Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Editorial - Mounting Casualties

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Editorial - Mounting Casualties

Article excerpt

I SAT in on a meeting of several deans of schools of education a couple of months ago and listened to them describe the problems they are facing these days. Their biggest concern was not recruitment but reinvention - defining a new role for schools of education in the face of competition from private providers of certification and professional development, who claim to be able to do "the same" job in less time for less money. Lack of resources and a perhaps dysfunctional attempt to imitate the arts and sciences, rather than the professional schools, were other problems the deans mentioned. But one dean focused on something else.

"We have to make certain that very bright young people feel that it's all right to want to teach," she said. "They've heard for so long, 'You're too smart to be a teacher,' and we have to counter that idea."

"Too smart to be a teacher" was an idea prevalent in my undergraduate days, as well. But when I finally came to teaching as a late bloomer, I discovered how creative and fulfilling the job can be.

That was then; this is now. Today is the era of test-prep in many states, and test-prep can stamp out creativity in the classroom.

Jim Panoch, a former northern Indiana educator who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, often sends me thick packets of clippings from his local newspaper, the Palm Beach Post. One recent packet included a September 20 "Teacher's Letter," written by Lauren Caprara, who provides a case in point.

Ms. Caprara said, "It is because of the FCAT [Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests] and the impossible, asinine expectations that the state is putting on the 14th-largest school district and its classroom teachers in Palm Beach County that I resigned from my teaching position on July 31. …

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