Common Sense on Teacher Training

Today’s Wall Street Journal had an in­ter­est­ing op-ed on teacher train­ing that I think presents a good com­mon sense per­spec­tive. The two key points:

  1. Get rid of grad­u­ate de­grees in ed­u­ca­tion as a re­quire­ment to teach. (Teachers of sin­gle sub­jects should have a de­gree re­lated to the sub­ject.)
  2. The re­spon­si­bil­ity for train­ing teach­ers should be with the school dis­tricts.

The ar­ti­cle points out that there al­ready are many al­ter­na­tive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams out there with a bet­ter de­gree of suc­cess.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission found in a 2012 study that sev­eral al­ter­na­tive-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams were among the state’s most ef­fec­tive teacher-train­ing pro­grams. Their suc­cess af­firms that the tech­ni­cal teach­ing skills learned while in the class­room are gen­er­ally far more im­por­tant than all the the­ory learned in col­lege.

One ad­van­tage (men­tioned in the ar­ti­cle) of push­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity to the dis­trict level is the eat­ing-your-own-dog-food in­cen­tive for dis­tricts. However, the im­pact of teacher train­ing re­ally oc­curs at the school or class­room level, so I don’t see the in­cen­tive work­ing as well as the au­thors think.

Also, be­cause it might be hard for smaller school dis­tricts to sup­port a train­ing pro­gram, the county of­fices of ed­u­ca­tion would have to of­fer a train­ing pro­gram in these cases. It might make more sense to just have the county of­fice con­trol all the train­ing.

Anyway, read the ar­ti­cle:

Nemko and Kwalwasser: Why Teacher Colleges Get a Flunking Grade — WSJ.com.

or try this:

Nemko and Kwalwasser: Why Teacher Colleges Get a Flunking Grade — Barrons.com