People making this observation, called “critics,” oftentimes cite as evidence student achievement on standardized tests as well as the apparent ease with which teacher education majors graduate.
If one was to believe the critics’ critics, however, they just don’t know what they’re talking about. The problem isn’t the quality of teacher education programs, curricula, professors, or undergraduates. "We're working on that," they say. No, it’s the nature of the public school system. Federal and state regulations make it impossible even for the best teachers to teach. On top of that, school boards and administrators thwart teachers’ best efforts. And, that’s to say nothing about absentee or overinvolved parents and their miscreant children who create bad schools.
While some or all of that may be true, taken to their logical conclusion, the critics’ critics’ schools would be empty, except for all of those allegedly highly-trained and highly-qualified teachers.
Unfortunately, the National Council on Teacher Quality has found that the critics are correct. In "Easy A’s and What’s Behind Them," data gathered from more than 500 teacher education programs indicates that teacher education students are graduating with honors almost 50% more often than all undergraduate students.
Whoa! Knowing already that teacher education majors have one of the lowest overall gpa’s when they were first admitted to college, we now know that teacher education students are not being held to equally high standards as students in other majors. Worse yet, their coursework is not being graded and evaluated with equal rigor.
Examining the gpa’s of the graduates of those teacher education programs, one would be led to concluded falsely that, as a group, they’re a bunch of Einsteins.
But, they’re not. And not only that, they’re not prepared to succeed in the nation’s public school classrooms, despite what all of those academic honors and high gpa’s indicate.
As bad as that is, consider what that ultimately means for the students in the classrooms of those teachers.
The Motley Monk can hear the stormy petrels already: “Take a deep breath. Relax. This too will pass, as it always has.”
Yesiree, it won’t be long before the public school teachers’ union bosses and their minions populating many of those undergraduate teacher education programs—those so-called “professors of education”—along with their state department of education cronies will be discrediting the NCTQ study:
- It overlooks all of those bright, highly-qualified, and wonderful teacher education graduates who are distinguishing themselves in the nation’s public schools. Focus upon them not the failures.
- The report is yet another study that’s riddled with methodological and analytical problems. The findings are meaningless.
- It’s a hit job on the part of radical conservatives who want to dismantle and then destroy the nation’s public school system. Vouchers. Charter schools. And now they’re taking aim once again at undergraduate teacher education.
Fine. Keep touting the same, tired, and worn-out mantras in the mainstream media. Eventually, people will figure out:
- there’s no conservative war on women;
- conservatives aren’t any more or less inclusive than liberals;
- wealthy liberals protect their wealth just as much as wealthy conservatives do, even though the former are more stingy when it comes to charitable contributions than the latter are; and,
- conservatives—just as much as liberals—want to protect the biosphere.
When it comes to teacher education, the NCTQ study identifies a simple fact: Many undergraduate teacher education programs should be awarded a grade of “D” if not “F.” But, since they oftentimes grade their own when it comes time for those re-accrediting those programs, the lowest grade they receive is a “B,” with most receiving an “A.”
For what? Sending graduates with high gpa’s who are incapable of educating children into the nation’s public schools?
It’s time to jettison those costly programs of crony socialism and turn teacher education into a for-profit business. Evidence indicates that students in the nation’s public schools deserve better than what they’re getting.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the NCTQ study, click on the following link: