Mike Petrilli’s complaint that ed reform is in danger of morphing into the compliance police brought an interesting rejoinder from Sandra Stotsky in the comments section of this blog last week. Stotsky, a leading authority on standards and teacher quality, suggests that reforming education means reforming our schools of education. Dr. Stotsky prescribes the following:
1. Eliminate education schools as they now exist. Place the preparation of 5/6-12 subject matter teachers under the control of the academic departments whose content they should master to the extent the department itself can justify (for the grade levels they will teach). Each academic department should have funds for hiring pedagogical faculty adjuncts (preferably good teachers of the subject) for the methods coursework they need and student teaching supervision. Grades 9-12 teachers today should be required to have a MA or MS in the subject they teach. State governments can require and make these changes.
2. Place the preparation of primary grade teachers in 3-year dedicated pedagogical institutes, with candidates drawn only from the top 25% of high school graduates.
3. Eliminate all federal funding and regulations for K-12. Federal agencies should focus on faculty research and training of graduate students.
4. Eliminate the single-salary schedule.
Stotsky has more than a point in her indictment of ed schools. I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find many teachers who strongly agree with the statement “my ed school thoroughly prepared me for my classroom experience.” And it’s curious that many who think the answer to fixing education is “just fire bad teachers” aren’t equally adamant about fixing the pipeline that produced those “bad” teachers.