Friday, October 07, 2011

Seattle Times Op-Ed on "Teacher Quality"

Once again the Seattle Times ventures an opinion on public education, Refocusing the Teacher-Quality Debate. Once again the Times acts as the mouthpiece for Education Reform in the least thoughtful way.

The Times writes in support of changes in teacher education to replace much of the current regulation of those programs with, you guessed it, improvements in student test scores.
The Department of Education proposes different measures focused on outcomes, including asking schools to report how many graduates of teacher-education programs fill shortage positions, such as teaching math in high-poverty schools; how satisfied school principals are with their preparation and how much the graduates, once in the classroom, improved student learning based on test scores.
So now increased test scores will not only reflect on each teacher as an individual, but will also reflect on the school that awarded that teacher his or her degree in education. Student test scores are the only thing that matter to these people, the only measure of "teacher quality".


Anonymous said...

All you have to do is look at the title of the editorial:

"Refocusing the teacher-quality debate"

1. Was the "debate" ever focused previously? No. Focusing implies looking at something, observing something.
2. Is this editorial "refocusing"? No. It widens the scope of the "target" to also include institutions preparing teachers. So rather than being "refocused", the Times' target of "debate" has been widened, made more inclusive.


RosieReader said...

A more interesting question, to me, is whether or not folks here at this blog agree with this sentiment quoted in the editorial: "The director of teacher education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education was quoted on a New York Times online forum as saying that of the nation's 1,300 graduate teacher-training programs, only about 100 were doing a competent job."

I guess I suspect everyone will jump all over that, because the common sentiment on this blog seems to be that teacher education is wonderful and provides the only justifiable way to the classroom.

I'd love to be proved wrong, though. Am I, yet again, the outlier on this blog?

Po3 said...

" of the nation's 1,300 graduate teacher-training programs, only about 100 were doing a competent job."

Have not read the article, I wonder what was the matrix used to make this conclusion?

Dorothy Neville said...

Rosie, I don't think that is such an outlier sentiment. Some folks would disagree, but mostly I think folks recognize that teacher ed programs need work. Looking at the SPSLeaks documents of discussion inside UW CoE, some of them agree.

If we really do want to be more like Finland or Singapore and strengthen teaching as a profession, we need to change, yes. But our current trajectory seems to me to be going in the wrong direction.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rosie, after all we have said about UW's COE, you think we all will line up for all COEs? Give us some credit.

My remarks to the Times were as follows:

- I love Harvard's COE person saying half of the COEs could be closed. But not Harvard's, right?

- The Times, once again, misstates TFA's goal. They are NOT creating a teaching corps. It says that at their website and Wendy Kopp has said that. It is about creating a leadership chain around education. Big difference. Don't look to TFA for large numbers of new (and sustaining teachers).

- the Times also talks about "strict accountability for training" for teachers. Okay, how strict can it be when TFA creates its own training without any oversight?

I concur with Dorothy. Teaching has to remain a profession, be treated with respect and we support the teachers with the continuing training they need and the support from the parents of the students they teach.

dan dempsey said...


I inclined to agree with both you and Dorothy.

#1 Anecdote from a friend who graduated from WWU and went into teaching and whose daughter did the same 30+ years later:

The WWU teachers preparation program is a vast improvement today from in my day. {{Perhaps Western is in the 100}}

#2 Today the quality of Ed Research at Colleges and Universities is very poor. If a University considers itself to be a "Research" university , it means "ZERO" as far as the quality of its Ed research.

#3 The National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources division has passed out many hundreds of millions of dollars without any measure of efficacy.

I filed a complaint with the NSF office of the Inspector General....
The NSF checks to see if the money was spent the way the grantee stated on the application. That is the only accountability. Results are not important.

This explains the $100 million given by NSF for the direct development of "Reform Math" programs.

{{ Note the NSF funds the development and then the Universities can sell the product and keep all the profits - no repayment to NSF required :: Michigan State produced Connect Math Project for middle schools -- MSU loves this program .... if the stuff does not work ... that is a great benefit to colleges as well because the NSF will fund programs to train teachers to use the "promising" (but defective) materials.}}

#4 It is my opinion that most CoE's are more in the business of producing philosopher kings (and raking in grant money) than producing effective teachers. The results of Project Follow Through and Visible Learning are ignored. Both of these studies involved huge numbers of students and show what actually has worked to improve student learning .... and it is NOT the techniques pushed by the UW CoE and most other CoEs that have worked.

#5 A son of mine just graduated from the Masters in Teaching program at Evergreen State ... go geoducks. The program is still believing in "Whole Language" and Constructivist "Discover/Inquiry math". (make this one a solid member of the 1200 not the 100).

#6 We have data from the impact of the UW Math Education Project (MEP) on math scores in a few Seattle high schools where they operated. (NOT Good). We have data from the three year unmonitored experimental school wide UW professional development and Interactive Math Program used at Cleveland. (extremely poor results). We have data from the first two years of the KCP Discovering Series high school Math adoption. Discovering was pushed by Dr. Jim King of UW and others.... Greta Borneman of OSPI testified before its adoption failing to mention the rating of mathematically unsound that it received in a review paid for by the State Board of Education. It is performing like the Mathematically Unsound Program it is.

#7 A lot of College Ed programs are completely oblivious to results. In education programs results do not matter to colleges. It seems they are driven by Grants and tuition.

#8 Current teacher certification requirements are a great boon to Colleges because of the huge number of credits required. Note that Ed schools have a very favorable Tuition and Grants collected minus program expenses return to Universities.

Anonymous said...

But Melissa and Dan, etc. if teacher education needs so much improvement, they why the hue and cry about these untrained people coming in to teach (TFA)? Help me understand how on one hand colleges of education are doing such a bad job but people coming from those programs only should be allowed in a classroom as primary teachers? And I'm not sure how to best phrase this, but if the schools of ed need so much improvement, how can all those teachers out there be so good that they don't need to be assessed on their performance? And Dan, if your son graduated from a program using such bad teaching methods, how can he possibly be expected to teach kids well?

It's pretty well known that private schools don't always use, nor do they require, certificated teachers. Yet they're all pretty much full around here. Why is that? What do those parents see beyond what is written on their diplomas? And how is that any different from TFA coming in? Or is it?

I'm not trying to be snarky here. It's something that's puzzled me for quite some time.

Full of Questions Today

anonymous said...

Full of questions asked some great questions.

Hope Melissa, StopTFA, Seattle Citizen, and others will respond.


Anonymous said...

One can not discuss teacher quality without also discussing poor curriculums, over-crowding, abusive admins with all the power, etc.

Why is it always the line worker who gets the blame and not the bosses?

It wasn't the bank tellers who ran us into the ground.


hschinske said...

if teacher education needs so much improvement, they why the hue and cry about these untrained people coming in to teach (TFA)?

Because time on task does mean something, even if it's not time that's being best utilized. Those students have been in the field, reading and talking and thinking, and have gone through the usual hoops of student teaching. You might as well say that you'd just as soon hire someone who'd taken only six weeks of math over someone who'd had inquiry-based math.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy Neville said...

I think there's a chicken and egg problem and TfA is attempting to solve but getting it wrong.

Teacher ed programs in US are notorious for not attracting the highest caliber students. Why not? Because those students can get better jobs with more professional respect and pay elsewhere. (Remember that UW math apologia that whined that they cannot get mathematically literate folks in Education because they get snapped up elsewhere?)

Now some folks who end up teaching ARE top caliber. Some have shown the skills and personality and intuitive nurturing ability and flexible thinking that are all needed to be a great teacher. So I am not trying to say that all who come out of traditional ed schools are lame. But it appears that some of the top caliber of teachers are here in spite of ed schools, not because of them.

So, you have to make teaching more attractive to people who have more potential to be excellent teachers. One would do that by making teaching more a respected profession. But you will only make teaching a more respected profession when you have a higher percent of high caliber highly respected teachers. Therefore the dilemma. What we are doing instead, laying the blame for all of education ills on the backs of teachers, increasing class sizes and demands on teachers while eliminating due process. "Fixing" a broken teacher performance evaluation process by making it even more broken, how is that moving in the right direction?

So what to do? Attract higher caliber students how? By making teaching more attractive? So that's why Rhee and others tried to increase pay so dramatically. But they did that by increasing the punitive aspects of teacher evaluation by junk science. TfA wants to attract higher caliber folk to teaching, but only as a stepping stone to a "real" career. And before I get blasted, TfA's definition of higher caliber means they were more successful grade-wise in college and show a lot of initiative in other interests. Now that can be good, but is it the best criteria? I do not know.

My wishful thinking solution would take lots of money and years. I think there needs to be a lot more team teaching, a lot more teacher directed curriculum development (so more time allotted to teachers doing this work). More teacher peer to peer mentoring, more peer to peer evaluations. Isn't that along the lines with how Finland succeeded in overhauling their education system?

Maureen said...

Full of ?s, From my perspective, people too often put this argument in terms of black and white: Colleges of Education GOOD and TFA BAD, or vice versa.

In reality, some but not all Ed Schools are doing a good to excellent job and there are some situations in which a TFA CM's on the job training is the best we can hope for for a given position.

What I see as the real issue is that none of the actors in this debate seem to be doing the work to find out what makes the effective COEs work and trying to replicate that. Instead programs like TFA focus on one perceived weakness seen in many COEs (the 'best and brightest' thing) and throw away all of the other best practices that they could learn from if they looked. (I expect, in large part, because they are creating leaders not teachers.)

Teaching is a profession. TFA is a job training program. I think supporting and replicating the work of quality COEs would benefit all of our kids.

Side note: if we closed down 92% of our COEs, who exactly would be teaching our kids? Even below average COEs are screening candidates, teaching them basic job skills and supervising their student teaching. TFA isn't interested in doing that on a large scale. Would we expect the school districts to do that work themselves?

dan dempsey said...

Dear Full of Questions,

I began teaching without a degree or student teaching but with some training in schools. I had an Idaho teaching credential it was 1968 and Idaho required three years of college credits, 10 semester hours of Ed courses, and a good letter of recommendation for a teaching certificate.

#1. More time in schools would have been beneficial to me. Not necessarily more education courses me and especially for year one. Certainly not courses taken during the first year while I was teaching. This was close to a 24/7 experience.

#2. I was teaching under a largely ideal circumstances. Rural location, (only 2 broadcast TV channels and they both had "snow", Catholic School, every student but one with original mom and dad, except one. Huge community support for accountability for behavior in school.

#3. TfA corp members are going into much more challenging situations than my comparative first year cake walk. TfA corp members have essentially ZERO time in the classroom. A year ago my son did student teaching in grade 1 first semester in a 40% low income school. Second semester at 86.4% low-income Boze elementary in Tacoma for grade 3 student teaching. He is now teaching grade 1 in Oakville, WA - 85.6% low-income, 19.6% SpEd, 24% Native American.

#4 In Oakville there were more than 100 fully certificated applicants for that first grade job. It is a huge crap shoot hiring off an interview when a person has no classroom experience.

#5. The SPS ignored the requirements of the WAC on conditional certification. The TfA fiasco is driven by those in high positions not by student needs. This TfA invasion was in the planning at the Professional Educator Standards Board and elsewhere since at least December of 2009.

#6 OSPI and the PESB have decided that it is up to each district to see that WAC 181-79A-231 is implemented. Essentially the regulators are saying ... yup it is our WAC but we will not check for compliance .. that is not our job.

#7 The district sent in application without being in compliance with the WAC. Written Laws and regulations mean nothing in Seattle and it is not possible to get the directors and the Superintendent to comply with many laws, regulations, and policies. The only avenue to appropriate decision-making is to get better board members... Given the last 4 years all of the incumbents should be tossed.

#8 ... There is a big problem with the CoEs in the nation ... that hardly makes TfA in Seattle a solution. TfA in Seattle is part of the de-professionalization of education.... be sure an ask Rep. Eric Pettigrew and Sen. Rodney Tom how to move forward with this fiasco.

#9 ... University of Chicago shut down its CoE several years ago.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am not going to pretend to know all about educating people to be teachers. Dan answered that a lot more clearly than I can. Here's what I can say:

"....people coming from those programs only should be allowed in a classroom as primary teachers"

I support alternative methods of certification but TFA is the most abbreviation thing I have ever seen. Other methods are better to allow people with college degrees and job experience to change jobs to becoming teachers. So no, I do not support only one method to create new teachers.

You state that people don't want teachers assessed who came from COEs. Where did anyone on this blog say that? I know I didn't.

Of course teachers should be assessed for their work. There should be multiple measures (and I include parent input but that will probably never happen)and not just test scores. That SEA negotiated for new assessments should tell you something about their commitment. Seniority is still in there but the district (and the Board) agreed to that. All sides need to rethink that one.

My understanding of the COE issue is that it is two-fold. One, it hasn't evolved much and kept a course of classes and then student teaching. That may not be working anymore. Some of the classwork may be outdated. COEs have known this for years and the smart ones have changed. (The UW COE e-mails show concern on the part of the pro-TFA faculty that their own program is in danger. They know the issue is there; the question is, what are THEY doing about it?)

Two, who is choosing to be a teacher? The sense is that it's not always as many top-tier students as it used to be. (Clearly TFA thinks they get most of them.)

So is that a chicken or egg thing? Do you start with students who are not at the top of their college class? Or do you have lesser quality teaching colleges that top students wouldn't pick?

Throw in NCLB and those constant pressures on teachers. That's been since 2000 and unleashed a tidal wave of testing.

Then, you get the current demonization of teachers and the call for more and deeper teacher assessments.

And, have teachers' salaries gone up much in the last 10 years? No.

So you get students saying, "why would I be a teacher?" That pushes students who might make great teachers out of the profession if they feel there will only be a "teach to the test" classroom mode and a big brother watch over their work.

That's why Dorothy is right about it being a national issue. We need to figure out what is going to attract good people to teaching and how to teach them to be great teachers AND stay in teaching.

I will never support a revolving door of teachers. It is not the way to build a solid foundation of a teaching corps for our country.

StopTFA said...

At the risk of the pot calling the kettle black, the UW prepared a table for its U-ACT proposal that outlined how TFA's summer training aligned with state credentialing requirements. As you can see, there is little overlap or instructional value in TFA's crash course in "leadership."

Anonymous said...

Schools of Ed are generally theory with minimal practice. The number one "skill" or asset a new teacher needs is classroom management. Pedagogical prowess can come with time as long as a person knows their content. For me, as a newly trained teacher fresh out of my student teaching (completed at Cleveland HS 11 years ago), substitute teaching taught me more about relationships and management than ANY class could have in my training program. It was only after working as a sub that I became "schooled" in now to keep the ship moving without kids jumping overboard or drilling holes in the hull.
When I think of how a program might replicate real, on the job training like that which came from subbing, I cannot. It might need to become part of the "licensing requirements" on the part of the state. Nothing is like walking into a room with a target on your chest (as is the case when you are a sub) and a "filler" lesson plan.

-glad I subbed first ... (signed)

because, as WV says, now I "kicasis" as a teacher.

Anonymous said...

finger flub.

now should be "how"

-teach because I cannot type

seattle citizen said...

I think the subject is covered pretty well by other bloggers, including Melissa and StopTFA. BUt you asked for my input, too (I guess we three are the go-to people on teacher preparation! Yay!)

I'll begin with a snippet of Glad-I-Subbed-First's words (and subbing first is a damned good idea! Make it so.)

Potential teachers should become "schooled" in [h]ow to keep the ship moving without kids jumping overboard or drilling holes in the hull."

Ha! No doubt. Teaching takes enormous amounts of on-the-job experience (and subbing is a good way to get it: Target, indeed!)

So the first order of business is GREAT mentoring. I don't know TFA's ratio (how many, uh, "teachers" each of its mentors mentors) but one-on-one would be ideal. These mentors, such as those provided by SPS/SEA-bargained Star Mentors, ideally are well-schooled in the variety of things I teacher needs to know (which is considerably more than what TFA evidently expects its "teacher" to know, which seems to be just classroom management and test prep.)

That one thing, mentoring new teachers, is probably the most valuable thing I can think of. But don't count on it happening, because it costs FTE: $$$.

Even if there are great mentors, a teacher, before subbing, should learn some of the basics of Special Ed law (particularly - this is very, very important: Mainly because SpEd laws are GOOD, but also because they are the law, and also because many aspects of SpEd law apply to broader ways of thinking about students). But also "multiple intelligences," or some other sort of undertanding about learning styles; history of education so a teacher knows the system and can help be a part of it (instead of just closing the classroom door...which is unfortunately common); content area teaching skills; and yes, some knowledge of differing pedagogies. oh, and classroom management, classroom management, classroom management. That might be one thing TFA has right (if they are looking at all aspects, and not just "how to manage to get good test prep.")

THEN: Student teaching with good mentor teachers. This way, a teacher wannabe has the experience (prior to subbing) of working under a great teacher (if great teachers step up: It's not as easy as one would think to secure a teacher willing to take in a student teacher - yes, their are benefits, but there are also responsibilities and time commitments...No one is MADE to take student teachers, and that process is cumbersome: wannabes don't always get the sort of teacher they want, or the content area, etc.
Perhaps an ideal world would provide incentives to teachers to have time to mentor/supervise student teachers in a bit more organized fashion...)

And, as has been pointed out: Respect. Teachers are under fire from all directions, often unfairly and painfully. You want "the best and brightest" four million teachers? Make it worth their while and stop with the attacks already.

TFA is a full-frontal attack on teachers: "We can do it better with our best and brightest and shiny five-week wonders who really, really know how to fix the achievement gap!"
Gimme a break. What are experienced, professional, certified teachers? Chpped liver? It's a blatant attack, and extremely disrespectful. If you want five-week hacks who are outta there in three years (on to the supposed "leadership" roles in the burgeoning privatization of publci education) then that's what you'll get. We can reorganize COEs into Macdonalds Academies, where potential...data managers...are taught how to manage...data..., put into classrooms for starting pay, worked to the bone 'til they bail, then another wave of grunts takes their place.

The result? Dumb high school graduates who all scored "at level" on the test.


Charlie Mas said...

First, I would really encourage folks to watch the video of the Town Hall meeting, The Best Teachers for our Children on the Seattle Channel.

I don't think that the colleges of education are all that wonderful. As others have noted, their "research" is atrocious. It rarely meets any standards for other sciences - even behavioral sciences. Moreover, I don't think they are really doing all that good of a job preparing teachers.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that they ever could. A really big part of being a good teacher is having a wealth of experience on which to draw. That experience comes from standing in front of a class, not sitting in one.

If Teach for America has a real shortcoming in the training regimen it is the lack of live practice opportunities. Traditionally trained teachers get a lot more time in front of students before they are allowed to be the teacher of record.

Again, please don't get me wrong. I admire what Teach for America does in a lot of places. We just don't need them here. It's like sending CARE packages to Bel Air.

I think one of the best things that a college of education can do is teach their students how to extract the most from their experiences.

Beyond all that, I think the role of teacher is really changing. Teachers are no longer expected to be dispensers of information. In school their focus is shifting towards almost a coaching and mentoring role - fostering students' motivation, facilitating collaboration, and guiding investigation. The focus is shifting from making statements to asking questions - open-ended questions.

I'm sure that each colleges of education is at a different point on that curve - some too far out in front of it and some too far behind it.

Charlie Mas said...

As I wrote " In school their focus is shifting"

What I meant to add was that they are also expected to look outside of school for their students. If we are going to close the academic achievement gap we are going to have to work to close the opportunity gap. That means taking a real interest in providing any opportunities or exposure that students may be missing.

seattle citizen said...

Yes, Charlie, "good teaching" means "everybody is teaching well," not just the teachers. It is unfair to burden teachers with the sole responsibilty of community/parent/guardian outreach to help support students: The community, system-wide, should have this built in so EVERYBODY is doing it. Unless you want to dramatically reduce teacher's class-sizes and pay them for evening visits, etc...But really, the community should be supporting the students, not the teacher reaching out to the community to do it.

dan dempsey said...

Drawing this discussion to my huge objection to the Seattle TfA approval, the Approval was not legal. It did not meet the requirements of the WAC. Neither Holly Ferguson or the Board cared to acknowledge the repeated questions about a careful review of all options for closing the achievement gaps.

This question was "THE REALLY BIG DEAL" because the failure to conduct such a review means that the SPS does not meet the WAC requirement to even request conditional certificates for TFA Corp members.

Here is my letter to Randy Dorn and David Kinnunen.

Occupy Wall Street ... Occupy Seattle...

The place that needs occupying is the JSCEE .. this board is a complete disgrace on the TfA situation.

A top down inside job to bring in TfA ... the rules do not matter. The legal system is a joke.
WAC 181-79A-231 is a poster child.

seattle citizen said...

Beyond the legal issue TFA's entrance into Seattle is just a disgrace. There never has been any rational justification for it put forth; it is, prima facia, a blatant manipulation behind the scenes; and no one on the board except for Director Patu has raised even a smidgeon of concern about how it is an organization that ostensibly provides people to staff unfilled positions comes to be a viable alternative to the state-certified candidates that clamor for positions.

Almost a hundred certified teachers applied for ONE position at South Shore, yet somehow the single TFA candidate, sans certification, was able to compete on a "level" playing field with those certified candidates...and won the position.

This speaks volumes of the collusion between state, district, and TFA in arriving at that point, where the intent of state law on certification was warped beyond recognition (and STILL without a sensible rationale) to get TFA in.

The discussion here points to some great ideas regarding teacher certification and the need to constantly re-evaluated what, in fact, it should mean. But TFA showed us that no certification is necessary, that any ol' body, IF they work for TFA, can just magically become a teacher.

It's a farce and a disgrace to all involved, and a huge slap in the face to teachers throughout the district.

Anonymous said...

TFA is like when the richest guy in town cuts in line at the butcher shop and then the butcher waits on him.

The only reason those students are getting into classrooms is because Kopp and Co. have the bucks to get them in the front door.

I agree that most COEs are a joke--
if teachers in preparation were able to study good research (in the vein of Dan Dempsey's pitch VISIBLE LEARNING), spend extensive time in and out of the classroom with a mentor teacher, and have another series of experiences in schools with a range of demographics, I think most new teachers would be off to a good start.

--Dan Dempsey rocks

Catherine said...

Dan D - I'd like to suggest - if you haven't already - finding out what the state attorney general needs as far as standing for filing on this violation. I think you need a harmed party - which could be one of the other 100 applicants. It might be time well spent... and the only way to get any movement on this issue. Reporting to OSPI and the SSD is reporting to the fox guarding the hen house.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know what the responders truly know about local colleges of education. When was the last time you've talked with faculty or truly looked into what goes on in our local teacher preparation programs?

Teacher educator

Jan said...

RosieReader -- REALLY good question (and as I hoped/suspected, you are NOT the outlier on this issue). I have from time to time gotten this sort of "out of body" experience during the TfA discussions -- as in -- why are we all going so Joan of Arc over teachers' education -- when many who have been through it, or who have read the course catalogs/course descriptions -- are pretty confident that many teachers colleges are not worth the time and money students spend.

Much of it, I think, comes from the fact that people recognize pretty easily the huge flaws in the TfA approach -- but the only "weapon" readily at hand seems to be the "they are not properly certified teacher" one -- so we use it, even though if we stopped long enough and contemplated what manner of weapon we were holding, we would be dismayed.

Way too many good posts, by people who know way more than I do on how to become a good teacher, -- but thanks for raising this most interesting question. It is too bad that we are spending so much time fending off the predations of TfA that we, as a society, are distracted from the much BIGGER task of figuring out how to truly improve teacher quality.

dan dempsey said...

It is too bad that we are spending so much time fending off the predations of TfA that we, as a society, are distracted from the much BIGGER task of figuring out how to truly improve teacher quality.

Amen to that.

So why do we allow school directors to approve these kinds of actions and stay in office? Guess I need to wait until November after elections are finalized to ask that question.

seattle citizen said...

Jan, you write that "many who have been through [COE], or who have read the course catalogs/course descriptions -- are pretty confident that many teachers colleges are not worth the time and money students spend."

But as Teacher Educator asks in the post before yours, "When was the last time you've talked with faculty or truly looked into what goes on in our local teacher preparation programs?"

I think we all know that change is good, and as Charlie points out education is a different animal than it was even a mere 15-20 years ago so COEs should be changing...But really, this conversation is predicated on some Harvard COE professor saying all the COEs but Harvard's are crap, but how do we know that? Harvard is a gung-ho Reform COE, so it could be read as yet another atack on educators by attacking THEIR educators.

In that view, COE professors are too namby-pamby, teaching all that junk "social science" such as the psychology of the adolescent and the cultures of people. That ain't HARD science, not like that great data we generate from test prep prep.

So yes, COEs should always be changing, as should the teachers they CERTIFY, or offer ADVANCED DEGREES TO, but are COEs all that bad, generally? I know plenty of people who had, overall good experiences with them and learned many important things.

So anyone who thinks COEs are somehow mostly bad, please supply the evidence.

Thenk yew. Thenk yew verra mush.

WV has a bitypet. Must be a chihuahua!

NLM said...

The SOE at my alma mater was almost shut down (the punishment would have been well-deserved) before being overhauled. It was a known campus embarrasment. I took one class to explore adding a teaching cert in 1996 and went running for the hills. The content was non-existent, what passed for teaching was little more than ruminations on the condition of man. I could not believe how infantilizd the students were (elementary classroom management techniques were practiced on adults). It was AWFUL! http://www.scribd.com/doc/44854802/Urban-Education-Meets-the-Digital-Age The worst part is that I have some really good friends who went through that program (one is now a principal) but I think that outcome is in spite of the education they received, not because of it.

seattle citizen said...

Thnaks, NLM - Sounds like Rossier changed big-time. I like this part:
"Gallagher explains it thus: “We don’t use‘urban’ as a geographical marker. Instead, weuse it to refer to the kinds of students andschool communities that one encounters ingreater magnitude in urban areas – but thatcould, and do, exist elsewhere.” While it’strue USC Rossier is in the middle of a majormetropolis, the issues at the core of its mission –questions of migration and immigration, diver-sity (cultural, racial, linguistic) and economicdisparities – are all crucial parts of creating andsustaining an effective educational system, nomatter where it might be.As Gallagher sees it, urban education bringseveryone to the table, helping meet the needsof “families living in poverty, schools with alarge percentage of students receiving free andreduced-price school lunch, English languagelearners and under-resourced schools,” whetherthose needs crop up downtown, in the suburbsor in remote areas."

dan dempsey said...

Sorry SC,

I am not buying this:
"I think we all know that change is good"

If the district provided Bat Guano as a breakfast cereal, that would be a change. It would not be good.

We have seen the equivalent of Bat Guano delivered far to often.

Do NOT confuse changes with solutions ... even if the Action Reports call changes best practices.


Bat Guano .... the other B.S.

NLM said...

The university has always been very involved with and tied to the community and had a natural pipeline of students interested in teaching and learning because of all the volunteer opportunities available in local schools. The SOE was unable to harness that interest and talent pool because the academic offerings were so poor. It was as if all that Pres. Sample was working on to improve the quality of teaching and learning had completely passed by the SOE. At a time when the incoming freshman class averaged neary 1300 on the old SAT and 3-400students a year were volunteering and tutoring in local schools through the Joint Educational Project, McNair Scholars, Upward Bound, etc., they couldn't get more than 30 undergrads to bite. I really like he new direction they've taken. IMHO,it's everything that an urban SOE should be...flexible, relevant and affordable.

seattle citizen said...

@Dan -
You write that you are "not buying this:
'I think we all know that change is good':

I meant that we should all be adaptable over time, recognize changing situations, not that change for its own sake is good, not that all changes are good.

"change" as a way of life....man.

And I argue with your statement that "Bat Guano as a breakfast cereal, that would be a change. It would not be good":

"Guano deposits support a great variety of...species, which rely on bat faeces as their sole nutrient input."

Not that we are "...cave-adapted invertebrate....species" but still, it sounds heathy!

source: wikipedia. Take it or leave it.

Word verifier thinks Wikipedia is just WORDS! As are these, Dan, as are these...

seattle citizen said...

The League of Education Voters has a thread up about TFA. They cite a report saying that TFA people are staying in classrooms longer. One comment suggests that the report cited also says that most TFA leave the building they were placed in (poverty). The second commenter responds that "They don’t always leave the profession; they often transfer to other schools with better working conditions or administrative leadership. Roughly translated this means poor schools lose these more experienced teachers and richer schools get them and retain them. This is pretty common knowledge."

I tried to comment on it, but of course LEV banned me long ago, when I was loudly complaining about their Our Schools Astro Turf Coalition, so I can't. I've been banned. Censored. Deleted as too NY or something.

If I COULD comment, I'd request data AND aska a question:
Where is this data that says experienced teachers leave poverty schools? Show me and I'll be convinced, I swear. The data I looked at on SPS a couple months ago showed similar average experience in all schools, pretty much.

Secondly, IF teachers (including TFA) "often transfer to other schools with better working conditions or administrative leadership," doesn't that just tell us we should improve working conditions and provide better leadership, instead of feeding the the supposed flight out of poverty schools of TFA and non-TFA alike?

Seems like a no-brainer, but the commenter on the LEV thread (from which I permanently 86ed, I guess)seems to think that TFA is still...better...somehow that having actual trained and student-teaching-experienced and sub-experienced teachers in those buildings.


WV grows flowers that wave: hythea

seattle citizen said...

Ah, I just googled the author of the LEV comment that was so complimentary of TFA; turns out he's an intern at CEDR: Center for Education Data & Research, our own UW Reform think tank.
THAT explains it! He's also pursuing an ed management career whilst at UW. Of course! Why teach? Managers make more money.