Duncan hits ed colleges

The nation’s education colleges are universities’ “neglected stephild,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a speech to aspiring teachers at the University of Virginia.

Often they don’t attract the best students or faculty. The programs are heavy on educational theory–and light on developing core area knowledge and clinical training under the supervision of master teachers.

Generally, not enough attention is paid to what works to boost student learning–and student teachers are not trained in how to use data to improve their instruction and drive a cycle of continuous improvement for their students. Many ed schools do relatively little to prepare students for the rigor of teaching in high-poverty and high-need schools.

In all but a few states, education schools act as the Bermuda Triangle of higher education—students sail in but no one knows what happens to them after they come out. No one knows which students are succeeding as teachers, which are struggling, and what training was useful or not.

Teacher colleges must become more rigorous and “clinical,” Duncan said.

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Comments

  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    In all but a few states, education schools act as the Bermuda Triangle of higher education—students sail in but no one knows what happens to them after they come out.

    The same can be said for most graduate programs, most colleges, and most high schools.

    I’m sure that means something but I’m not sure what.

  2. I actually agree that a more rigorous program will help, and that it would be good to cut a lot of the crap in ed. programs. I had to suffer through plenty of it myself.

    While I agree it would represent an improvement, I don’t think it would draw a single additional soul to teaching. I wanted to be a teacher and sat through whatever nonsense they threw at me.

  3. ponderosa says:

    I like the part about developing core area knowledge and clinical training. But God save me from any courses on how to use data “to drive a continuous cycle of improvement”. I don’t like this Duncan guy –he seems nice enough, but he doesn’t seem that smart and he has no credibility in my eyes. Has he ever been a teacher?

  4. If he’s drawing attention to ed schools, that’s an improvement.

  5. As someone who started as an engineer, but had to go through a school of education in order to teach, I believe public education would be greatly improved by removing all schools of education and abolishing “Education” as an academic discipline.

  6. Roger Sweeny says:

    I wanted to be a teacher and sat through whatever nonsense they threw at me.

    I am totally serious when I say this. That nonsense may be the primary usefulness of ed school.

    Look, when you actually become a teacher, you’ll have to put up with a lot of crap: time-wasting procedures, unreasonable parents, uninterested students, unsupportive and clueless higher-ups. If you’re don’t want to be a teacher enough to put up with that, you’ll wash out within a few years. By being exposed to a big load of that in ed school, you get to see how much you want it.

  7. tim-10-ber says:

    I agree with Paul!! Bravo!!

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