professornana (professornana) wrote,

Brick by Brick

Some days it does not pay to read my Twitter and Facebook feeds. The latest assualt is focusing on the colleges of education, those who "prepare" teachers to work in classrooms. Frankly, I prefer the term teacher-educator myself as I think teacher educations courses are not "prep" work. Anthony Cody explores NCTQ and other incursions into colleges of education here:

According to the state law described by Cody, any person can open a teacher academy and prepare teachers. There are to be zero regulations about credit hours, courses, faculty credentials. However, the successful "graduate" will be recognized on par with those who obtained credentials through colleges of education (i.e., they will be deemed to be degreed).

We are awaiting the NCTQ report officially but are well aware that it will be critical of college education programs. They will call for the same VAM as some K-12 schools face now. Make no mistake, folks, the assault on college teacher programs is part of the concerted effort to destroy, brick by brick, education that does not focus on what some "reformers" think is important.

Brick: In the words of NCTQ founder: A lot of schools of education continue to become quite oppositional to the notion of standardized tests, even though they have very much become a reality in K-12 schools. The ideological resistance is critical. In other words, teacher-educators are not paying sufficient attention to the role of standardized tests in the lives of K-12 students.

Brick: Colleges of education need to instruct their students about how to access and use date to drive instruction. Data drives everything. If we are not directly teaching this means of assessment and planning, we are not doing our job according to NCTQ.

Brick: Colleges of education are criticized for being more concerned with child development than assessments.

Brick: The usual suspects are behind this call for alternative teacher prep programs: Gates, Fordham Foundation, Pearson.

Brick: The actual research that is calling for "reform" is suspect. See this analysis:

Brick: From the NCTQ web site: Higher ed teacher preparation programs prepare almost 90% of the 165,000 novice teachers who are hired each year. But, unlike other professional schools, teacher prep programs are held to weak standards, enabling ineffective programs to receive state approval and national accreditation. The result? Too few new teachers receive the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the classroom. How can you even begin to unpack the misstatements here?

Brick: According to NCTQ, pensions are a problem. Hmmm...that should give us all pause.

Brick: 7 of the 10 standards for what teachers need to be able to do are rooted in CCSS:

Brick: Our own Secretary of Education called teacher education programs "Bermuda Triangles." Thanks, Arne Duncan.

It's scary to be a teacher at any level when you can see the calculated assault being carried out by those largely outside of education. I am not suggesting that teacher education programs cannot improve. There have been deep improvements in the 30+ years since I obtained my teaching degree. There is much more field work and filed based coursework. There are requirements for more coursework in major fields of study. We have accrediting institutions to whom we must answer as well. Is there still room for improvement? Sure. But it is apparent from an examination of the web sites of these "reformers" that there is an ax to grind and they have the whetstone ready to sharpen the ax. Once the ax falls, the consequences might be deadly. And the devaluing of teachers are educated professionals will be the result of that sharp ax.

I came to the university because I knew I could work with teacher education candidates (and also now school library candidates) and convey my passion for real books, authentic reading, response that included more than pencil and paper or computer tests, and the need for a wide knowledge of the literature written specifically for children, tweens, and teens. I love my job. But I do see the possibility that it will, one day in the future, disappear. Imagine the loss, the loss for the kids.
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