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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Always mediocre, teacher prep is now politicized too

Future elementary teachers get a lot of training in "equity pedagogy" at the University of Florida, writes Scott Yenor in City Journal. They may not learn much about how to teach.


He is co-author of a Claremont Institute report, Making Kindergarten Teachers into Radicals, on how the University of Florida's education school changed training for elementary education majors in 2020.


“Core Teaching Strategies,” “Mathematics Content for Elementary Teachers,” “Art Education for Elementary Schools,” and “Music for the Elementary Child,” among others, were replaced with a new four-course sequence “centered on equity pedagogy.” Suffused with critical race theory, equity pedagogy makes raising consciousness and eliminating racial gaps — not subject matter mastery or effective teaching strategies — the moral imperatives of the teaching profession.

"At least ten required courses in the University of Florida’s new elementary education major have critical pedagogy embedded in their course descriptions, readings, and assignments," writes Yenor. Nearly all course assignments now "focus on self-reflection about a teacher’s own biases."


Now Florida is trying to roll back the social-justice tide, he writes. A new law forbids teacher-prep programs from teaching“theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States.”


Schools of education that offer teacher preparation programs dominated by theories of systemic racism may continue to operate, but they will not be able to certify teachers in Florida.


Teacher prep has been mediocre for decades, but now it's politicized, writes Daniel Buck in The Miseducation of America's Teachers in National Affairs.


The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) reviewed the required coursework for 13 programs for teachers-to-be in the state, writes Buck. In courses such as "Foundations of Diversity and Equity in Education" and "Equity Education & Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in the Multicultural Classroom," prospective teachers discussed articles like, "Decolonizing the Classroom," "Moving Beyond Tolerance in Education," and "Creating Classrooms for Equity and Justice." Teachers were told to be a "social justice and change agent."


In Illinois, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards will require teacher-preparation programs to train new teachers to "support and create opportunities for student advocacy," he writes. Teachers are encouraged to assess students on "social justice work" and "action research projects," that require students to investigate and advocate for various political causes.


29 Comments


superdestroyer
Jun 19

If systemic racism does not exist, then why do whites outperform black students in virtually every single public or private school in the U.S. If there is nothing wrong with the method of training then why do rural schools with mainly white blue collar students outperform the results of majority black suburban and urban schools? If there anything that Gov. DeSantis has done in the past or will do in the future that will close the achievement gap? Or does Gov. DeSantis has other ideas on why the achievement gap is so large?

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mcra99
Jun 20
Replying to

Outside of midnight basketball, what hasn't been tried? For 50 years, public school leaders have tried just about everything: more money, different curriculua including ethno- centric lessons, all black/minority staff, private sector for profit programs, smaller class sizes with two teachers in a class - you name, it it's been done. So, what gives? It's home culture and that is reflected in school culture. Schools reflect what is learned at home or not learned at home reflecting the dominant culture - the neighborhood. Everyone knows this. Why deny it?


There are exceptions, but most of those exceptions involve the support of caring/forcful individuals.


Public institutions are not equipped to solve the problems.

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buy
Jun 19

This extends beyond initial teacher training to their continuing ed as well.


Which begs the question: can we fix education with the teachers and ed schools we have?


I believe we need to build and strengthen alternate means of certification, especially in light of studies which show most teacher prep does not actually improve teaching ability.


Ann in L.A.

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buy
Jun 20
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  1. Yes. In part because it is, again, bureaucrats creating work for bureaucrats. Complicated forms, committees, etc. keep bureaucrats employed on both the compiling and receiving end. The more complicated and time consuming, the more bureaucrats are needed. Win/Win! With an average Title I grant of $320 per student, just one admin FTE ($150k per year in total compensation) per 1000 students will swallow almost half of that grant before anything is spent on education. And that's not counting the bureaucrats at the state and federal levels sucking up money as well. Stop all the paperwork and just use districts' average tax collections per household to send money automatically to districts in poor areas. The states and the feds already have more…


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mcra99
Jun 19

That was over 32 years ago. Not much nonsense taught there, but some sketchy teaching practices that didn't make sense to me. I came from the private sector at the age of 30. Professors kept telling me that the real world required those teaching practices. I told them that wasn't the case and pushed back. Three years after graduating they wanted me to come back and talk to ed students. I said much of what I would share wouldn't be kind. Much to my surprise, they said that's why we asked you come speak. Go figure...

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mcra99
Jun 19

I graduated from a large university that didn't offer under graduate degrees in education. One would choose a major in some discipline - graduate - then remain for a fifth year to earn a certificate and a master's in education. A lot of liberal arts degrees: history, English, psychology, etc. In in my class of over 100, there's was only one math degree. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. Never taught a class.


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mcra99
Jun 19

According to Thomas Sowell, the lowest SAT scores can be found in the ed schools of every university. Yes, there are exceptions. Nonetheless, a telling metric - the best are not choosing to teach, especially at the elementary level.

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mcra99
Jun 20
Replying to

Liberals control those institutions. They ignore them.

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