California’s public universities, though heavily subsidized, are failing to give the citizens much for the money, writes Jill Stewart. In particular, teacher education is a mess.
California Education Secretary Richard Riordan says teacher colleges “are probably the worst thing about California public education. The teacher colleges produce certified teachers who can’t teach.”
. . . One problem is that skills such as arithmetic are rejected by many teachers as “drill.” Professor (David) Klein blames UC and CSU teacher colleges who hammered that view into teachers.
At Cal State Northridge, Klein is required to allow the use of calculators during finals. “My students who are going to become middle-school teachers leave Cal State Northridge unable to do long division or to multiply. … Then they go off to teach math to teenagers — but can’t do it.”
Because of the state budget crisis, UC and CSU are underfunded to meet the demand. Yet 58 percent of incoming CSU freshmen need remedial English or math or both. (Stewart notes these students can pass out of remedial classes without retaking the test they previously flunked.) It seems inevitable to me that the public universities will limit enrollment by raising standards, sending the least capable remedial students to community college.