The Daily Need

In teachers we trust?

A classroom in Shanghai. Photo: Flickr/ Harald Groven

Ezra Klein’s Washington Post blog recently featured a guest post by Columbia University journalism student Dana Goldstein entitled “Is the U.S. doing teacher reform all wrong?” Goldstein focuses on the findings of a recent National Center on Education and the Economy’s study, which compares education policies in five top performing countries — Finland, China, Japan, Singapore and Canada — with the United States. One of the main conclusions is that, basically, the way the U.S. recruits, prepares and evaluates teachers is completely out of step with this group of high-achieving countries.

Public schools in the United States have emulated the Teach for America model: Young, enthusiastic people are thrown into classrooms, often without any experience and little to no required formal coursework. There is no U.S. policy system that pairs new teachers with experienced mentors. Teachers are granted little autonomy in their classrooms and their performance evaluations are largely based on student test scores.

In contrast, teachers in top performing countries must commit to teaching as a serious profession before they enter their classrooms. Each candidate must first go through a system that requires high levels of training and education. As a result, teacher autonomy in the classroom is prioritized and there is less emphasis on student test scores.

The report concludes “that the strategies driving the best performing systems are rarely found in the United States, and conversely, that the education strategies now most popular in the United States are conspicuous by their absence in the countries with the most successful education systems.”

As the report suggests, understanding what systems are being implemented for teachers in academically high-achieving countries should factor into our own policy reform efforts here in the U.S.

To hear more on what might make a positive difference for U.S.teachers and education, watch our “Fixing Education” series of interviews.  Need to Know sat down with educators and policymakers from around the world at the “Celebration of Teaching and Learning” organized by WNET in New York City. We wanted to get a global perspective on successful strategies for education reform.  A number of those interviewed, including Finland’s Minister of Education and Science and Hong Kong’s Under Secretary for Education, echoed the sentiment that education is more effective when the teachers are well-trained and respected as professionals.

 
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Comments

  • jan

    I think additional training and less emphasis on student scores are points well worth considering.  However, what appears to be an assumption that teachers go into the profession without commitment?  I’m sorry but I disagree. 

    Treating teachers with respect?  You better talk to Obama, Arne Duncan, and Bill Gates.  They appear to be leading the attack on teachers and advocating disrespect towards teachers.  Till they stop or lose interest, I suspect you’re fighting a losing battle.  Parents who don’t take responsibility for their children’s education have become Obama, Duncan, and Gates’ army.  

  • Dalljens

    If it wasn’t invented here, the jingoists will never accept it. As is evidenced by the republican dedication to failed “trickle-down” economic theories, evidence has NOTHING to do with policy.

  • Welleducator

    I was under the impression that the goal was “Education Reform” not ‘Teacher Reform’ – however, once you get past that point, there are some valid arguments to this article – the US, sadly, treats it’s schools like widget factories.  Students are people, not widgets.     I like the idea of supporting up and coming teachers more consistently.   More of them might stick around if this were the case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=894350152 John Abbott

    After close to two decades in classrooms, most of them at the four- or two-year college level, the one thing I’ve seen that seems to be avoided like the proverbial third rail is student accountability. Why does so-called reform seldom take students to task for their own learning? The best students I ever taught took ownership and were proactive learners, while the dimwits and (look it up if you don’t know the slang, it’s very apropos) snowflakes imploded at the first sign of a real work. 

  • Guest

    Little to no required formal coursework? Have you taken a look at the coursework required for a teaching degree lately? The school of education at my university is ranked 28th in the nation so perhaps our program is more rigorous, but I find that statement very hard to believe.

    The writer is also overlooking the fact that the majority of young people going into teaching today are also getting their masters in teaching before they start their careers. Please do some research next time before making rather inane blanket statements.

  • http://mywikibiz.com/Directory:Jon_Awbrey Jon Awbrey

    Anyone with a working long-term memory knows where this agenda to “Starve Public Schools Out Of Existence” came from.

    Good thing there’s web search for the rest of us —

    Richard DeVos Advocates “Stealth” Strategy Against Public Education

    Blackwater In-Law DeVos Outlines “Stealth” Plot Against Public Education

    Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech

  • Willoe

    It all comes down to micromanaging.  Dept’s of Ed. put too much emphasis on tests.  Like in my state, MA, if the students don’t pass the 10th grade MCAS, they don’t graduate (but they have several chances to do so).  As a result, Math, Bio, and ELA teachers teach to the test and no longer have autonomy in their classrooms.  This doesn’t always mean what should get taught does get taught.  If teachers spend less time in meetings during the day and more time in the classroom, then maybe education in the US would be at a higher standard.  Unions have a big part of that, too.  But I won’t go there… today. 

    It’s a lot of things, the above being a major part.  Train educators properly and give them back control of their classrooms (within reason, that is) and maybe our kids will learn better.  

  • Trinag

    I’m not sure where idea of very little training came from. My husband is a recent graduate with a bachelors degree in education. He had to spend a year alone on practicum and student teaching, both of which occur in a classroom with mentor teachers present. I think the majority of teachers go into teaching wholeheartedly not haphazardly. I myself am aide in a kindergarten classroom. The biggest problem I see, no parent support or backup teaching at home. A parent being involved and taking an interest in their child’s learning is the key to making a successful adult.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1510320568 Lisa Regula

    Re-read the sentence- “Public schools in the United States have emulated
    the Teach for America model: Young, enthusiastic people are thrown into
    classrooms, often without any experience and little to no required
    formal coursework.”  Nicholchev is saying that the model used by Teach for America, and what is being adopted by many public schools, requires little in the way of formal coursework.  She’s not referring to a teaching degree from a university.  That’s part of the disconnect- there are so many alternate routes to becoming a teacher in some states, that certified teachers lacking pedagogical training is becoming more and more common, as these “non-professional” (in the sense that they are not trained primarily as teachers) teachers cost considerably less than professional teachers.  The reference isn’t the most straight forward structuring I’ve seen, but I think I’m interpretting her correctly.

  • Ioanna

    A semester or year of mentoring at the student teacher level is very different from mentoring as a new teacher. What the culture was like when one student taught can be very very different from the school that that new teacher gets hired at. Getting mentored as a new teacher can make it safer for that new teacher to ask questions and hone their craft as opposed to fighting the assumption that they now know everything because they’ve been deemed ‘highly qualified’ per NCLB.

    And yes, parent support is definitely needed for students. While this has been a struggle ever since the first classroom, parental support has taken a sharp dive ever since ‘teacher accountability’ started. It simply can’t be all about us.

  • Boe3525

    Teachers in the state where I come from (Oregon) are required to have their Masters degree within 5 or so years from when they graduate with their Bachelors degree.   I feel the US tries to fit too many kids into a mold or a box, rather than fitting to their learning needs.  High Stakes testing is a great downfall that we have.  Teachers tend to teach towards the test if they think kids not passing will effect them or their school poorly.  I think if teachers could truly teach for learning rather than for regurgitating on the test, students would preform better. I wonder in these other countries if high stakes testing is the norm?

  • Greg

    Jan, it sounds like you may be a teacher and feel confronted by the current policies…I have a sister who is a teacher and had two grandmothers who taught…and while I whole-heartedly agree that teachers don’t bear all of the responsibility for poor student outcomes, I also work in the schools of Chicago and across Illinois, and I can assure you that there are definately teachers out there who have long past lost interest in working with learners or as part of a system that needs reform.  Guaranteed jobs and tenure is also NO way to ensure high quality teaching.

  • CN

    Not ALL public schools (in fact, not many that I’m aware of) have emulated the Teach For America model; in fact, most require their teachers to show “highly qualified” status which means that they hold at least a bachelor’s degree in education with a minimum number of credits in the subject they’re teaching. Most of the teachers in the public school where I teach have masters degrees in education (and our school has been consistently making AYP). My state (NJ) currently has a mentoring program for new teachers in public schools.  It is not “public schools” that are trying to eliminate high standards for teacher training and preparedness; this model is what’s being used in many private and charter schools and what is being pushed by politicians, many of whom have no education experience or coursework. The problem with education reform is that it does not address the REAL problem of schools that are failing: that in these communities, many children are entering schools ill-prepared to learn, without the social skills to be able to get along with other children, and without parental guidance at home to support what’s going on at school. Kids are coming to school not having enough sleep, not feeling safe, not having adequate nutrition, and not having a parent who reads to them or makes sure they do their homework. I do not know how these issues can be addressed, but they play a HUGE part in children’s success in school, and all the educational reform in the world is not going to help these kids learn. Charter schools like SEED perform well because they do the parents’ job: taking kids out of unsafe environments, making sure the kids have adult supervision to do their homework and go to bed on time and provide them with healthy food… at more than twice the cost of what public schools spend.  Education can’t be fixed until there is a solution for poverty, poor public safety, and parents who have children but aren’t able or willing to properly take care of them and prepare them for school.

  • Carlson Antje

    I have noticed that the discussion focuses too much on teachers and too little on student/parent/community engagement and responsibility. Most teachers I know have a year of student teaching behind them and some, though probably not all, have received some form of mentoring. At my school the ‘senior’ teacher automatically takes on the ‘junior’ and in my experience this is one of the most valuable contributions to a teacher’s budding career. Of particular interest to me would be an investigation into how students study and learn outside of school. Sometimes I wish I were a ‘hidden camera’ in a student’s room and home. Parents and students tell us a lot about all the things they do and how many hours they spend on homework, but what time spent on assignments is really quality time, I wonder.

  • Carlson Antje

    Right on, I posted a similar response.

  • Pam

    I taught for two years, had no mentoring system where I was and was in a school where 80% of the population had learning disabilities.  It was extremely draining.  I feel that if I had a mentor to guide me through my first two years I’d still be teaching, regardless of student performance. 

    That said, when I moved to another city (NYC) I couldn’t find a job teaching!  I sent out so many applications I lost count, had several interviews, and finally landed a job offer only to have the NYC Dept of Ed pull the finding for my department (art.)  It was a huge letdown and I have pretty much given up hope to teach again.  It is very sad, I have a Master’s in Teaching for crying out loud.

    My biggest problem with NCLB (and/or this so called Education Reform) is that it places the weight entirely on the teacher’s shoulders.  There is no emphasis on the student’s actual learning and understanding.  Where are the parents?  Where is the support system?  It can’t all rest on the teachers. It is completely backwards from what we all know works with students! 

  • Hsirrapyesdnil

    Ok, I don’t like Teach For America, mostly because they don’t stick around. It pays some loans off and they end up not committing, but they aren’t thrown into a room either. I didn’t TFA, I had a MA in my field and completed a MA level certification on top, but I was in the same classes and teaching at the same time as these slightly younger kids. They were as well prepared as the first year bachelors teachers, but were already seeking more tools to approach the problem with. I have a much larger problem with entrenched peers who use 20 year old research tactics to approach modern students. Most of the research being applied today was actually current when I was in high school. Teaching is a trade you can learn in college, but are never fully prepared for. It is an evolving tool box. If you can’t be flexible you can’t teach. The system is designed to enforce rigidity, and ultimately counterproductive.

  • Hsirrapyesdnil

    Ok, I don’t like Teach For America, mostly because they don’t stick around. It pays some loans off and they end up not committing, but they aren’t thrown into a room either. I didn’t TFA, I had a MA in my field and completed a MA level certification on top, but I was in the same classes and teaching at the same time as these slightly younger kids. They were as well prepared as the first year bachelors teachers, but were already seeking more tools to approach the problem with. I have a much larger problem with entrenched peers who use 20 year old research tactics to approach modern students. Most of the research being applied today was actually current when I was in high school. Teaching is a trade you can learn in college, but are never fully prepared for. It is an evolving tool box. If you can’t be flexible you can’t teach. The system is designed to enforce rigidity, and ultimately counterproductive.

  • RANDY

    Please explain what autonomy means to you? Are you saying every classroom teacher should decide what to teach? No standards or common agreed upon curriculum? 

  • RANDY

    Please explain what autonomy means to you? Are you saying every classroom teacher should decide what to teach? No standards or common agreed upon curriculum? 

  • Randy

    Is holding professionals accountable disrespectful? There is a difference between allowing teachers to be completely autonomous versus empowering them.  The quality of a child’s education should not be determined by their zip code. 

  • Randy

    Exactly why K-12 schools need to help students develop the attributes of being a self-directed learner.  College teachers can help too and not say, “its not my job.”  If kids are not pro-active learners in your class, did you attempt to help them learn skills to become self-directed? Students will be accountable to what they perceive as important.  If the content that is being presented to them lacks connection to their lives, they will disengage from it.  

  • Cotterb2

    1) Parental involvement is important…many kids come home to an empty house because both parents work. You can blame poverty but successful kids come out of awful situations when parents are involved and expectations are set. I don’t always understand my children’s homework expectations and I have a bachelors degree. God help the kids who don’t get any help or guidance.

    2) Student/Parent accountability is missing. School administrations placate the parents = lack of respect for system = lack of success with an excuse built right in.

    3) No Child Left Behind = a whole disastrous conversation in itself.

    3) Quit blaming teachers, teacher education, standardized tests and spread it around where it belongs.

  • Cotterb2

    1) Parental involvement is important…many kids come home to an empty house because both parents work. You can blame poverty but successful kids come out of awful situations when parents are involved and expectations are set. I don’t always understand my children’s homework expectations and I have a bachelors degree. God help the kids who don’t get any help or guidance.

    2) Student/Parent accountability is missing. School administrations placate the parents = lack of respect for system = lack of success with an excuse built right in.

    3) No Child Left Behind = a whole disastrous conversation in itself.

    3) Quit blaming teachers, teacher education, standardized tests and spread it around where it belongs.

  • http://survivalreadiness.com/ Survival

    good read

  • 17 yr veteran tchr

    I’m a highly motivated and adeqately trained teacher.  I want students that are highly motivated and ready to learn.  Apathy from parents and students’ is the biggest problem.  That and teacher safety.  Big, apathetic students that are hostile to learning DO take pleasure in intimidating us.  I’d like cameras in ever classroom so that we teachers could show video of the uncooperative and ill mannered students  we are forced to deal with.

  • Mike, central NY

    What I keep seeing is “I have a Bachelor’s in Education” with a minor in the specific field.  I’m not diminishing the importance of education in “Education” but it seems backwards to me.  If someone is teaching Math, or Science, or History, I want them to have the Bachelor’s in *that*.  “Education” should either be a dual major, or a “heavy” minor.  And in those states (such as New York), where the price of admission is a Master’s in Education, I’d argue even harder for that approach.  Just my two cents.

  • Drichar3

    All these defensive comments by Americans trying to refute this article are kind of just proving the point of the article. Mouths shut; ears open. 

  • Joe Scott

    The undead Hippie-Zombie generation is running the country now, and everywhere you look this culture is STILL being attacked and undermined by the same old spolied communist/socialist/pot-head street-fighters from the ’60s and ’70s, or their spawn.  There’s no describing how much trouble America is in !

  • Dr. Isocrates

    OK — but knowledge in a given field does not necessarily imply knowledge of pedagogy. What’s the point of having a brilliant historian if they can’t communicate effectively? 

  • Dr. Isocrates

    OK — but knowledge in a given field does not necessarily imply knowledge of pedagogy. What’s the point of having a brilliant historian if they can’t communicate effectively? 

  • KVANDER15

    It would be very interesting to compare the scope and sequences of curriculum in high achieving countries next to the USA. I think we’d find that in the US, we throw a lot of curriculum at the kids, never giving them time to learn and apply it before moving on to the next chapter. Just take a look at our math books and a British math book. We cover a dizzying amount of material, without many kids truly ***learning*** it. They become discouraged, fall behind…drop out (mentally, if not physically).
    PS – Anyone who says teachers don’t teach to The Test are delusional. So much has been lost in the name of accountability – kids are NOT WIDGETS!

  • KVANDER15

    It would be very interesting to compare the scope and sequences of curriculum in high achieving countries next to the USA. I think we’d find that in the US, we throw a lot of curriculum at the kids, never giving them time to learn and apply it before moving on to the next chapter. Just take a look at our math books and a British math book. We cover a dizzying amount of material, without many kids truly ***learning*** it. They become discouraged, fall behind…drop out (mentally, if not physically).
    PS – Anyone who says teachers don’t teach to The Test are delusional. So much has been lost in the name of accountability – kids are NOT WIDGETS!

  • science teacher

    Just because you are an “expert” does NOT mean you can teach!

  • science teacher

    Do not choose to be a parent unless you are going to do what is best for your child, ALWAYS. One definition of being a responsible parent is to help your child learn!

  • science teacher

    Ha! Tell that to their parents!  Teachers today are so much more enthusiastic than the teachers of yesteryears!  Sad but we can’t go home with them too…..

  • science teacher

    I agree, education should be connected; however, when is the last time a student went to college and the classes “connected” to their lives? Educations always being fun and connecting is a lil unrealistic isn’t it?

  • Pkeoughan

    I taught in New York and Massachusetts public schools, grades 4-8, for 40 years before retiring 2 years ago.  Several years ago we, as a school and district on Cape Cod, researched teaching methods that worked in countries and began to emulate them as we adapted them to our school. I spent many hours reading, attending classes and workshops and making and purchasing materials in order to implement these changes in my school’s and my own teaching.  I was excited about the changes and saw improvement in my students’ learning.  Then NCLB came along and all of that was abandoned because it wasn’t as effective in raising scores on standardized tests as basal readers, lock step lessons across the school and blitz data collecting questioning by our administrators. Insanity took over and educators were abandoned for the “wisdom” of politicians.  I just want Alexander Nikolchev to know there are American public school educators who agree he’s right on about this.

  • Gallayj

    I’m a school teacher and I had a mentor for a year before I was able to teach in the classroom. I did get my MAT. I also have to continue taking classes in order to keep my license. I’m curious how the data was collected. Some states require more than others. Most MAT courses require mentoring. Is this data for undergraduate only?

  • PearlTom

    Please give specific examples of how President Obama, Arne Duncan, and Bill Gates are attacking teachers.

  • Dano5119

    Good luck finding more than a handful of motivated students in any given class room.We are all aware of your particular issue with “thug” students. We simply fail to acknowledge the problem. I do not know that we need cameras in the class room considering most of your students carry one every day. I believe that we need to give the power to discipline back to the teacher, demand respect from the parents, or let their parents deal with financing private/remedial education. 

  • Dano5119

    Good luck finding more than a handful of motivated students in any given class room.We are all aware of your particular issue with “thug” students. We simply fail to acknowledge the problem. I do not know that we need cameras in the class room considering most of your students carry one every day. I believe that we need to give the power to discipline back to the teacher, demand respect from the parents, or let their parents deal with financing private/remedial education. 

  • Beaversden5

    From a veteran teacher in Texas– You are 100% right!!!!!!

  • Planetsnyder

    Colorado requires education students to major in a specific subject (math, biology, english, etc…) and then minor in education. Every state should have this requirement, at the very least!

  • AGC

    You know…. I would love that too. As a parent, I would love to know what I’m doing wrong. We make sure our daughter does her homework and “extra” assignments and even add in some activities of our own; but she seems to take much longer than is expected to master skillsets despite assurances on how bright she is.

    It’s really easy for teachers to blame the parents, but we’re not the ones who are supposed to be experts in teaching children how to learn. I can teach her manners, compassion, responsibility… And I would love to teach her the ABCs…but I don’t have that skillet. That’s why entrust that to professionals.

  • AGC

    oops meant to respond to a different post… sorry….

  • Anonymous

    There is so far as I perceive it here an oft repeated disconnect.
    Many seem to assume that a teacher with a Bsc is automatically not as good as one with an Msc. That/ thinking concept is fatally flawed not only in teaching but in commerce and everywhere re Job performance likelihood. 
    If you try to have Bsc’s teaching college students Master or Phd courses you might have an issue on technical grounds.
    The real issue is being able to motivate students and has nothing to do per se with ” Technical qualification levels”. 
    QED mentoring is essential but do not assume all teachers can do it. They have to be experts in motivational skills, psychology of class dissidents and how to deal with them and the Key area of “Kiss technique” (keep it simple stupid) to help the least skilled in the class understand is very important. keep them involved/learning and lots of problems are reduced. 
    Calling  parenting issues like homework being incomplete/ not done/ tired students in class/ etc are part of the “good” as opposed “poor” teacher in the sense the good ones bring up these issues and with which they have them dealt. Either by other school staff or taking time out yourself to talk with parents even if they don’t come to parent evenings or PTA meetings.
    I’m not a lawyer but my professional qualifications required me to pass a basic contract law paper (after college Bsc) I did not understand Latin but there are in professional law many latin terms. the first Prof teaching us literally said look it up yourself. He became ill . the replacement prof said:
     ”Volenti non fit injuria” roughly means as doctrine of Law
    ” if you ask for it don’t be surprised if it happens” = you lose.
    He then quoted a liability claim case in which a guy is walking a long a dock underneath warehouses with cranes operating and one which dropped a bale of cotton on his head, he claimed damages and lost because he asked for it and ignored his personal duty of care. 
    The more correct literal translation  or first prof version ( look it up yourself if you dont understand) was:-
    “If you voluntarily put yourself is a position to get injured”  you have no claim.
    no further explanation.
    Now which one do you remember best, and for practical use.
    My point you don’t teach professors how to do that its what good teachers and profs do without thinking almost.
    Regards,
    Hodg40

      

  • mc

    Teaching is something which does not come automatically to a person. Teaching is much more than acquisition of knowledge. A teacher is a person.
    He or she teaches not only the subject but also the way of becoming a successful person so that when the students grow up, they learn all the tricks of the trade that are necessary to become independent and self-sufficient in real life. Unfortunately not all the students turn out successful as expected.
    Some score really high grades, some others get a simple C and a D. Certain other students do not make it all the way to complete course curriculum.
    It is hard to pinpoint where the real problem is unless the parents and teachers get to meet often to resolve any issues right from where it starts.

  • Mentor

    I don’t know about other states but Connecticut has an excellent mentoring program for it’s beginning teachers – CTTEAM.  The program is divided into five different modules that, I believe helps improve the beginning teachers comfort level in the classroom while actually guiding the beginning teacher into better meeting the needs of their students.  The first module is classroom environment, the second module focuses on planning, and so on.  Mentors were well trained before the program began and receive regular updated professional development on being the best mentor they can be.

  • Cj4ucla

    I hope you really aren’t a science teacher.  Every course in college is connected, that’s why you were required to take them all.  Everyone is required to take math because math teaches you how to reason in order to get to the right answer.  In many other subjects, the right answer is not obvious or agreed upon but if you learned to reason correctly, you have gotten to the “right” answer.  Your lower division breadth requirements were not chosen haphazardly.  As a science teacher you will need to teach the subject you are passionate about to students who do not yet share your passion.  Speaking to them using examples that they enjoy (such as presenting the beautiful art behind cell structure or how photography was used to uncover the structure of DNA) ties all subjects together.  

    And education is always fun when you understand that it is for your betterment as a professional and productive member of society.  The rewards from learning, especially when students have the opportunity to see that these topics discussed in everyday media, are then doubled when they hear the material again.  

    Teachers are using outdated media like textbooks and whiteboards to speak to students who spend their days on Facebook and Twitter.  Have your students create apps to teach the next year’s students the same materials.  

    If you really are a science teacher, it is your job to make your subject fun and connected.  Otherwise, find a new job.  

  • Cj4ucla

    I hope you really aren’t a science teacher.  Every course in college is connected, that’s why you were required to take them all.  Everyone is required to take math because math teaches you how to reason in order to get to the right answer.  In many other subjects, the right answer is not obvious or agreed upon but if you learned to reason correctly, you have gotten to the “right” answer.  Your lower division breadth requirements were not chosen haphazardly.  As a science teacher you will need to teach the subject you are passionate about to students who do not yet share your passion.  Speaking to them using examples that they enjoy (such as presenting the beautiful art behind cell structure or how photography was used to uncover the structure of DNA) ties all subjects together.  

    And education is always fun when you understand that it is for your betterment as a professional and productive member of society.  The rewards from learning, especially when students have the opportunity to see that these topics discussed in everyday media, are then doubled when they hear the material again.  

    Teachers are using outdated media like textbooks and whiteboards to speak to students who spend their days on Facebook and Twitter.  Have your students create apps to teach the next year’s students the same materials.  

    If you really are a science teacher, it is your job to make your subject fun and connected.  Otherwise, find a new job.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001158985536 Gail Dennis

    In the interest of full disclosure, let me begin by saying that I am a university student. When I graduate from Texas A&M Central Texas I will be a fully credentialed and certified teacher holding a BAAS with Teaching Certification 6-12 Business Education. I started elementary school under the British school system model.

    My interest in education means I read as much as I can about the subject and what I am getting from the discussion is a call for an education revolution but no one is willing to fire the first shot, so instead we take pot shots at Teach for America and other alternative certification programs or rather the products of those programs. It is not the fault of the product if the process is faulty. 

    The flaw lies in the fact that pedagogy is not a stand alone subject, it has to be infused into every aspect of the teacher education curriculum, it is the foundation upon which a good K-12 teacher education program is built. Many alternative certification programs lack emphasis on the art and science of pedagogy. Thus, many teachers leaving alternative certification programs are woefully unprepared to be effective classroom managers, are often overwhelmed, and the students in those classroom suffer. 

    Yes, we need an education revolution in The United States of America, but who will fire the first shot? Or are we content to complain instead of taking positive action?

    One thing I take serious exception to is the constant comparison of the US education system with other countries. In the US every child is entitled to a free and appropriate public education which means anywhere from 12-14 years of public education regardless of means, cognitive abilities, physical abilities, or the students’ ability to speak English-the primary language in which all official documents are published. Can all these countries say that?

    Let’s talk test, the countries mentioned in the article – Finland, China, Japan, Singapore, and China all have standardized tests that students have to pass; you don’t pass, you don’t go. In the US we attempt to educate every student through high school, in many of these “successful countries” only the brightest make it to the secondary level the rest are channeled elsewhere such as learning a trade. 

    I understand we are comparing apples to apples, but lets not compare Red Delicious with Granny Smiths people. Granted they are both apples, but they are not the same type of apples. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001158985536 Gail Dennis

    In the interest of full disclosure, let me begin by saying that I am a university student. When I graduate from Texas A&M Central Texas I will be a fully credentialed and certified teacher holding a BAAS with Teaching Certification 6-12 Business Education. I started elementary school under the British school system model.

    My interest in education means I read as much as I can about the subject and what I am getting from the discussion is a call for an education revolution but no one is willing to fire the first shot, so instead we take pot shots at Teach for America and other alternative certification programs or rather the products of those programs. It is not the fault of the product if the process is faulty. 

    The flaw lies in the fact that pedagogy is not a stand alone subject, it has to be infused into every aspect of the teacher education curriculum, it is the foundation upon which a good K-12 teacher education program is built. Many alternative certification programs lack emphasis on the art and science of pedagogy. Thus, many teachers leaving alternative certification programs are woefully unprepared to be effective classroom managers, are often overwhelmed, and the students in those classroom suffer. 

    Yes, we need an education revolution in The United States of America, but who will fire the first shot? Or are we content to complain instead of taking positive action?

    One thing I take serious exception to is the constant comparison of the US education system with other countries. In the US every child is entitled to a free and appropriate public education which means anywhere from 12-14 years of public education regardless of means, cognitive abilities, physical abilities, or the students’ ability to speak English-the primary language in which all official documents are published. Can all these countries say that?

    Let’s talk test, the countries mentioned in the article – Finland, China, Japan, Singapore, and China all have standardized tests that students have to pass; you don’t pass, you don’t go. In the US we attempt to educate every student through high school, in many of these “successful countries” only the brightest make it to the secondary level the rest are channeled elsewhere such as learning a trade. 

    I understand we are comparing apples to apples, but lets not compare Red Delicious with Granny Smiths people. Granted they are both apples, but they are not the same type of apples. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001158985536 Gail Dennis

    I agree that there are many defensive commentary. This defensiveness indicates an entrenched attitude and when one is entrenched, change is difficult.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001158985536 Gail Dennis

    I agree that there are many defensive commentary. This defensiveness indicates an entrenched attitude and when one is entrenched, change is difficult.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001158985536 Gail Dennis

    That is the goal, but in the ensuing melee is is easier to blame and hamstring teachers. The way I see it, teachers leave seminars, workshops, conferences and new teachers leave college with tool chests full of ideas and strategies based on decades of research. They are enthusiastic and rearing to go. They get into the classroom and run into a brick wall. That brick wall is the industrial revolutionary mindset which is the foundation upon which the USA’s public education is built. Thus, we are trying to educate and prepare students in the present and for the future using antiquated 19th Century approach, it is more than a disconnect it is a great divide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mfudemberg Mark Fudemberg

    Wow, dude. I’m an anarchist high school English teacher. Man, smoke a blunt and relax and leave me to destroy all sacred to America. Gotta go and covert a few teenagers to my socialist agenda. Peace, man.