Education Schools Are Outmoded, Panelists Say
By Ben Hammer
Educators at a recent forum debated whether education schools are preparing teachers to meet the goals their future employers have set for academic achievement.
Several participants at the forum held by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, stressed that most education schools fall short in focusing on pedagogy rather than graduating teachers who will produce students that show strong learning through high standardized test scores.
The panelists said that governments must align the incentives they provide teachers with the public policy goals they set for producing academic success. While governments reward administrators whose students show knowledge of certain facts on exams, it also gives incentives to teachers who complete certification and education programs that emphasize teaching students learning skills that are not reflected on exams. These two goals are often contradictory, they said.
“We have states that are saying by legislation your schools must have high academic achievement or there are going to be all kinds of nasty sanctions…,” said Dr. George Cunningham, a professor of educational and counseling psychology at the University of Louisville. “We have to decide we can’t have that as a goal because schools of education have decided that that’s not a good goal.”
Lisa Graham Keegan, chief executive of Education Leaders Council, argued in favor of her group’s support for measuring academic achievement of students and the success of teachers through standardized testing. She also argued for making it easier to hire prospective teachers who don’t have traditional education training or certification.
Dr. Mary Dilworth, vice president of research for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, who presented the prepared remarks of AACTE President David Imig, was alone in supporting the current education system. Imig criticized those who wanted to ease standards for entering the teaching profession, saying their expectations were too low.
“It is the soft bigotry of the ‘good enough’ teacher philosophy that pervades this town. It is the attitude that anyone can teach, anyone with a bachelor’s degree and no criminal record and someone who has passed a certain test is good enough to teach our children.
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