By BILL KELLER, NYT, 20.10.2013
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach teaching.”
This sounds like a scary aphorism, however, National Council on Teacher Quality described this summer teacher education in U.S. as “an industry of mediocrity.” Academic entrepreneurs, philanthropies like the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation are arising to compete with the public universities which have a full monopoly on ed schools. Once again, we are facing an old issue: when a (public) system is unable to reform itself from inside, then an outsider will try to do the job.
As an example, the Harlem Village Academies charter schools started a graduate education school that will be integrated with her K-12 campuses in Harlem. It will join a young cottage industry of experimental teacher training.
There are 3.3 Mln. public school teachers in America, and they … can’t all be trained by start-ups. Of course, raising up the standards of the university programs should be an urgent priority. As one of this article´s reader comments:
In spite of all the.. difficulties, there are many, many dedicated and skilled teachers. But as a society, we also have to accept that we need to pay teachers better wages to attract more talent. This is one of those cases where “the markets”, which economists are so fond of, will not help. This is purely a social and political decision, and ultimately, if we have poor teachers teaching our children, we have only ourselves to blame…
Will market be able to help or not, remains to be seen. But if one reason for the widespread mediocrity is recognized as a “cozy, lucrative monopoly” of universities, then competition will challenge this. It’s about time the leaders of our education schools did feel threatened.