Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
The answer is not very reassuring.
According to a new study released Tuesday, America’s teacher-training programs do not adequately prepare would-be educators for the classroom, even as they produce almost triple the number of graduates needed. The survey examined more than 1,000 programs nationwide (WI got a D+).
Authors of The National Council on Teacher Quality review wrote, “ Through an exhaustive and unprecedented examination of how these schools operate, the review finds they have become an industry of mediocrity, churning out first-year teachers with classroom management skills and content knowledge inadequate to thrive in classrooms. A vast majority of teacher preparation programs do not give aspiring teachers adequate return on their investment of time and tuition dollars.”
A troubling reality is that once a teacher is entrenched in a classroom, it becomes extremely difficult to remove him or her involuntarily and wholesale retraining is nearly impossible to find. The National Council on Teacher Quality sees the solution is to make it less easy for students to get into teacher preparation programs. When they do get there, they should be instructed the most effective methods to help students.
These findings about teacher preparation programs were described as “alarming”:
Less than 10 percent of rated programs earn three stars (out of four) or more.
It is far too easy to get into a teacher preparation program. Just over a quarter of programs restrict admissions to students in the top half of their class, compared with the highest-performing countries, which limit entry to the top third.
Fewer than one in nine elementary programs and just over one-third of high school programs are preparing candidates in content at the level necessary to teach the new Common Core State Standards now being implemented in classrooms in 45 states and the District of Columbia.
The “reading wars” are far from over. Three out of four elementary teacher preparation programs still are not teaching the methods of reading instruction that could substantially lower the number of children who never become proficient readers, from 30 percent to under 10 percent. Instead, the teacher candidate is all too often told to develop his or her “own unique approach” to teaching reading.
Rookie teachers "don't know how to teach reading, don't know how to master a classroom, don't know how to use data," said Kate Walsh, the National Council on Teacher Quality’s president. "The results were dismal."
The Washington Post editorializes:
“Those who believe - as we do - that teachers should be viewed and treated as professionals should welcome a study that might help them get the training demanded by the hard jobs they do."
One would think.
Not surprisingly, many in the education intelligentsia don’t. Again, that’s to be expected from a profession that believes it’s above criticism that is simply bashing. The information in the new study is already being characterized as “flawed.”
As critical as teachers are, they are, from a PR perspective, their own worst enemy. They have the worst jobs, the worst compensation, the worst working conditions, and all people do is bash. Just ask or listen to them.
The whining doesn’t work. According to Gallup, 53% are dissatisfied with the quality of public education.