM teachers, and calibrate teacher supply with district demand, then teacher preparation programs need to become less dependent on individuals’ tuition. The current tuition-driven system is incentivizing teacher preparation programs to prioritize quantity over districts’ needs.
Andre Perry writes: Nationally, black males account for 2 percent of the teacher population. Blacks in total represent 8 percent of all teachers; Latinos, 7 percent; and Asians, 2 percent. My 3-year-old son could have approximately 50 different teachers by the time he graduates from high school. How many times should he expect to see an African American male teacher before graduation? This is a “Common Core” question I struggle with.
Since its founding in 1989, critics both from within and outside the tight-knit Teach for America family have called for the group to reassess its model of recruiting elite young college graduates and career-changers to teach for two years in low-income schools after a brief summer crash course. They have argued that teaching is a complex skill that cannot be adequately taught in such a short period of time. They have said that asking young people to commit just two years to the job sends the wrong message: that teaching is temporary missionary work, not a respectable, lifelong profession.
Andre Perry writes: It’s time to move teacher-training programs to where they belong – the schools. Teachers in training simply don’t spend enough time developing the relationships and skills required to become effective, persisting professionals. Accordingly, teacher-training programs must adjust to give aspiring teachers more time in the actual settings candidates aspire to work in.
Public debate about education often focuses on what children and adolescents are learning, possibly because of education’s formative role in turning young people into adults. A new book, however, calls us to pay more attention to how we teach the teachers. In Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone), out this month from W. W. Norton, Elizabeth Green, editor in chief of the education news organization Chalkbeat, takes aim at one of the education world’s most cherished myths. She attacks the idea that teachers are born, not made.
Stephen Mucher writes: Can teaching be taught? Or are some teachers just born with “the gift” -- an inherent ability to connect with young people and inspire learning? Should we devote resources to training teachers? Or should we simply encourage public policies that identify undergraduates who already posses the knack for teaching?
An education think tank says its comprehensive survey of college teacher preparation programs shows they rarely provide new teachers with solid skills for the classroom. The National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington group that advocates tougher teacher evaluations, said its second annual evaluation of teacher preparation programs, released on Tuesday, found that only 7 percent performed well enough to achieve "top status."