WHAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICAN EDUCATION?

First In A Series

My advocating passion for teachers was reawakened just now. @DanaPerino (Fox News) cited the NYT article bemoaning the decline of reading scores in half the states. She continued to share her emotional upset: America is failing her students. I agree. But let’s stop wringing our hands and throwing more money at the problem. Over the next few days, I will address all issues where America falls short in preparing her young people for the real world. Here is one of the reasons our educational system is not able to keep up with other global systems.

UNIVERSITIES: Teaching teachers is not a high priority. How do I know this? I have volunteered to speak (gratis) about today’s issues in education at my state’s universities. Most will not return my phone call or email. My own alma mater finds me irrelevant. Yet when I graduated from this state university decades ago, my student teaching experience was filled with teachers, in the trenches, sharing their real life experiences. University instructors were current on the educational trends shaping our culture. Most just arrived to the university setting from at least a decade of successful public school teaching. Today, not so much.

At a recent book signing, a first year teacher stood before me. I asked her how her year was going. She looked at me with sad, blank eyes and stated: I wish my college had prepared me for the emotional drain I experience in the classroom every day. The reason why today’s post secondary education scholars cannot prepare our teachers? CHECK THEIR RESUMEĀ“S! Most have not spent more than three to five years in public education. Today’s collegiate professors could not possibly instruct classroom management, crisis intervention, active shooter response, bullying…well you get the picture. Today’s teachers are a product of an out of touch university system.

SOLUTION:

1. Hire seasoned, successful teachers currently in the field to instruct new teachers. These educators are and will continue to be the frontline in mentoring today’s new hires. 2. Stop insisting on abstract educational research for professorial tenure. 3. Instead, require professors to serve part time in a public school setting. 4. Stop reinventing the wheel. Go back to the basics of teaching math and reading. 5. Stop using professors’ untested dissertations as the next model of “how to teach anything.” What do these five proposals cost? Nothing. It does require a real dedication to mentoring America’s students through the reconfiguration of the university teacher education program.

“RESCUE THE TEACHER, SAVE THE CHILD!” raises issues and identifies solutions for students, parents, teachers and administrators. Available at Barnes & Noble/Amazon.

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