To "Coach P" and "worf" my experience with my kids in public
education has been the opposite. They have had more mediocre teachers than good
ones, and they have gone to some of the best public schools and charter schools
where we could get them.To "worf" my experience has been
that the teachers are often looking to teach to the middle or bottom of the
class. They put in the minimal effort and are glad that they have a few kids
that don't need to be taught much becuase those kids raise the class
average on the standardized testing.
RedShirt:In my observations, there are very few mediocre
teachers.The big stumbling block is the constant micro management
from the feds, filtered through the states. Much of a teachers time, is taken
up by unnessary paper work, and other regulartory mandates.Unfortunatly, teachers take the blame for things which are not their fault.
Objectives, and strategies are aligned with a standardized test which teachers
have little input.Teachers are part of a collective, and have little
independence. Blame the collective, not teachers.
redshirt: It says that most teacher training is mediocre, based on test scores,
for whatever they are worth, Utah teachers do better than average and probably
really well based on the large classes and other challenges.But
don't fret, I'm sure I won't convince you that Utah teachers
aren't mediocre. So how about you pay me a baby sitter wage of say 2$ per
hour. Since I will see 40 students in a class on average, I could make $80 per
hour. I am down for that. You won't even have to worry about paying me
for my prep period or anything. But as you can see, schools are a pretty cheap
"day care" or "boys/girls" club and if teachers were just
received baby sitting wages they would do pretty good.So I'm a
pretty good deal though. I don't quite make that $80 an hour, probably a
third of that and I will actually try to teach my students something. I might
even make a huge difference in some of their lives--I've been told I do
that once in a while (by parents or even the students themselves)...
I hope that some of the liberals that constantly say that Utah needs to pay its
teachers more can tell us how we justify paying mediocre teachers more. If you
are just a mediocre lawyer or doctor, do you deserve the same pay as the good,
or excelent lawyer or doctor?
Teacher training is similar to computer programming.Teaching to
standardized tests has limited the usage of individual talent.
Most of what is taught in education classes in college is of suspect value.
Most teachers come to realize this. The best way to learn to teach is to
actually teach. Student teaching will be where teachers learn the most before
actually entering the field. However, I suspect this is the case for most
fields, not just teaching. Also, at least for secondary education teachers, the
subject matter is taught not by the education department but majoring in
whatever subject matter they are planning to teach. Any weakness in knowledge
there is not the fault of the education professors, but I'm not saying they
are off the hook. I actually things are improving versus when I went through
the process a few decades ago, but improvements can be made for sure.
Actually many of the criticisms conservatives aim at the teacher unions, such as
with progressivist philosophies, come from the colleges of education, NOT the
unions. It's time these conservative think-tanks start looking at the
sources.That said, we have not had good criteria to judge teacher
colleges with, and they have largely escaped the criticism heaped on the public
schools, and for which they are many times the source or origin of the problem.
This report may have errors, but there need to be more studies done of teacher
prep programs. I know I got far more of value from my cooperating teacher than
of ALL my college training, because it was so steeped in "pedagogy," the
philosophies of methods in education.
The main reason they are weak is because of how in-bred they are with
constructivists. They won't hire you to train teachers unless you are 100%
constructivist in philosophy, no balance. (This is the philosophy that brought
us "Whole Language" and "Investigations Math." This philosophy
has been proven very inferior over and over, particularly with the biggest study
ever done on styles of teaching - Project Follow-Through. But it feels good,
and they believe in their philosophy, so they won't allow any other thought
to be present at the college level. They continue to make-up subjective
research to back up what they want to hear, but it is still ineffective.Add to that the poor salaries, the media and lawyers who always blame
the educators for everything. Then add all the administrators using you to
climb ladders, along with board members and legislators always trying to change
things, so they can say to voters how good they are. Who wants to go into that?
So it becomes hard to get the best students to major in education.