the civil rights issue of our generation.
And if you care about promoting opportunity
and reducing inequality,
about promoting civic knowledge
the classroom is the place to start.
-- Arne Duncan
This from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Secretary's Talk About Teachers Colleges
Isn't All Negative
It's been a rough month for the nation's teacher colleges.
Two weeks ago, in a speech at the University of Virginia, Secretary of Education Arne uncan called teachers colleges the "neglected stepchild" of higher education. On Thursday, he was back at it, accusing "many, if not most" of the country's 1,450 schools, colleges, and departments of education of doing a "mediocre" job of preparing potential teachers for the rigors of the modern classroom.
Yet the secretary's remarks, delivered on Thursday in a speech at Columbia University, weren't nearly as negative as the early excerpts of his speech suggested, and some educators who attended the speech left it feeling more inspired than maligned. Although the secretary offered plenty of criticism of teacher-training colleges, he also cited several "shining examples" of colleges and states that have upgraded their programs, including Louisiana, and said he was optimistic that "the seeds of real change have been planted."
He also blamed universities and states for many of the problems confronting teachers colleges, saying it would be "far too simple" to fault colleges of education for the slow pace of reform. He accused universities of using teachers colleges as "cash cows" and "profit centers" to finance "prestigious but underenrolled graduate departments," and he criticized states for approving weak teacher-education programs and licensing exams, and for neglecting teacher outcomes.
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) President Sharon P. Robinson urged the US Department of Education and Congress "to not only continue, but to expand an essential tool in this endeavor – the Teacher Quality Partnership grant program." Robinson said, "It is the major source of federal support for developing critical relationships between K‐12 schools and colleges of education and is indispensable in preparing high performing teachers and increasing student achievement."
Robinson had previously fired a volley across Duncan's bow in reaction to his speech at UVA.
"I read with disappointment Secretary Duncan's speech at the University of Virginia on October 9. While I applaud the Administration's recognition of teaching as an honorable profession, I am sorry the focus of the speech was, once again, on shopworn criticisms of educator preparation programs. I look to Secretary Duncan to lead us into the future by informing and encouraging a vision of how it should be," Robinson wrote.
President Barack Obama is correct to be concerned about raising the number of well-educated citizens. High quality colleges of education are necessary if the president's college attainment goals are going to have a chance. And those colleges must rethink what it means to go to college - while expanding online course offerings.
Duncan said the nation cannot rely alone on schools of education to produce the next generation of teachers. He called for expanding alternatives such as Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in schools in poor communities for at least two years.
Somebody will have to explain to me how a 5-week training program with (is it?) zero hours of field work is enough at Teach for America yet Duncan is worried that the hundreds of hours of field work required of today's preservice teachers may be insufficient.
But let's be real clear about Teach for America: It's not their training program that produces results. The whole premise seems to be, 'if one is smart enough, one doesn't need training.'
This from MSNBC:
Programs criticized as cash cows
that fall short in
preparing for classroom
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is calling for an overhaul of college programs that prepare teachers, saying they are cash cows that do a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the classroom.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan called for "revolutionary change" in these programs, which prepare at least 80 percent of the nation's teachers.
In a speech prepared for delivery Thursday, Duncan said he has talked to hundreds of great young teachers while serving as Chicago schools chief and later as President Barack Obama's schools chief. The teachers have two complaints about education schools, he said.
"First, most of them say they did not get the hands-on teacher training about managing the classroom that they needed, especially for high-needs students," he said in the speech to Columbia University's Teachers College.
"And second, they say there were not taught how to use data to improve instruction and boost student learning," Duncan said.
A 2006 report found that three of five education school alumni said their training failed to prepare them to teach, he noted. The report was by Arthur Levine, a former Teachers College president.
Their large enrollment and low overhead makes education schools cash cows for their universities, Duncan said. But their profits have been diverted to smaller, more prestigious graduate departments such as physics and have not been spent on research and training for would-be teachers, he said...