BY FROSTY TROY
A new policy brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education makes the case that too many teachers arrive to their first day of teaching unprepared for the challenges of a diverse set of learners.
The report sings off the same old song – requirements of teaching are now such that all students, regardless of background, can be educated to the same high level and prepared for some post-secondary education.
Want to bet? Too bad these “experts” can’t spend a week in an inner-city school, or with parents who struggle just to make ends meet – let alone seeing after homework or attending the PTA or parent days at school.
The brief lays out five critical areas where teachers “must” develop competency before entering the classroom: the ability to work with diverse learners, including special education students and English language learners; the capacity to teach adolescent literacy skills regardless of content area; the ability to effectively use assessment and data to impact teaching and learning; the ability to teach in specialized teaching environments, including urban and rural settings; and the ability to convey content knowledge in a clear manner, tailored to the academic discipline.
To ensure this, they use the oldest dodge of all – the Feds should require creation of performance-based assessments that fairly and accurately measure the effectiveness of individual teacher candidates and preparation programs, and introduce a common set of standards for a candidate’s performance before he or she becomes a full-fledged teacher.
Little wonder that the average new teacher is spending five years and quitting. Rather than get out of the way and let them teach, more and more mandates are piled on – 32 in Oklahoma.
– Frosty Troy is founding editor of The Oklahoma Observer