ERIC Number: ED493850
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Mar-16
Teacher Education: Coming Up Empty. Fwd: Arresting Insights in Education. Volume 3, Number 1
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation & Institute
Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, takes on teacher education in this essay published for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation's white paper series "Fwd: Arresting Insights in Education." Walsh highlights a 2005 study, "Studying Teacher Education," a nearly 800-page report by a panel of the American Educational Research Association Panel on Research and Teacher Education, in which the nation's leading teacher educators admit that there is little evidence to prove the effectiveness of the methods used to prepare the nation's teachers. While applauding the panel's admission of this failure, she calls them out on a lack of attention to both the achievement gap and scientific reading strategies. Walsh writes that "The achievement gap, unquestionably the primary education problem of the 21st Century, is mentioned by name only once in the volume, and then only to assert a baseless theory that the gap may be caused (partially) by too many White teachers in the classroom." Walsh states that the report does not mention that some pedagogies and curricula have demonstrated far more effectiveness than others. Instead, teacher candidates are encouraged to arrive at their own solutions by developing their own "equity pedagogy," meaning that the teacher candidate should devise their own "methods and materials that support the academic achievement of students from diverse and minority groups" by creating curriculum based on student's backgrounds. Walsh asks, "And if the novice gets it wrong?" She also asks what happens after the child sitting before the teacher is black and poor and says the same can said for the few references to English as a Second Language teacher preparation. Teacher candidates are taught to appreciate the diversity of the non-English speaking child, with preparation programs bearing no responsibility for imparting strategies for helping them learn the language. Walsh states that the most remarkable question that was not asked by the AERA panel was whether programs effectively teach reading instruction to teacher candidates and that reading instruction is completely missing when it comes to preparing candidates to teach high-poverty, high-minority, and special-education populations. Walsh finds the AERA panel's report omission "breathtaking" that the extensive science packaged by the National Reading Panel is ignored. Walsh concludes this article by stating that: "In ignoring the role that teacher education could play in giving teachers the necessary skills to alleviate the ill-effects of poverty, the profession misses its best chance to counter its many critics," and instead passes on its mandate to help correct educational inequities, thus consigning itself to irrelevance.
Descriptors: Teacher Educators, Educational Research, Theory Practice Relationship, Teacher Education, Minority Groups, Teacher Effectiveness, Reading Strategies, Non English Speaking, Language Teachers, Preservice Teacher Education, Program Effectiveness, Instructional Effectiveness, Educational Quality, Educational Strategies, Learning Strategies, Teaching Skills
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation & Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.edexcellence.net/foundation/publication/index.cfm
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Washington, DC.