Letters to Academe of three hundred words or fewer are encouraged. Academe reserves the right to edit letters. Submit them by mail to the AAUP or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions must include the writer's name and phone number.
Inferior Programs Give Teacher Education Bad Name
HAVING TAUGHT IN EDUCATION departments and schools of education for some forty years, I was delighted to find your January-February issue devoted to "educating our teachers." I was delighted because few, if any, think that this is an important issue in higher education.
Although the teacher-training articles covered important areas, I've found that hundreds of teacher-training departments in small colleges sustain inferior teacher-training programs for the sake of simple profit taking. When I returned to Wisconsin to retire, I found a multitude of small hybrid colleges offering teacher education when they shouldn't have been doing so. And accrediting agencies like North Central have seen fit to accredit these inferior, almost malpracticing institutions.
I taught a part-time course, "Introduction to Education," at one such college where all of the teachers were parttime personnel with little, if any, academic credentials, and the staff was constantly changing. The description for my course read: "This course includes the study of historical, philosophical, and social foundations of education; organization and administration of education; classroom management and discipline; teaching strategies and learning theory; curriculum development, research, and professionalism." The class was held one night a week for fourteen weeks; the students received four credits. This course was impossible for a true professional to teach; imagine what it would be like with a part-time neophyte teacher. Indeed, courses like this are a disgrace to teacher education and deserve rebuke.
Until we in teacher education clean our own house, others will do it for us, and our public schools will go on employing candidates with inferior training from such schools. And schools of education that are excelling in teacher training will carry the images and stigma that these small, ill-equipped, and poorly staffed colleges tar them with. …