Is teacher education a disaster?

One of the biggest debates in public education today is over how to best educate student teacher for the rigors of the classroom, the Washington Post reports. This is the third and final part of a series on the subject by scholar Mike Rose, who is on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and author of  books that include Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education and Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America. A revised and expanded version of his latest book, Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us“, is due out in February…

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Obama administration launches education initiative for military kids

There are nearly 2 million students whose parents are either on active duty, members of the National Guard or Reserves, or military veterans, according to the Military Child Education Coalition.

Madeline Stevens knows what it’s like to be a military brat.

“The first week of school, it’s really hard,” said Stevens, a 17-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., who has moved eight times with her naval aviator father and attended 10 different schools. “You sit by yourself at lunch, you try and make friends in classes. When you’re younger it’s easier because, you know, you just share crayons, and you’re new best friends.”

But in high school, Stevens said she’s had to integrate herself into sports and clubs to make friends, many of whom already have known each other most of their lives. The shuffle also has been a strain academically.…Read More

Is ‘filling the pail’ any way to train teachers?

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” I keep this quote on my desk, says Carol Corbett Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York, for the Washington Post. No one knows who authored it — it is often misattributed to William Butler Yeats. Whoever created it was wise indeed for those whose vocation is educating students upon hearing it, recognize its truth. I reflect on that quote often these days. I worry that the pail fillers are determining the fate of our schools. The ‘filling of the pail’ is the philosophy of those who see students as vessels into which facts and knowledge are poured. The better the teacher, the more stuff in the pail. How do we measure what is in the pail? With a standardized test, of course. Not enough in the pail? No excuses. We must identify the teachers who best fill the pail, and dismiss the rest.  However, educational research as well as the wisdom that comes from instructional practice, tell us that learning happens in the mind of the learner. There is an engagement, a lighting of the fire, which must occur for deep learning to happen. As a young and somewhat naïve teacher, I once argued with Madeline Hunter that if my teaching were perfect, all students would perfectly learn. She smiled and told me that I was wrong…

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Study: Student progress can be tied to teacher education

The differences between the best and the worst teacher education programs were as significant as differences between teachers at different experience levels or with different class sizes.

The academic progress of public school students can be traced, in part, to where their teachers went to college, according to new research by the University of Washington Center for Education Data & Research.

But the center’s director, Dan Goldhaber, cautioned that the study is just a first step toward determining what kind of training—not where the training occurred—best prepares teachers for excellence in the classroom.

Even so, it’s the kind of information U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan would like every school to have access to, and that’s why he recently announced a new program to use federal dollars to pay for similar research.…Read More

Editorial: How to improve teacher education now (and why Teach for America isn’t the answer)

A bill recently introduced in Congress, the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act, would designate programs based outside of universities as special academies for preparing teachers and principals, says Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and former president of Teachers College, Columbia University. This misses the fundamental problem: a number of the nation’s teacher education programs are failing. It makes more sense to close the weak programs than to pay to create bandaids over them…

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New effort aims to turn teacher education ‘upside down’

Aspiring teachers need more time in classrooms to learn their trade, according to a new report.

Eight states are beginning a national pilot program to transform teacher education and preparation to emphasize far more in-field, intensive training—as is common practice in medical schools.

“Teaching, like medicine, is a profession of practice,” said State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who is co-chairwoman of the expert panel that released a report on the recommended changes Nov. 16 in Washington, D.C. “Making clinical preparation the centerpiece of teacher education will transform the way we prepare teachers.”

The pilot program—developed by K-12 and higher-education officials, along with teachers unions, to improve instruction—is being rolled out in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and Tennessee. The states agreed to implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning, created by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).…Read More

New teacher education program headed to 8 states

Eight states are beginning a national pilot program to transform teacher education and preparation to emphasize far more infield, intensive training as is common practice in medical schools, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Teaching, like medicine, is a profession of practice,” said State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who is co-chairwomam of the expert panel that released a report on the recommended changes Tuesday in Washington. “Making clinical preparation the centerpiece of teacher education will transform the way we prepare teachers.”

The pilot program developed by school and higher education officials with teachers unions to improve instruction is being done in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee as well as New York. The states agreed to implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning created by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Instead of exposing student teachers to varied classroom experiences at the end of their academic pursuit, the new system would put student teachers into classrooms earlier and more often. It could include rounds, similar to the system used in teaching hospitals in which mentors provide constant critiques to students in real-life situations……Read More