Teacher education courses at elite colleges are weak on academic rigor and strong on bias, argues David Steiner, an education professor, in a chapter of A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom. Now Steiner is subject to a “whispering campaign,” charges Eduwonk.

Steiner’s chapter looks at the course of study in elite education programs in the United States.

. . . Steiner and Rozen found a pervasive ideological slant and a lack of rigor. They’re certainly not the first to raise these issues, but they are among the first to try to systematically analyze them because of the difficulty of compiling data on a varied set of courses and program requirements.

. . . Yet before the book even hit the shelves he found himself at the receiving end of a nasty whispering campaign. Rather than disprove his findings, or — even better — just put syllabi on the web to facilitate easier analysis by others, defenders of the status quo in schools of education have derided Steiner, often in personal terms. You won’t see much of this criticism in print with a name attached to it. But mention his work at a conference and you’ll get an earful, not about the ins and outs of the work but instead just claims about what garbage it is and what a hack Steiner allegedly is.

In addition, rather than defend what they’re teaching, schools of education argue that syllabi are largely irrelevant to what goes on in courses (that disclosure might come as a surprise to tuition paying parents, students, and taxpayers) or that Steiner’s framework is flawed. Surprisingly no one is yet rising to defend the syllabi or reading lists and forthrightly say that, “this is what we teach and we’re proud of it!”

Professor Daniel Drezner says a course syllabus isn’t irrelevant to what’s taught.

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