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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wall Street Journal Opinion piece with some great ideas

Why Teachers Colleges Get a Flunking Grade-

By Barbara Nemko And Harold Kwalwasser

Let's give up on education majors.  Too much theory, not enough practical learning about teaching.

Education gurus in recent years have taken to lamenting the sorry state of teacher training in the United States. Arthur Levine, the former president of the Teachers College at Columbia University, wrote a scathing report in 2006 on its deficiencies. Harvard Graduate School of Education Prof. Katherine Merseth made an even glummer assessment in 2009. Four months ago, the National Council on Teacher Quality released a report asserting that approximately 1,100 of the nation’s 1,400 teacher-preparation programs are inadequate. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has dismissed the programs as the “Bermuda Triangle” of higher education.


How can new teachers be expected to educate children without first having been trained well? The problem, put simply, is that entrance requirements to most colleges of education are too lax, and the requirements for graduation are too low.
Most colleges and universities have no incentive to change: The education schools are cash cows, milked for the benefit of the rest of the institution and rarely held accountable for being subpar. Education curricula are almost uniformly out of date and far too theoretical, with minimal classroom-teaching requirements. Too often, these future educators learn to “teach” math, but they don’t necessarily learn how to do the math itself.
The problem dates to the 19th or early 20th century, when these schools first opened. Teachers at that time, most of them women or minorities, weren’t expected to have great skills. Education professors assumed their students could only teach if given a script to read every day. But after the civil-rights and feminist movements, these once underestimated individuals had other opportunities, leaving the weak curriculum consistent with the collective quality of students. By 2010, the mean critical-reading SAT score of entering college freshmen was 501, but for education majors it was 481. The math score was 516 compared with 486, and in writing, 492 versus 477.
Teachers, however, have always bridled at low expectations, wanting to be thought of as professionals. The American Federation of Teachers even calls itself “the union of professionals.” So colleges of education treat training as “professional” rather than “vocational.” Essential and practical teaching skills, like classroom management, took a back seat to endless discussions of theories about how we learn—which won’t seem very relevant to a struggling first-year teacher.
These problems existed well before the drive for individual instruction and the introduction of learning through the Internet. Today school districts are learning to navigate instructing students in compliance with Common Core standards. Districts are trying combinations of old-style lecturing, project-based learning, embedded technology and co-teaching. With such different techniques in each school district, new teachers must either relearn or unlearn what they supposedly paid to learn in college.
Instead of trying to improve undergraduate teacher training—as experts have proposed for decades—we have another idea: Get rid of it. Or at least end teacher education as we know it.
Two simple but radical changes could transform teaching in America. First, require aspiring teachers to major in something other than education. Students who want to be math teachers must major in math, for example, and fulfill the same graduation requirements as the school’s other math majors. Same for English and science. That alone would improve the quality of teachers enormously.
Next, take state funding for colleges of education and give it to school districts instead. The districts would take on the obligation of teacher training, either doing it themselves or contracting with an outside organization or university. Many districts already train this way with what’s called “alternative certification,” and research suggests that these programs can be more effective than traditional, college-based programs.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission found in a 2012 study that several alternative-certification programs were among the state’s most effective teacher-training programs. Their success affirms that the technical teaching skills learned while in the classroom are generally far more important than all the theory learned in college.
Many good school districts have robust professional development programs for their already-hired teachers. Requiring them to supervise or provide training for new teachers is simply an add-on to a program, not a new invention. In general, empowering school districts to provide teacher training will make them much more demanding than colleges of education—because districts have to live with the results.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, great idea. The board should present to the public a summary of our teachers credentials. Do our teachers in the English Dept have English Degrees, Math- degrees in Math, Science- Biology, Chem, etc. Social Studies- History, Art- Art, Photography, Business- Marketing, Accounting, Health- Health and Sciences. Or are our teachers "education majors". And, the district should train the teachers, not Buffalo State College.

San Jose, CA said...

My favorite teacher of all times was Mr. Herb Taylor- a Colgate Graduate. He made all of us stand up and recite the Bard. I was terrified, and T knew it. He approached us with a kind balance of stern but caring. He taught me to stand up. This is something I learned in Hamburg. I did not like Mr. Taylor, and now I know he was the very best teacher ever had. I can still see him standing up there, banging on the desk and all the while he was emulating what it means to love you subject, really love what you do. Mr. Taylor, I have no idea where you are, but I say THANK YOU. I say Thank you because, I have children now, and I try really hard to teach my kids to love learning, because I did not until I was 17 years old. Thanks T- I owe you more than you ever got paid in Hamburg.

Anonymous said...

Changes need to be made, this is for sure. Kids going off to college and approx 60% must take non credit courses in English and Math. The students are not adequately prepared for college. A local school district in a suburban school in the northtowns 98% after graduation went off to college. One year later only 30% remained in college. A 67% loss. This is the tracking of our graduates that needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

San Jose Ca.

nice to see man that you still watch and care about this place.

Not until Taylor did I start to get it. He did what all the others couldn't. He made us work and learn. He made us write, read and do it well. He made us college ready .During the time at good ol Hamburg USA I didn't totally appreciate him.

class 2000 said...

Kudos to Mr Herb Taylor where ever you may be. You were my Beacon.

Class of 2000 and still here

Anonymous said...

Lets start with a longer elementary school day. We are the shortest elementary school days in the United States.

Herb Taylor the best said...

Herb Taylor by far the best to grace our schools. Everyone left with more.

Anonymous said...

What about bringing back some of the 6 science teachers who were laid off, the only department not to hire back. Science and technology one of the biggest fields in western new york and we lay off teachers and cut courses, Shame on the district, my daughters classes are way too overcrowded. I believe they all had science degrees and then went back or educational degrees.

Anonymous said...

Yes a longer elementary school day. I don't care how our leaders do it but make it happen next year please. Our kids as we are told have the shortest school day in the country. We need what the rest of the nation a longer school day.

Anonymous said...

Yes science & tech are lacking here. We are in a resurgence in our region in these fields and our kids need to be college and career ready. . We have taken a hit in these areas under the last administration of Calkins and Achramovitch.

bvs said...

Embarrassing,

Tom Flynn & Laura Heeter arguing against hiring a local person who has done many successful Super. searches. Why would they want to delay? The district has been led by a group of outside detractors and lets not forget
we are here for education.


We have issues in BVS and this administration is turning there back on some serious false claims.
Wait until something happens and some innocent people get hurt. Administration is aware and letting us down and our school board is in lock down.

Science failure said...

Science dept. at the hs has been decimated and our kids are the losers. Over crowded and unsafe.

We need to bring back science teachers.

Concerned Parents

Anonymous said...

Lets move forward, the constant disruptions at the school meetings is indicative of poor leadership. Move on and get a strong and compassionate super who will make us stand proud.

Anonymous said...

According to the districts code of ethics " a school board member operating under the highest ethicals standards, should represent the community without fear or favor" How did Patty Brunner Collens Joan Calkins, Diane Reynolds,Matt Dils, vote to hopefully benefit financially commencing a civil action with tax dollars to benefit themselves. This is a gift or not so politely theft of tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849. American poet, critic, and short story writer. (THE RAVEN, TELL-TALE HEART), tales of horror and ratiocination. In a class of approved curriclum, a clip of a commerical advertishing pistachio nuts was added to the class that Mr. Dunford was referencing . That commercial with Vivian Leigh (Psycho) was simply a head shot through a transparent curtain. No blood, no stabbing a look of surprise & shock on Ms. Leigh's face was shown to millions of American's during the Holloween season. A knife came down and spit open the pistachio shell.

Our teacher, as well as our teaching profession was thrown under the bus by Acting Suptintendent Rick Jetter. He knew the facts but allowed a misrepresentation in as public a manner as possible to make all look bad. A teacher as well as this entire school district appears to be not functioning in the best interest of all our students. This is the furthest from the truth. Rick Jetter was aware of the facts but in the interst of promoting himself for Superintendent he was willing to sacrifice one of our great teachers. Millions of public televisions viewers saw that commericial. Not on MTV but regular channels such as
2,4 or 7. I teach reside and have children in the district. I loved the commericial as well as found it ok for my kids to see it. I to have a child with needs. So please stop this parent as well as Rick Jetter's issue is with the commercial television stations. We support our colleague.

corruption said...

Corruption

taxpayer Sunset Dr. said...

Why are we bothering to hire a great consultant to seek a new Superintendent when, school board members have pledged their support toward Rick Jette? We did this last time and look where it got us. Inexperience is not what we need right now, every meeting is a circus and Rick cannot control these situations.

Anonymous said...

Message to our school board members.

If you truly want to do something to benefit our children then give us an elementary school day in hours that is not the shortest in the United States of America.

We were shocked when we learned this. It is more than a month of education in time every year that our kids are missing.

Stop all the bull and get this accomplished.

Anonymous said...

SO, WHY DOESN'T DAVE YOVIENE EXPLAIN ABOUT HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH KEITH FISHER? KEITH - the buses need to be contracted out! We need to look into the foundation and the phone number that goes to your offices. The foundation number once rang at the admonished village judges office- what happened there? Hmmm... Me thinks thou protest too much.

Anonymous said...

emotional and actual black mail is being exerted on our school board members and their families.

Take this outside this school venue. It starts at the top & trickles down.



Anonymous said...

Coercion and blackmail caught on tape- teachers and staff are lying and it's caught on tape- collusion and corruption caught on tape- extorting public officials via the telephone - caught on tape, interference with contract caught on tape- a school principal making false police reports - caught on tape. An assistant superintendent covering up- lying, calling the police bases on his lies and immature childish mentality- all validated and verified. Teachers union under investigation- allegedly breaking the law- village mayor, police and local attorneys- all blown in to the proper officials. Election fraud by former and current board members, Local, state and federal law enforcement- including state agencies and federal agencies all notified. Lets see if the news will cover this story as it breaks. It is likely folks will lose their licenses and in some instances serve time behind bars- and we don't mean JPs, even the board of education has no power over this shit storm brewing and coming in for a down pour.

Dad on charlotte said...

A walk down memory lane on this chilly November day. Today I found the winter 2011 district focus- introducing us the a young Rick jetter. Something is odd about this 37 year old guy who has been in hamburg since he was 34. At age 30 he was a building principal at spruce elementary in north tonawanda for 4 years. In his late 20s, while Steve achramovitch was at ken ton, jetter was INTERIM Principal. Hmm- what happened at Ken-Ton.? Was he paying special attention to the mom of one of his students? I have gone to a few board meetings since July and there is something about the sneaky man that rubs me the wrong way. I smell a stinky rat. Really can't these idiots on the board come up with a better guy to run the district? What is an interim principal? Anyone from Kenton know what happened here?

Anonymous said...

How about hiring back some English teachers for the High School or maybe some reading teachers? All students entering 9th grade this year will be required to pass the Common Core English Regents in order to receive a High School diploma. Our struggling students are going to have little to no chance of passing this incredibly difficult exam if they are stuck in classes of 25 or more kids with no extra support services!
Parents of students in 7th, 8th and 9th grades should get English tutors now!

Bulldog teacher said...

I just found out who the 15 year old girl was that Dan C told us all about. Its the girl who the village judge got admonished about- yep the judge got admonished because he was taking business from the bench- and Dan C told all the teachers about the 15 year old girl. So, guess who it is- I am sure all the teachers know the girl, I means she was a drug runner in the schools. Ask Mr, Gallagher and Laurie Sabia the guidance counselors if you want the name. Big Hamburg Cover Up! Watch how this plays out. The real story- not the Chiacchia lies- will be hitting the paper near you- and then the girls name willbe front and center. Nice job exposing that Dan- and you care about kids? Really- go suck some red candy die- the whiskey isnt working for ya.

Anonymous said...

MEDIOCRE MARKS AT TEACHERS' SCHOOLS, excerpts taken for Lyndsey Layton (Washington Post)

group creates first ever ranking of the programs that train K-12 educators. Released June 2013 by the National Counsel on Teacher Quality advocacy group . A part of a $5 million project funded by major US foundations. Education secretaries in 21 states have endorsed the report.

Programs at Furman, Lipscomb, Ohio State and Vanderbilt universities received the only "four star ratings. There is a broad agreement among educators and public officials-from US Education Sec. Arne Duncan to governors to unions-that the country is failing to adequately train the 200,000 people who become teachers each year. " We don't know how to prepare teachers" said Arthur Levine, former president of Teachers College at Columbia University and author of a scathing critique of teacher preparation " we can't decide if it is a craft or a profession. Levine "admission standards are low, no connection between clinical work and academic work and some of the faculty haven't been in a school in years" he said.

The topic has gained urgency, with new research that shows teacher quality is the single most important factor inside the classroom that affects student learning.

Advocacy group rates education programs.

One section looking at at elementary school teachers. Only 53 of the 594 such programs scored better than mediocre.

Parents & observers said...

When the politicians and administrators start to care more about the education of students and not themselves we will be saddled with a failing system. We need to model our education system after those in Finland. Finland was at the bottom of the heap in the 60's and turned it around to becoming the #1 school system in the World. If Finland could do it the United States certainly can. The only thing holding us back is politics at every level. Self Serving even at local levels.

Anonymous said...

from Anne Michauds' article Bflo. News 10/20/13

"parents are understandably distressed when U.S. high school students score badly in math, science and reading compared with kids in other countries. There has been and endless series of seemingly fruitless education reforms here at home to deal with the gap. Now comes an intriguing approach based on insights of US> exchange students who spent a year in some of the most successful students in the world- in Finland, Poland and South Korea. The Smartest Kids in the World.

Finland ranks 1st in science, second in reading and third in math the PISA(program for international student assessment)
-that's given to 15 year olds. The US ranks 12th in reading 17th in science and 26th in math. PISA looks not at the test-takers' ability to memorize knowledge, but to reason and think critically.
South Korea ranks 1st in reading, 2nd in math and 4th in science. Ripley is critical of memorization in Korean education, but she praises its high goals and the freedom students have to fail and recover through hard work-good lessons for AMERICAN PARENTS.

Too often, we don't ask teachers to give our kids harder assignments, and we're quick to complain about a failing grade. What's working elsewhere is to set ambitious goals for kids, and then allow them to discover that they have it within themselves to reclaim success from failure.

Each of the countries in "smartest kids" came to education reform after an economic crisis. Finland losing jobs after graduating just 10 percent of its teens in the
50's. Today, the graduation rate is 95%.
Poland wake-up came in 1999, as student consistently tested below average in reading. By 2009, they were outperforming US. Students in all three PISA measures. In just a decade, Poland changed course, despite having similar levels of child poverty as the US, and in spite of spending half the money per pupil.
Have the Great Recession and sluggish recovery been sufficient to persuade Americans to raise our school standards? We've tried so many "reforms" in education. Maybe what we need is a truly radical shift away from sports in favor of schooling".

Anonymous said...

Brought up at last nights meeting that what Terry Dunford put out there about our teacher in the middle school was a mischaracterization as to what was shown to her students. There was no smoke and mirror, in other words nothing inappropriate shown. It was just another organized distraction of Mr. Dunford as well as the administration to cause sensationalism at another Hamburg School Board Meeting. Mr. Jetter and board want to drive any good experienced candidates for Supt. away from the district. Jetter wants the job for himself and don't kid yourself folks he has the commitment of the majority of this board. Ms. Heeter told me so.

Anonymous said...

2:40pm: Yes please! There were at least two English teachers laid off that I know of, maybe more? One was my son's teacher a few years ago. Apparently there's a whole team of teachers that have to teach half 8th and half 7th grade now to make up for a whole team that was cut. I guess this is old news, but I just found out this year because of the team my youngest is on. It's bizarre. Instead of trying to save a few bucks and overcrowding the classrooms, how about we bring these teachers back! I'm just wondering how the teachers feel about having to take on so many additional students now that there are not three teams at 7th and three at 8th. Not only more work to do, but where do they put them all? And how do the kids do in huge classes? I know my son feels like he's constantly competing with the crowd for help in his larger classes. Just ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

Wow.....now attacking a 15 year old girl? This website has hit a new low. How does the blog owner allow that comment to be posted??? Shameful

Potter Road Bus said...

The only one who attacked a 15 year old girl was Dan Chiacchia on his insane presentation to the public a few weeks ago. Listening to that man made me sick to my stomach. He was the one who talked about the girl, and said she was a 15 year old Hamburg High School student, or words along those lines. What he didn't tell you was she was caught at school with enough drugs to sedate a wooly mammoth. Or that the girl was out of school on probation because she got caught at school with drugs, selling them so we hear. Ask Brent Jordan. He might remember. He is the one who wrote up her discipline file, which the district said they didnt have. But, the Buffalo News does.

Anonymous said...

15 year old is 21 years old now. Not 15

Anonymous said...

If Laura Heeter made a commitment for Rick Jetter to be Superintendent then why are we paying a consultant $20,000. to do a superintendent search? We could better spend our money towards another English teacher instead of this ruse.

Anonymous said...

Make us feel good Rick and make our classroom whole.

Anonymous said...

Where is Jim Martinez been, does he realize he is going to get his ass sued? I bet he and his lawyer figured that out. Sorry James, you clearly need to keep that mouth of your shut. Wait till your Boston Valley Teachers are diposed, do you think they are all gonna lie under oath for you? You and your public comments are on tape. I heard Martinez lied about a break in at BVS, and made up more lies when the police showed up and there was no break ins. Oh, what a dummy....and the district puts him around children.

please earn from your mistakes said...

What I would like to say to Mrs Heeter is, why waste anyones time or money if a committment has been made from her or anyone for a super.. This makes this search a fraud.

Anonymous said...

Was Darren out spreading aids around BOSTON tonight? Isnt he wanted in Florida on crimes for spreading AIDS? Hmmm...maybe the wrong guy.

Anonymous said...

Meeting in Boston tonight no interest children or education, just bad adult behavior.

Anonymous said...

I am new to this blog and new to the school district. I have small children and one of my childrens teachers suggested I attend the school district meeting at St. John the Baptist Church in Boston, to become informed about the schools. I did not expect that type of meeting. It was not nice and it was not about improving my childrens school. It was ugly and freightening to me. I did not move my family to Hamburg for this.

Anonymous said...

Work in Boston Valley School;

heart sick what has happened to our front office. Our friend was targeted and bullied by our principal Jim and he got away with it. It was a safety concern for her. False rumors he started and used to harm her. He wrongly accuses and brags how Mr. Jetter has his back. We are sad for our loss at Boston Valley. We work in fear as to who will be next.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Chiacchia needs to be investigated as well as the school district. What involvement of his law firm was is going on here with our schools. If there is corruption by any school board have the Attorney General come in and investigate. .

Cauley and Gallagher Stat said...

The Board must fire Rick Jetter and make Mike Gallagher superintendent. ANd when you are at it- make Pat Cauley permanent Athletic Director- he is the best thing that every happened to Hamburg. That Danille Grimm and Jim Martinez need to be shown the DOOR. How is that for an idea. Pat and Mike run the place, Jackie Peffer would pooh her pants- she hates Mike and we all know why.

Anonymous said...

Work in Boston Valley I am sorry to tell you this but your friend spent years there running the school under former principals. Parents complained because she was always on Facebook. The last principal tried to reign her in and that didn't work. She also talked about the children of that school with several parents. We have plenty of good people in that school but she was not one of them. The funny thing is why would the principal waste his time going after a secretary if that is all she was. He wouldn't if you choose to be naive that is up to you but don't pedal your BS on the rest of us. I for one like the upgrade to the office it is about time.
BVS parent!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:30 am,

you start off by saying you are an employee, then you state you are a BVS parent. So which one are you? I suspect who you are. How do you justify Mr. Martinez staging break ins at the BVS school? James Martinez Never reporting it to authorities, the Supt not acting and trying to blame school board members as well as THE PRINCIPAL'S former secretary. Sorry if you don't like someone it does not give you LICENSE to lie about them. If this was serious he did not follow any safety policies. I say he is EVIL AND SO IS ANYONE ELSE WHO MAY BE INVOLVED IN THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR THAT SEEMS TO BE OK IN THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT RIGHT NOW.