Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Will The Teachers’ Union Say?

WRPI.com reports - - -

According to state education officials, nearly three-quarters of the people who took the state elementary school teacher’s licensing exam this year failed the new math section.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the results Tuesday. They say that only 27 percent of the more than 600 candidates who took the test passed. The test was administered in March of this year.

The teacher’s licensing exam tested potential teachers on their knowledge of elementary school mathematics. This included geometry, statistics, and probability.

Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester was not surprised by the results. He told the Boston Globe that these results indicate many students are not receiving an adequate math education.

Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents , said "The high failure rate puts a shining light on a deficiency in teacher-prep programs."



My guess is the teachers' union will offer the usual excuses including the test was not valid and too many teacher candidates had to work while going to school.

The union and the liberal/leftist media will also offer their usual solution: more money, right now!

Hat tip: Drudge Report


Ken said...

Math knowledge can be measured with a fair degree of accuracy. Less rigid disciplines are harder to grade. My best bet is 27% of teachers are able to understand any given elementary school subject and that a vanishing small percentage are doing the jobs that they were hired for.

Anonymous said...

Teachers' Union will undoubtedly assert that it's lack of money. Just keep pouring good money after bad, they'll say, and everything will be just fine.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

I wish I recall where I saw this but someone conducted a review of courses offered at schools of education. He then computed the ratio of number of courses with the word "multiculturalism" to the number of courses with the word "mathematics." Needless to say, at some schools of education, this ratio was quite high.

Not to worry . . . I am sure that a majority of these teachers could pass a test on multiculturalism.

Anonymous said...

I do not think the scores would be any different if one tested English grammar, scientific knowledge, or historical knowledge. The problem is that all to often, students who decide to major in education are the porrer students. They receive a smattering of information in the content areas and spend most of their time taking education classes that have little to do with the bolts and nuts of teaching, let alone teaching a content driven discipline.
When I think back on the education classes that I took (I minored in secondary education - a necessity if one wanted to get a teaching license - because my father was insistent that I be emplyable when I graduated) I realize how little I learned in ANY of those classes that I have used in my long teaching career. While my knowledge of history (which I teach) was honed in the various courses that I took (and which gave me a store of knowledge that I draw upon daily), the education courses taught me nothing about how to present the material, how to evaluate my students, how to pace the material, how to deal with the various issues that confront students, how to deal with parents, as well as the give and take that exists between teachers and administrators. The education professors that I had were a worthless bunch (with one exception - but he taught educational philosophy and state funding). Was I a good teacher my first couple of years teaching - I thought I was, but I know now that I had much to learn (and did). I was fortunate to have older colleagues and an excellent principal who mentored with a deftness that allowed me to develop my own style and yet save me from embarassing mistakes.
Teaching is an art - good teachers really are born, not made by departments of education. Colleges would do better by the future teachers that they graduate by requiring that they have a good liberal arts education (a thorough grounding in math and the sciences as well as the humanities) and insisting that the future teachers have depth within a discipline instead of a smattering of lower level courses.