[Note: This article first appeared as a comment to Withrow’s ETCJ article on 11.8.12. -Editor]
I was not going to respond to Frank B. Withrow‘s “Education in the 21st Century: The World Is Our Classroom.” Then I went to this meeting, and, since the recent election, I have been thinking. I know Frank. I know that he is speaking to all of the educators, but in Washington, lots of people sit on stages and affirm that there are certain practices that will change the world. I believe in Frank’s ideas and leadership. The nation turns a blind eye to the plight of children in rural, distant, unconnected and urban schools while seeking a digitized curriculum.
I don’t find it amusing that lots of the “experts,” if they have children, quickly explain that their kids go to Arlington, Montgomery, or Fairfax Schools. Never mind that lots of DC schools are in terrible need of modernity, and a few STEM schools don’t change the equation. The learning landscape is not even in DC and other places.
They just took librarians or media specialists out of DC elementary schools. I left teaching in DC years ago because of the lack of resources (Anthony Bowen is now a police station thanks to Rhee, but it is clean and no longer reeks of urine when the heat is on).
We lived through Rhee. Few have noted the ravages of her plan. Then I read Michael Keany’s “A Plan to Get the Best Teachers in the World” (11.10.12). Keany says:
In his new book, The Best Teachers in the World: Why We Don’t Have Them and How We Could [Hoover Institution, Nov. 2012], Education Sector’s John Chubb explores strategies for how the United States can cultivate and retain the best teachers in the world, all with an eye toward raising student achievement. Jeff Selingo, an Education Sector senior fellow, sat down with Chubb to discuss the book at a recent Education Sector author talk.
I was there. I am sure that you will not see me on the video. Keany continues:
Selingo started off the conversation asking Chubb to weigh the importance of teacher recruitment versus teacher training, a main theme in the book. Chubb argued that most of the evidence that drives teacher quality points to training. Selection matters, he says, and so does aptitude. But training is critical, argues Chubb. “The dominant explanation of success is what teachers learn on the job.”
At the discussion Chubb said that an Ivy League education was the key. Keany continues:
The challenge with this, however, is the variation in ongoing professional development and teacher improvement. “Training on the job needs to be structured,” says Chubb. And, part of the solution might be to focus on leadership within the school, he suggests: Does the principal provide a structure by which teachers can collaborate and learn from each other? Does she really know what good instruction looks like? What training is needed and effective? School leaders must be more focused on creating the right context and structure, argues Chubb.
Chubb’s mantra was TFA, Ivy League schools, charter schools, and KIPP.
Before KIPP there was a series of parochial schools that were successful. Scratch a successful minority, and you will find that experience or the resources of the armed forces.
TFA does not believe that teachers should make teaching a career, and, anyway, there are not enough Ivy League schools nor people who can afford them in the minority groups.
Do people really, really think that there are no good teachers except those who are TFA trained? They did mention Vanderbilt. My student, who was teaching there, left because of the short emphasis on content for TFA.
Do people really believe that the only true and measurable education takes place in Ivy League colleges and universities? That those of us who graduated from MSO, which means minority serving organizations, as chopped liver? I know that is not true. There are some good points in Chubb’s book. But the conversation and the video dis minorities who do not attend the Ivy League schools. Shame on him.
Filed under: Teacher Training |