Monday, December 03, 2012

Putting the Fox In Charge of the Henhouse

Would you have the alcoholic guard the liquor cabinet?

Would you have the kleptomaniac guard the jewelry store?

Would you put the inmate in charge of the asylum?

For our liberal friends out there:  would you want industry writing OSHA health and safety regulations?  Would you want industry writing EPA pollution standards?

Would you want the teachers' union to decide who gets to be teachers?
A major teachers union wants to create a rigorous professional exam for K-12 teachers that would serve the same function as the bar exam for lawyers and board certification for doctors.

“Unlike law, medicine, architecture and engineering, we hand teachers the keys and tell them to go into the classroom and do their thing,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who is expected to announce the plan Monday. “This is about raising the standards of our profession and making sure that kids get teachers who are prepared.”

A task force of teachers and education experts Weingarten assembled spent a year developing recommendations to improve teacher preparation and certification.

Under the AFT plan, prospective teachers who have undergone training at an education school would have to demonstrate knowledge of their subject areas, an understanding of the social and emotional elements of learning, and spend a year in “clinical practice” as a student teacher before passing a rigorous exam.
All of that sounds reasonable, but why would you expect something so noble from a union?  Answer:  you shouldn't.  Ole Randi and the gang have quite the ulterior motive:
At the same time, alternative teacher preparation programs have sprouted up, offering a streamlined path to certification and the classroom. Teach for America, for example, gives college graduates five weeks of training before sending them into some of the most troubled schools in the country.

A bar exam would “just level the playing field,” Weingarten said. “Maybe all the alternative certified teachers will pass with flying colors. But if only 10 percent of TFA passed it and 90 percent of the students from Teachers College passed it, that would say something.”
My guess is that the TFA candidates would, in their summer "boot camp" have received more practical knowledge and less political indoctrination than the typical teacher candidate, but that's just a guess.

With her last comment quoted above, Randi's shown her true colors.  She's not as interested in improving the teaching corps as she is in deciding who gets to be a part of that teaching corps.

Her suggestion isn't altruistic, it's entirely self-serving--painfully, transparently so.


maxutils said...

we could do worse . . . subject matter proficiency is way better than current credential standards. it's amazing how many people can't even pass the cbest.

Steve USMA '85 said...

I almost wish they would enact the program. Wouldn't it be funny if the numbers were actually reversed, 90 percent TFA pass rate and only 10 percent for Teachers College grads.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Steve, this is an attempt to explicitly control entry to the profession. That's the only result that matters to Randi Weingarten.

If the folks who pass her "bar" exam can't teach a lick, so what? The important goal, constraining the supply of new teachers to help hold up the wage of practicing teacher has been accomplished.

As to whether the new kids on the block can teach or not, that doesn't matter now and it won't matter under Weingarten's policy. The only people who inherently care about the difference between good and bad teachers are parents and, like now, they're opinions will be immaterial so their influence will be zero.

Anonymous said...

Since it would be the TC think-alikes writing the test, the test would be designed to fail those not marinated in the proper ed-school fads, unproven theories, wishful thinking and edubabble. It would also be designed to allow a proper pass rate by the URMs, since the ed schools worship "diversity".

Ellen K said...

My assumption is that AFT is seeking to control who gets in the doors by making sure they speak Liberal Union Leftist Chapter and Verse before they even get a job. This would allow AFT to weed out those pesky independent thinkers.