Monday, May 21, 2007

Education Kinda Sucks, But It Ain't the Agendas, Part 2

I didn't recieve an answer to my previous post, but I was respectfully challenged by one "nicholasville conservative":
Swamproot, that's a mouthful. The fact is, mediocrity is the norm in our public schools.

If you doubt this, acquire a set of the original McGuffey readers and pass it around to a sample of teachers. See how many of them can master the contents of the 4th and 5th grade volumes that were used at the time of publication. Or, pull a typical elementary teacher aside and ask the teacher to explain how to add fractions (let alone topics you would find in a 9th grade algebra text). How many teachers can demonstrate a majority of the historical and literary knowledge in ED Hirsch's Cultural Literacy: What Every American Should Know? In fact, how many could even correctly recite the names of our 20th century US presidents?

Our Colleges of Education, those deadening certification mills, need to receive a stiff dose of competition themselves. The education professors aren't getting the job done; we need to allow "uncertified" individuals who possess quality educational and career records, to enter our schools as teachers.

The establishment is afraid of competition because it will reveal that the Educational Emperor has no clothes.
Here, for what it's worth is my answer:
Sorry, about my long screed Mr. Conservative, and here is another in answering, but I was addressing the advancement of social agendas, not the competency of the teachers that there are.

I will certainly acknowledge that plenty of elementary school teachers are, quite frankly, incompetent dweebs who became elementary teachers because they thought they only had to learn as much as a elementary school child in order to get a degree and a job and they "like children".

I will also acknowledge that the institutions responsible for education are not "getting the job done". Education undergraduates might as well be Safety majors with all the football players given the less-than-challenging curriculum they follow.

Yet for all that, there is more to teaching than standing in front of a group of kids and talking. I, personally, feel that even though I posses "quality educational and career records", I would not have any business being a teacher.

Not until I could prove somehow, (perhaps by taking a test or getting some type of document administered by a testing authority, what ever you call that), that I knew something about classroom management, disciplining kids, educational law, core curriculum among a great many other things that the education professors DID talk about.
Competition may indeed by the answer, maybe we do need vouchers. I and my very, hard working wife, ( who is better than most, in my judgment), would be more than happy to see more pay tied to performance.

But if that is the case, be prepared that teachers who will take the hit will be those "family values"-conservative types who wouldn't dream of working after 3:00 because their daughter has soccer practice, or who don't give homework on Wednesdays because of "the kids who have to go to church".

But in the end, I feel that the biggest problem with education today is the lack of buy-in from too many parents who don't thing they have a role to play in their child's learning.
I also had to use his question for a cheep shot:
As for your test or cultural literacy, I missed Harding. But I figure that's probably OK, few on this board seem to have a memory for scandal-plagued Republican administrations anyway. :-)
The question was, can you name all of the U.S. presidents of the 20th century, and for the record my answers were:

Bush 2
Bush 1
X - missed Harding
Teddy Roosevelt

Looking back, I now realize George 2 was in the wrong century. Oops. Oh well, I guess I just traded one corrupt Republican administration for another.