Education schools can learn a lesson from business schools, which used to be a haven for mediocre students and improved dramatically, write Robert Maranto, Gary Ritter and Arthur E. Levine in Education Week.
A 1959 Ford Foundation report recommended that business schools reorganize around applied mathematics, economics, and behavioral science. The foundation spent $30 million to encourage reform, investing in “near-great schools anxious to compete with the likes of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Columbia.”
Education schools “were designed, in an era of rapid school expansion, to quickly increase the supply of teachers, no matter their quality,” the authors write.
. . . American schools of education lack sufficient academic rigor and applied acuity. Consequently, those they train—teachers and administrators at traditional public schools—often do not have the knowledge and skill for their very difficult work.
“The ambitious near-great schools, rather than the field’s leaders,” will be willing to change.
. . . we propose that contemporary schools of education, like the business schools of the 1950s, be reorganized around highly rigorous academic disciplines with well-established academic quality, and which seem likely to offer the skills and content teachers and administrators need. Psychology, biology, statistics, and content knowledge in the disciplines taught in K-12 schooling make the most likely candidates.
Education schools are worth saving, they argue.