Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obama--radically change teacher education schools

I just read an interesting article (

It looks like the Obama administration wants to change the education prep schools. Read the article for the full low down but a quick summary is--
education schools are 'cash cows' for universities becuase lots of teachers enroll in them and the schooling costs the universities little but these schools, according to many teachers, don't really prepare teachers for the classroom.

I took classes at two different graduate education schools including Columbia University's Teachers College (one of the top ranked ones both in New York state and the nation), and I definitely agree that the schools are heavy on theory and light on the real experience and mentoring that would better server teachers new to the profession.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Obama and Extended School Year

If you're a teacher , you've probably read about Obama's desire to increase the school year in an effort to increase America's competitiveness internationally. I understand the logic in this proposal which goes something like 1) other countries' students do better on international tests than we do 2) other countries have longer school years --> therefore we should have longer school years to get better test scores.

However, nothing operates in a vacuum and, in my opinion, until America's culture shifts and students and families start putting more responsibility on the student--it really won't matter much how long the school year is --because students just don't work that hard. Yes, they might work a few more weeks under this proposal but if those weeks consist of the diluted efforts that characterize much of American students's work--then the benifit will, in my prediction, be marginal at best.

I'm sorry to say it--but a lack of work ethic pervades the attitudes of a large proportion of our youth--and I say this as someone who teaches in one of the 'top 100 public school's in the US (according to those newsweek). Until more families start to place greater responsibility and value on doing well in school, a few weeks here and there won't have much, if any, of an impact on the international academic standings of our students.

Some related articles
1) the negative economic impacts of this proposal