Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm Not Going To Make Too Many Friends With This One

Is there anyone who, deep down in their heart of hearts, is genuinely surprised by this?
Academic profiles continue to be markedly different for secondary school subject matter teachers in contrast with elementary, special education, and physical education teachers. Those with secondary licenses have much stronger academic histories.
When I hear the old factoid that teachers generally come from the bottom of their college classes, I've always doubted it--at least for people who graduate with degrees other than general liberal arts or education.  There is, however, some good news on the teacher quality front:
Praxis passing rates have decreased substantially. This decrease is likely attributable to the
increasingly demanding testing requirements put in place during the (previous) eight years.

The academic profile of the entire candidate pool has improved. Candidates who graduate from teacher education programs are stronger than in years past. Those who report not having gone through a teacher education program are similarly strong.

The academic profile of those meeting state Praxis requirements has improved.

These improvements are consistent for both males and females, across racial/ethnic groups, and across licensure areas.
This report came out in 2007. I wonder what it similar statements could be made today.


Ellen K said...

I hate to say this, but I have witnessed this in the student teachers I mentor. While they are nice people, they often have shallow knowledge beyond their own limited area of interest. It breaks my heart because they are genuinely nice people, but for whatever reason they are limited in what they know and nobody at their colleges tells them to reach out.

momof4 said...

Until the late 60s or so, many women went into teaching because it was a field that was considered suitable for, or was open to, women. My observations of my own teachers, my contemporaries (college class 71)and the current young teachers is that not only has the academic strength of ES teachers declined but so has their academic orientation. Too many current ES teachers don't seem to value academics. I've heard far too many of them say that they went into el ed because they love kids and because they wouldn't have to take math or science in college. Listening to them, I get a strong sense of "playing school"; lots of arts and crafts, lots of happy talk, lots of feelings and no willingness to admit that mastery of content is important, that mastery requires effort and that not all kids are capable of mastering the same content in the same amount of time (even with the same motivation). There's also the issue of curriculum, which seems to be almost universally lousy/flawed at ES levels; thereby hobbling MS and HS. Too many kids exit ES so far behind in math, reading/background knowledge and writing that they will never catch up to real grade level.

Alf Tupper said...

"When I hear the old factoid that teachers generally come from the bottom of their college classes, I've always doubted it"

Actually, it is true that education majors do have the lowest SAT scores. Sad, but true. When I was in high school (UK, 1960s-70s) almost all teachers had majors in their subjects, with "teacher training" done as a post-grad year.

Alf Tupper said...

Read this:

Anonymous said...

The educational establishment is to blame. I spent many years as an elementary teacher and the subject matter knowledge of ES teachers was sorely lacking especially in math, science, and social studies. Once someone got the idea that we should be teaching science to 3rd graders, the genie was out of the bottle.

ES teachers should have been teaching reading skills and math skills using other subjects as the focus of the skills. Instead we threw phonetics under the bus and brought in New Math, introduced whole word reading and suddenly the only thing that ES teachers could teach was SELF_ESTEEM!!?#

Now we have a generation of ES teachers who do not have subject matter knowledge and who have a difficult time with reading and writing and spelling and basic math. I'm not making this up, I worked with these folks. When time came for my kids to go to school they went to a parochial school (I'm not Catholic) with old-fashioned teachers where they actually learned basic skills that allowed them to really excel in HS and beyond.

The problem with ES is that we're pushing in the wrong direction with many folks who don't have the skills themselves.