December 10, 2015

What's wrong with the new education act

Institute for Public Accuracy

Kenneth Zeichner, professor of teacher education at the University of Washington at Seattle: The most troubling aspect of the new legislation in regard to teacher preparation is its attempt to lower standards for teacher education programs that prepare teachers for high-poverty schools. It does this by exempting teacher preparation academies from what are referred to as ‘unnecessary restrictions on the methods of the academy.’ Here the federal government is seeking to mandate definitions of the content of teacher education programs and methods of program approval that are state responsibilities.”

Kathy Schultz, dean of the School of Education, Mills College - Most coverage of the ESSA has focused on its new regulations about high-stakes tests as the centerpiece of education reform and accountability. This is good news. In addition, the new regulations prevent the federal government from insisting on the use of the Common Core State Standards as a prerequisite for funding. Again, this is good news, especially in the emphasis throughout the new bill on local or state, rather than federal, control of education.

A critical component of the law that has drawn much less attention is its support for non-university-based teacher education programs and, in particular, its circumvention of state standards for teacher education. The new legislation would sanction the placement of teachers with minimal preparation in classrooms and would go as far as counting a certificate of completion from one of these programs as the equivalent of a master’s degree. Instead of encouraging innovation, this provision denigrates the profession of teaching and works against the goal of increasing the prestige and desirability of teaching. Even worse, it makes it more likely that poorly prepared teachers, often times
in the midst of learning to teach, are assigned to the highest poverty and most challenging schools.


LarryC said...

There are a lot of good components to the renewal of this bill, but the show stopper is not allowing the portability of a student's funding to go with them to a private or charter school. This was the one escape valve some students had to getting out of a bad environment. It is simply a way of the feds and the state keeping their hands on tax money that has heretofore been spent unwisely, to put it politely. The fact that the states are having to compete with charters to keep students is their own fault. They have kept the vast portion of funding in the administration and not spent it where it does the most good. I will not accept that any school superintendent is worth hundreds of thousands and in some cases, millions of dollars, in salary. I feel the same way about university presidents. This is a travesty to the students and to the taxpayer. These are not CEO's of private companys... who are also not worth millions but are employed by a private company so their shareholders can feed that largesse...; they are state employees. They have built their kingdoms or empires and completely neglected to see the funding gets to where it was intended. They should be charged with fraud! The bill should be sent back. Parents have spoken...they want the option of where they send their child and since its their money they should have that option, not be forced into a government created bad situation. Send the bill back!

greg gerritt said...

The charter companies are just as corrupt and incompetent as the government and the public schools.

LarryC said...

Nothing is as corrupt and incompetent as the government!