Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cracks In The Ivory Tower?

The Fordham Institute has a report out by the same name, and here's an introduction:

The Fordham Institute's new national survey of education school professors finds that, even as the U.S. grows more practical and demanding when it comes to K-12 education, most of the professoriate simply isn't there. They see themselves more as philosophers and agents of social change, not as master craftsmen sharing tradecraft. They also resist some promising reforms such as tying teacher pay to student test scores. Still, education professors are reform-minded in some areas, including tougher policies for awarding tenure to teachers and financial incentives for those who teach in tough neighborhoods.

What exactly is meant by "philosophers and agents of social change"? This, from the executive summary (scroll to page 9/74)

--They are far more likely to believe that the proper role of teacher is to be a “facilitator of learning” (84 percent) not a “conveyor of knowledge” (11 percent).
–– Asked to choose between two competing philosophies of the role of teacher
educator, 68 percent believe preparing students “to be change agents who will
reshape education by bringing new ideas and approaches to the public schools” is most important; just 26 percent advocate preparing students “to work effectively within the realities of today’s public schools.”
–– Only 24 percent believe it is absolutely essential to produce “teachers who
understand how to work with the state’s standards, tests, and accountability
–– Just 39 percent find it absolutely essential “to create teachers who are trained
to address the challenges of high-needs students in urban districts.”
–– Just 37 percent say it is absolutely essential to focus on developing “teachers who maintain discipline and order in the classroom.”
–– The vast majority of education professors (83 percent) believe it is absolutely
essential for public school teachers to teach 21st century skills, but just 36
percent say the same about teaching math facts, and 44 percent about teaching
phonics in the younger grades.

I wonder what the percentages would be if the public who pays our salaries were surveyed....

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