Education reformers seek new victims, colleges of education.

Teachers have long been the target of the Education
Reform movement but after years of abuse teachers have began to push
back.  Then after the Sandy Hook and
Moore tragedies it has become harder to straight up demonize teachers.
Education deformers no longer feel comfortable blaming them for society’s
problems especially after a few gave up or risked their lives for their
children. That however hasn’t stopped the corporate reform movement; no they
just switched targets going from educators to their schools of education.


Before I debunk their latest attacks I want you to first think about the amazing
hypocrisy of the education reform movement. Teach for America is the darling of
the ed reform movement. It takes non education majors and puts them through a
five week course and then places them in our toughest classroom or what people
in education like to call the exact opposite of what should be happening. Yet
somehow that is supposed to be okay and college of ed graduates who spend years
studying and at least a semester teaching is somehow substandard. It’s worse
however as the right often uses a study by Arthur Levine, who complains about
lax requirements to get into colleges of education to validate their concerns
but they never mention how the same Arthur Levine rails against TFA and saying
it is not the answer. This however will not be the only example of the right
trying to have their cake and eat it too. 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-to-improve-teacher-education-now-and-why-teach-for-america-isnt-the-answer/

Jeb Bush likes to take credit for Florida’s improvement over the last dozen
years and there has been some modest gains the thing however is most of these
gains are the results of the efforts of Florida’s teachers and the majority of
them are graduates of the state’s colleges of educations not his Florida
miracle which has been thoroughly debunked. These are the same colleges that
Jeb Bush said he wanted to blow up at the Champions for Education meeting. Jeb
Bush should not be allowed to have his cake and eat it to, not that that has
ever stopped a politician for taking credit for something they had no control
over while simultaneously and erroneously bashing their enemies. 

Their main argument seems to be that people who go into the college of
education have low GPAs and SAT scores. First there is a lot of debate about
where the education deformers got their information and its reliability http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2009/11/15/do-teachers-really-come-from-the-bottom-third-of-colleges-or-is-that-statistic-a-bunch-of-baloney/  and
 http://www.ocala.com/article/20120318/OPINION/120319723?p=1&tc=pg

 I get it though, each side could say I’ll see your study and show you one
more but I want you to think about this. Only slightly over 30% of all
Americans over the age of 25 have a four year degree. 100 percent of public
school teachers have to have a four-year degree. So in effect the education
reformers who are so critical are saying that teachers are the worst of the
best.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/education/census-finds-bachelors-degrees-at-record-level.html

Then according to the national center for education statistics, 52% of teachers
have advanced degrees where only 10% of the general public does and doesn’t
that shoot a hole in the poorly educated teacher theory? http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=28

Once again however in their zeal to bad talk teachers they don’t realize or
they do and don’t care hoping that the public will miss it, that this argument
points to inconsistencies in another one of the other crown jewels of education
reform, vouchers. Private schools play by different rules including the
education levels that their teachers are required to have. Sure all the
teachers at schools like Boles and Episcopal have bachelor’s degrees or above
but what about the small private schools in strip malls or on the recesses of
town, you know, the ones that advertise on their web sites that they take
vouchers. Many of the members of those staffs don’t have bachelors’ degrees at
all let alone degrees in the subject areas that they are teaching. Yet the
powers that be aren’t calling for universal certification requirements instead
they are just screaming that colleges of education are substandard.

These reformers, many of who are seeking to make a buck off education, with
their most sincere faces say, if of only children had better teachers they
would graduate better prepared for life. That teacher quality is the number one
in-school factor that determines how children do. They say in-school mind you
so they can continue to ignore poverty which is the number one factor for
determining success in school. Kids in poverty don’t do as well as those who
aren’t and over a fifth of our kids live in poverty and another fifth just
above it.

To those education reformers who say those things I respond instead of
demonizing teachers for not being able to overcome the dehabilitating effects
of poverty, parental indifference and so many other factors beyond their
control, I believe we should get down on our knees and thank them because the
vast majority of our children would be much worse off without them.

This isn’t to say every teacher is great or graduate from a college of
education made the right choices to get into the profession but when one of my
kids’ acts up I don’t punish the whole class because of them but that is the
road that the education reformers have chosen to take. They see a few bad
teachers and instead of working to replace them they decide to kneecap the
entire profession instead.

During my third year of teaching, like many teachers do to hone their craft I
went back to college and was taking a nature of the learner class. One day the
professor showed a couple videos of teachers and asked the class to rate them
zero through four, four being the highest. One of the videos showed a rather
shrill woman who I found a bit boring and short with the kids. After the video
was over I turned to my buddy and said I am giving her a zero, what are you
giving her? He said, one. 

At first I was a confused, I asked quite dismayed, what, how can you give this
lady a one? He looked at me and said Chris, she showed up. So many people bitch
and complain, blame and point their fingers at teachers not knowing what they
do or go through but you know what they don’t do? I was silent. They don’t show
up. They don’t go through the training and make the sacrifices. They don’t
fight for better conditions for teachers, a fair wage and curriculums that give
teachers and students a chance at being successful. They don’t do any of those
things and as flawed as this lady was, she showed up and that is worth a point
in my book. Feeling a little ashamed for my initial reaction and my short
sitedness, I to gave her a one too. 

And if above doesn’t make you wonder about the true motives of the education
reform movement, most of whom have never been in a classroom and none of whom
have fought for decent wages and working conditions for teachers, who blame
them for societies ills, and many of who’s main goal is to make a buck off of
education then nothing will.

One Reply to “Education reformers seek new victims, colleges of education.”

  1. Chris, love your blog and read it all the time. This has been in the works for the last five years. COE's have had to produce more accountability to their respective DOE who do govern K-16. You do well with connecting the dots so I will just say this is the next part of the track of the assault on public education.

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