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Teacher Education Programs: Cons

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Kyle Garbely

on 26 September 2013

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Transcript of Teacher Education Programs: Cons

We do not need to spend extra taxpayer money or collect copious amounts of data from every school in the nation in order to reform the teacher education programs in American colleges.
What we do need, however, are three simple things:
The Solution:
We need for colleges to take a more vested interest in the individual students enrolled in their teacher ed. programs. This would be accomplished in the form of guiding each student through the programs and being genuinely interested in each student's progress and grades, etc. While many will complain that this would be incredibly difficult or a logistical nightmare, it is possible. Since the primary job of a teacher prep. program is to PREPARE its students to become teachers, making sure that its students are prepared every single step of the way and providing guidance when needed should be its primary concern, no matter the cost to the school. After all, what could be more important than giving students the education for which they pay?
We need for colleges to drastically raise the standards for acceptance (and retention) in their respective teacher ed. programs. (i.e., Ramapo's teacher ed. program requires a minimum overall GPA of a 2.75, which translates to an 82.5%, which should be far too low of a grade with which a future educator could graduate).
Lastly, and most importantly, however...
Each student should hold him-/herself to the very possible highest standard if he/she wants to become a teacher. Even with the drastically raised standards, a student needs to be willing to put whatever amount of work into his/her education that it takes to do his/her very best, even at the expense of the social aspects of college life (we are here for an education, folks). Rewards come to those who work for them hardest and most persistently...

In other words, no prospective teacher should ever reach the "I guess I've done 'enough' work on this" point until he/she has actually put forth his/her best effort.
A Closer Look at
Teacher Education Programs
in America

In 2009, President Obama said this...
Let's Take...
It's really not a question in anyone's mind (anyone reasonable, that is) that our teachers need to be held to highest standard and be picked only from the top of their respective fields.
Things look great
on the surface...
(The word "gilded" comes to mind)
Our Secretary of Education,
Arne Duncan!
"Too many [teacher prep. programs] are not attracting top students, and too many states are not setting a high bar for entry into the profession... And too few teacher preparation programs offer the type of rigorous, clinical experience that prepares future teachers for the realities of today's diverse classrooms."
Wait... WHAT?!
What Arne is saying is that our standards for who is allowed to teach in a classroom are far too lax. Therefore, there are exceedingly high graduation rates from teacher prep. programs in colleges all across the country.
Data! Wooo!!!
Let's make it easy to read the data...
This is what is
wrong with that:
While it would seem to be ideal that almost every student who enters a teacher prep. program in America comes out the other end with a certification to teach, this is a sign that the programs are too easy and need to be transformed into more rigorous programs.
K y l e G a r b e l y
Cynical, Enlightening, and (Hopefully) Entertaining
...and their failure to

educate our educators...
(I warned you this was cynical :D)
A Closer Look!
At our standards for educators, that is.
Seems obvious, hm?
"From the moment students enter a school, the most important factor in their success is not the color of their skin or the income of their parents, it's the person standing in front of the classroom... America's future depends on its teachers."
Right, folks??
Allow me to explain...
Gilded [gil-did] - adjective
1. Having a pleasing or showy appearance that conceals something of little worth
Although we Americans pride ourselves on being one of the most highly educated peoples in the world, we are slowly, but surely, falling behind other nations' standards.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
That's a LOT of colleges, so in the interest of expedience, we will just look at the passing rates of the teacher prep. programs in New Jersey's major colleges/universities over the last few academic years.
New Jersey's statewide average (between the three academic years covered in this table) was a 98.33% passing rate.
But Kyle! What's wrong with that..? That sounds like a good thing!
If having a GPA that is slightly above "average" qualifies someone to be put in charge of the education of our students, then the intellectual future of our country is very quickly going to be, and indeed, is already being, jeopardized.
Oh yeah, one more thing...
The country's population, and therefore its collective student body, is becoming more culturally and racially diverse than ever before. However, the majority (around 85% as of 2010) of teachers in the United States are white, while about 35% of our students are black or hispanic. This gap should be closed, but more importantly, the focus should be on raising the standards of educators (diverse or not), and not on diversity for diversity's sake.
...they are the MOST intellectually qualified and properly prepared candidate!
Go figure...!
Assuming that the teacher preparation programs in colleges and universities throughout America are not holding their students to high enough standards:
(And for the purposes of the
following question, we are assuming that)
How can we ensure that our teachers are actually qualified and prepared to teach effectively?
Allow me to scare you now...
(Hopefully this scares you)
Only 23% of all teachers, and only 14% of teachers in high-poverty schools, come from the top third of college graduates!
The Obama administration thinks that they have a solution...
Obama's Three-Part Plan
(That, like other government programs, will not work...)
An Overview:
1. Develop regulations to focus data collection conducted under the Higher Education Act on the most important indicators of quality.
2. Support rigorous state-level policy reforms; direct scholarship aid to top performing teacher preparation programs.
3. Seek funding in order to support institutions that prepare high-quality teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Let's discuss this issues with this "wonderful" plan piece-by-piece.
Institutional Reporting
and State Accountability:
It is not the duty, or even the right, of the federal government to hold states responsible for any kind of educational standard. Essentially, the federal government is using the funding that it gives to thousands of colleges nationwide as leverage to force the colleges to comprehensively report to the government on their teacher prep. programs.
The government uses this data in order to...
Reform Financing of Students Preparing to become Teachers:
Essentially, this means that the federal government is going to, without technically overstepping its lack of authority in regards to education, force the states to conform to its educational agenda by having federal funding be used for only certain programs, etc.
While certain aspects of this, such as certification for teaching being based on more practical experience (i.e. in-class teaching, rather than low-level, written exams), are on-mark, forcing states, and by extension, colleges, to do this is certainly not the solution to the problem.
Part Three:
Target support to institutions that prepare high-quality teachers from diverse backgrounds:
The government is going to ensure that a larger percentage of the federal funding to states goes towards colleges with teacher prep. programs that foster diversity in their student bodies than those that do not promote that diversity.
Government is NOT

the solution.

With that in mind, how do we go about reforming the teacher education programs in America?
* Before I answer that question, I would like to warn everyone that the solution that I am about to suggest might seem insensitive, extreme and very Darwinian in nature, but I ask you to hear me out and look at things objectively.
In Final Analysis,
It should be the responsibility of the colleges to have teacher education programs that are as intensely rigorous as possible, the responsibility of the students in the programs to strive to do their best (in every way), and the responsibility of those in charge of the programs to ensure that each student is on-track with the requirements.
(See how the federal government did not fit into the equation?)
There is no substitute for self-motivation, and self-motivation, in conjunction with higher standards, is the key to reforming teacher education programs in America.
Part One:
Part Two:
Now we have discussed that the standards for acceptance into teacher prep. programs are just not high enough.
If 3 out of 4 teachers graduate in the bottom 66% of college graduates, then how are an average of 98 out of every 100 students in teacher ed. programs in New Jersey able to graduate with their certifications?
The Standards for Teachers
Before I start telling you what is WRONG with the standards for teachers in teacher ed. programs, it would make sense for me to tell you what they ARE.
The first thing to note about teacher ed. programs and their standards is that the standards are not, ironically, standardized! Therefore, each state has its own set of criteria that a prospective teacher in a teacher ed. program has to meet in order to graduate and become certified!
As an example, why don't we look at New Jersey's standards?
New Jersey Standards 1-5:
Subject Matter Knowledge
: Teachers shall understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, structures of the discipline, especially as they relate to the New Jersey Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS), and design developmentally appropriate learning experiences making the subject matter accessible and meaningful to all students.
Human Growth and Development
: Teachers shall understand how children and adolescents develop and learn in a variety of school, family and community contexts and provide opportunities that support their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development.
Diverse Learners
: Teachers shall understand the practice of culturally responsive teaching.
Instructional Planning and Strategies
: Teachers shall understand instructional planning, design long- and short-term plans based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, community, and curriculum goals, and shall employ a variety of developmentally appropriate strategies in order to promote critical thinking, problem solving and the performance skills of all learners.
: Teachers shall understand and use multiple assessment strategies and interpret results to evaluate and promote student learning and to modify instruction in order to foster the continuous development of students.
New Jersey Standards 6-10:
Learning Environment
: Teachers shall understand individual and group motivation and behavior and shall create a supportive, safe and respectful learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation.
Special Needs
: Teachers shall adapt and modify instruction to accommodate the special learning needs of all students.
: Teachers shall use knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal and written communication techniques and the tools of information literacy to foster the use of inquiry, collaboration and supportive interactions.
Collaboration and Partnerships
: Teachers shall build relationships with parents, guardians, families and agencies in the larger community to support students' learning and well-being.
Professional Development
: Teachers shall participate as active, responsible members of the professional community, engaging in a wide range of reflective practices, pursuing opportunities to grow professionally and establishing collegial relationships to enhance the teaching and learning process.
In fact, America is only ranked 17th on the list of top 40 nations in education in the entire world.
We used to be the country to which the rest of the world looked as an example for education, but something has gone horribly wrong for us to fall so far in our standing.
Other Ideas to Enhance the "Garbely Plan":
If this plan were to be implemented, an issue that may arise is that, due to the drastically raised standards, there may be a shortage of teachers. To counteract this, the wages of teachers would be increased, which would attract candidates from the tops of their respective fields. After all, why would someone take a massive cut in his or her pay by giving up a job as, say, a chemist in order to become a teacher?
But, Kyle, you said that there would be no extra taxes under your plan! Where is the money going to come from to pay these teachers all the extra salary?
Money would have to be taken from other areas that our tax money funds already, such as liberal welfare programs, paying to keep prisoners in prison, or Obamacare, and given to the higher-quality teachers. Ensuring the education of our future citizens is FAR more important than sustaining those who are not contributing (through paying taxes) to the well-being of the nation or sustaining those who have actively broken the laws of the nation, and are acting as a drain on the rest of the nation.
It may be extreme, but hopefully, once the new educational system is put in order, the number of people on welfare or in prison will go down drastically, as these people will theoretically be able to find stable careers.
This is where the cynicism really comes in...
Warning: This presentation was made by a Republican. :)
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