Dear Teachers: Everything You Know Is Wrong

…the director of teacher education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Katherine Merseth, told a conference in March that of the nation’s 1,300 graduate teacher training programs, only about 100 were doing a competent job and “the others could be shut down tomorrow.”
New York Times, “Do Teachers Need Education Degrees?”, 8.16.09

Always fun to see folks who agree with you come from Harvard and get quoted in the New York Times. I didn’t go to Harvard myself, only the University of New Mexico for my “teacher training”, and I feel pretty comfortable that UNM would fit squarely in the 1,200 educator training graduate schools that “could be shut down tomorrow” category.

The NYT “Room For Debate” discussion on the subject of teacher training is a good read, one I imagine would shock many teachers used to the company paradigm of:

More Education = More Better

I guess it makes sense that anything less than a 100% direct relationship between education and teacher quality would rock the world of teachers. I mean, we’re in the business of selling education. Telling people there’s a diminishing return to our product, or that some brands of our product aren’t worth buying, is antithetical to the business and the sales pitch. The time-share that is “learning” won’t be much in demand if we admit that many of the intellectual properties are situated next to a sewage treatment plant.

But is learning education? Is education learning? Are educator training programs either of those two things?

Meanwhile it’s time to forget about the theoretical for another year, and time to actually figure out what the heck my classroom is doing on the 1st Period of Day One, Thursday of this week.
About 72 hours from right now.

P.S.: And speaking of 72 hours from now, a meeting is being held today to inform schools on how we are to implement the “America’s Choice™” remediation program in Math. I’ve written a thing or two on “America’s Choice™”, and it is so beautifully apropos that we are being informed how to teach a massively intrusive (with impacts on everything from entire school “master schedules” to availability of student electives) curriculum-in-a-box three days before the beginning the school year.

You know, AFTER the schedules have already been made, and AFTER the student’s registered and got their schedules, and AFTER all that. You know. Just like they train us in those educator preparation graduate programs.

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3 thoughts on “Dear Teachers: Everything You Know Is Wrong

  1. Ye gads! STILL America's Choice???!!! One section of it is to be done in "24 minutes." 24 NO MORE. NO LESS. aaaaaaaaah! Problem is, kids DON'T COOPERATE. They don't do things in "24 minutes." Stupid little brats! They act like real, live, varying living little critters, and mess up the time parameters the …..who?…… set.Ay, Dios, liberate me from the nonsense! When…..WHEN……are people going to LOOK, and pay attention, and THINK.????

  2. More to the point, when are people going to ACT?! It seems apparent that the thinking has been going on long enough and where has that gotten us? Still the god-forsaken tests and further worthless in-a-box curriculum enriching Amerika. People are going to ACT when the looking and thinking have demonstrated that little to nothing has changed with that strategy. How might one ACT–how 'bout not doing what Amerika chooses, how 'bout engaging the little brats in some curiosity, in some "experiment of living" as Thoreau suggested?

  3. Way ahead of you on the nonsense. . .after having one whole day to set up my classroom and get everything ready for Thursday morning (now a bare 59 hours away), I am assigned to absorb yet another curriculum in a box on Tuesday and Wednesday. Yes, to be implemented on Thursday. Good times.In addition, my master's program is one of those that could be shut down immediately with no ill effect on anyone. I was so disgusted I didn't even bother to pick up my diploma.

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