Most teachers have attended education schools that set low admission and graduation standards, concludes Educating School Teachers, a new report written by Arthur Levine, former president of Teachers College, Columbia University.
. . . most education schools are engaged in a “pursuit of irrelevance,” with curriculums in disarray and faculty disconnected from classrooms and colleagues. These schools have “not kept pace with changing demographics, technology, global competition, and pressures to raise student achievement,” the study says.
A majority of teacher education alumni (61 percent) reported that schools of education did not prepare graduates well to cope with the realities of today’s classrooms, according to a national survey conducted for the study. School principals also gave teacher education programs low grades, with fewer than one-third of those surveyed reporting that schools of education prepare teachers very well or moderately well to address the needs of students with disabilities (30 percent), a diverse cultural background (28 percent) or limited English proficiency (16 percent).
Levine is not willing to get rid of ed schools, points out Alexander Russo. He’s also vague on how teacher preparation programs can be forced to change.
More teachers are skipping the ed-school route. Nearly a third of new Washington, D.C. teachers come from Teach for America and an alternative fellowship program that bypasses education schools, reports Education Sector These alternate-route teachers were graduated from more selective colleges with significantly higher grades than conventionally trained D.C. teachers.
Update: Jenny D, whose ed school, University of Michigan, was praised by the Levine study summarizes the major points.