Is @TeachForAmerica Cloaking Inequity?: Discussing the Headwind

Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig, author of the blog, Cloaking Inequity, provides an important look into the nature of Teach for America, and why it is not the way teachers for our schools should be prepared, or hired.  He writes:

After several decades, Teach For America, a program that sends inexperienced teachers (typically only 5 weeks of summer training) before they are shipped off to teach on a temporary basis (primarily) in America’s toughest schools, is facing some headwind. Alumni are increasingly speaking out against the organization, many of whom who joined Teach For America…read the full story here:

Is @TeachForAmerica Cloaking Inequity?: Discussing the Headwind.

Pearson Just Saved Us $82 Million: Where’s The Money?

Field Test Locations for the PARCC Field Tests Given to One Million Students. Source of map; PARCC Website. Extracted May 5, 2014
Field Test Locations for the PARCC Field Tests Given to One Million Students. Source of map; PARCC Website. Extracted May 5, 2014

According to an Education Week article by Sean Cavanagh, Pearson won a the major contract with PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) to develop test items, delivery of paper-and-pencil and computerized test forms, reporting of the results, analysis of scores, and to “work” with the states to develop “cut scores.”

Nearly everyone thought that Pearson would nail the contract.  However, according to ED Week, Pearson was the only bidder!

And Pearson gave PARCC a real deal.  Instead of charging the expected $29.50 per student, they agreed to come down to $24.   But, here is the real deal, there are 15 million students in the PARCC states.

$442 million – $360 million = $82 million

At $29.50 per student, the estimated cost (of just the test material and computer analysis) for 15 million students in PARCC states, would be $442 million.  But since Pearson agreed to such a lower cost, knowing full well that PARCC was a cash cow, it agreed to $24 per student, meaning it would only cost the states $360 million.

That’s a savings of $82 million.  But, where’s the money?

There are 16 states and the District of Columbia that belong to the PARCC consortium.  PARCC was one of two consortia funded by the U.S. Department of Education as part of its Race to the Top (RT3) Fund. The RT3 set aside $362 million to fund consortia to develop assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  In 2010, PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (21 states) were awarded nearly $165 million each for develop assessments.

According to the Smarter Balanced website, its assessments will cost about $27.30 per student.

Member states of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  Source: Smarter Balanced Website.
Member states of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Source: Smarter Balanced Website.

The PARCC states also represent 8 of the 12 winners of the Race to the Top (according to the Achieve website).  It’s estimated that about 15 million students live in PARCC states. Smarter Balanced states represent 4 of the 12 winners, and its estimated about 19 million students live in Smarter Balanced states.

Now, back to the Pearson contract with PARCC.

The Single Contract Trend

Imagine having a single contract with that many clients!  Imagine that your company is not only developing the tests, but also is developing multimedia textbooks for these 15 million students that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/language arts.  So, its possible that states in the PARCC consortium might decide to buy ONLY Pearson multimedia textbooks in math and English/language arts, and to tell local districts that if they don’t adopt Pearson multimedia books, then they will not receive state textbook funds.

This no doubt will happen.  It already has happened in Louisiana.  In that case, the issue is not with Pearson, but it clearly shows that using a single vendor is something that states will do.  Over on Crazy Crawfish’s Blog, he reports on Louisiana’s Textbook Selection Shenanigans, and explains that the Louisiana Department of Education has only one vendor for math (Eureka Math) and only Core Knowledge for language arts.  The story reported by Jason France, author of Crazy Crawfish reveals how a few decision makers at the Department of Education can create a monolithic and authoritarian environment in the selection of teaching materials.  In Louisiana, John White, the Superintendent of education, has taken it upon himself to choose which texts can be used with the Common Core.  He was a former employee of Teach for America, and assistant to Joel Klein, former New York City Chancellor, and charter school director in NYC.  Now he is asserting his authority in the world of textbook choice.

Here is how this stuff happens.  Jason France, in his own words:

John White (Superintendent of Education, Louisiana) has only selected a single vendor that is complaint with his rigorous standards. One is the patent holder of Common Core, which shares the patent with CCSSO, an organization John White and Holly Boffy worked for when they are not being Superintendent and BESE members for Louisiana. The other is Core Knowledge which was bought by Rupert Murdoch and is run by two folks he used to work for in New York City. (France, Jason. “Louisiana’s Texbook Selection Shenanigans.” Crazy Crawfishs Blog. N.p., 4 May 2014. Web. 05 May 2014).

Pearson: America’s Walmart of Education Materials

Pearson is a British multinational publishing company, and according to published reports, it is the largest education company and the largest book publisher in the world.  The Pearson board of directors is composed of seven men and three woman.  You can see them here.

Pearson publishes pre K-12 curriculum, testing and software.  They have products that are aligned to the Common Core including Pearson Early Learning, Pearson Digital Learning, and Family Education Network.

Pearson publishes elementary (Pearson Scott Foresman) and secondary (Pearson Prentice Hall) in reading, literature, maths, science, and social studies.

The corporate led assault on education is at play in the latest deal made between PARCC, a Washington D.C. group, and Pearson, the multinational publisher.  It’s a sweet deal for these two corporations.

But it’s not a sweet deal for those who believe in public schools.

The concoction that has been produced by the mixing of high-stakes testing and the world’s largest multimedia company is a recipe for disaster.  Buried deep in the contract is the statement that Pearson will work with the PARCC states to decide the “cut-off” scores that determine whether you pass or fail the assessments.  There is absolutely no scientific basis for this.  It is a pure opinion.  However, it reeks of manipulation.

Large corporations are trying to get in line to come in and fix schools that are considered failures by the men who set the “cut off” scores.  Failing schools are also labeled turnaround schools, and there are specific policies in play that outline how failing schools should be fixed.  Corporations such as Pearson, Teach for America, the New Teacher Project, and charter schools are eager to come in and use public funds to fill their own coffers.  The relationship among these groups is documented here.

I asked at the beginning if the Pearson deal with PARCC resulted in real savings.  Of course it doesn’t.  It means that another EDU-CORP has positioned itself to reap the benefits of the reformers calling card which says: America’s Schools are Failing: We’re Here to Help.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 6.53.40 PM

How did this happen?  Why is it that the playing field has been tilted in favor of corporations, and foundations with lots of money.  Here is how it happened.  Listen to the words of John Kuhn, superintendent and acclaimed educator and author of Fear and Learning in America.  He says:

How can it be that so many Americans are simultaneously satisfied with the public schools their children attend and dissatisfied with American schools in general? Their opinion of their children’s school— based on their experiences with the school itself, its people, its facilities, and its programs— is overwhelmingly positive. But where do they get their negative opinion of all those other schools, the ones that are “out there,” that they’ve never seen but have scary mental pictures of?

With pundits, politicians, journalists, and the murmuring class all repeating the party line that “our schools are failing” since 1983, is it any wonder? When former DC superintendent and perennial school reform superstar Michelle Rhee has her well-funded political group run an advertisement during the Olympics “featuring a disheveled athlete trying and failing to effectively compete,” purporting to highlight “the struggles of America’s education system and its challenges competing internationally,” is it any wonder (“ Michelle Rhee appears,” 2012)?

When famed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim makes a huge splash with an unashamedly propagandistic film that selectively portrays public schools in a harsh light and portrays hand-picked charter schools in pastels, contending that they alone will save America from its disastrous public schools, is it any wonder?  Kuhn, John (2014-02-15). Fear and Learning in America: Bad Data, Good Teachers, and the Attack on Public Education (Teaching for Social Justice Series) (Kindle Locations 798-808). Teachers College Press. Kindle Edition.

High-stakes testing, which has been in the hands of corporate America for years, and now poses an even greater risk to children and youth because we have enabled the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with a few corporations to cut the curriculum to a few subjects, and make it more difficult for students, especially ethnic and racial minorities, and low socioeconomic status to pass these tests.

What did you think when you heard that Pearson got the contract to develop the Common Core tests?


Do Some Charter and Title I Schools Use a Pedagogy of Indoctrination


"Creative Commons Allensworth Classroom by Joseph Vasquez  CC By 2.0
“Creative Commons Allensworth Classroom” by Joseph Vasquez is Licensed under  CC By 2.0

I might be off my rocker on this post, but I want to get it out there, and ask you if there might be some truth in my claim.  My claim is that the No Child Left Behind Act set in motion a culture of schooling which seeks conformity and an authority to which participants must subscribe, meaning teachers, students and their parents.  Followed by the Race to the Top, we have created in American schools an environment that many have shown to be harmful to the psychological well-being of not only students, but teachers as well.

There is evidence that many charter and Title I schools use an authoritarian and behavioral change system of learning to make one change in student behavior and that is higher test scores. Because of federal and state regulations implicit in NCLB and RT3, a top-down system of accountability has played a role in making authoritarianism the principle of charter schools, and many public Title I schools.

The Strict Family and the Strict Classroom

In previous discussions on this blog I’ve applied the research of George Lakoff.  Dr. Lakoff uses the conceptual metaphor of Nation as Family and applies it to politics, literature, philosophy and mathematics.  Using this idea, ones (political) beliefs tend to be structured by how we think of family, and our early experiences in our own family which contribute to our beliefs. Thinking of a nation as a family is a familiar notion, as in phrases such as Mother Russia, Fatherland, sending sons and daughters off to war, the founders, Big Brother (see Joe Brewer, Rockbridge Institute, discussion here). In Brewer’s thinking, the conceptual metaphor of nation as family organizes our brains in this way: homeland is home, citizens are siblings, the government (or head) is parent, and so forth.

Lakoff would say that a conservative family would be based on authority, and would be represented by the “Strict Father Family”. In the Thinking Points Discussion Series published by Rockbridge, the conservative family can be characterized as follows (from Brewer, Conservative Morality):

  • The Strict Father Family is the traditional family with a father and mother
  • The father is the head of the house
  • The mother is supportive and upholds the authority of the father
  • A hierarchy exists and is never to be questioned
  • Children are weak and lack self-control
  • Parents know what is best
  • Children learn right and wrong when punished by doing wrong
  • When children become self-disciplined, respect authority, and learn right from wrong they are strong enough to succeed in the world.

In my earlier blog post, I wrote about Rocketship Education, a relatively new charter management system with schools in California and Wisconsin.  It appears to me that the Rocketship education model of education is authoritarian and relies on indoctrination for its success. It’s a model of education that fits the description of Lakoff’s conservative family.

Authoritarian Education

In that earlier post, I outlined four principles that characterize a Rocketship School based on the research of Gordon Lafer.  Here are the principles and comments I’ve made about each one. As you read these points, connect these principles to the principles in Lakoff’s theory:

  1. Replacement of teachers with computers for online learning–Digital learning is a way to make the school more economical, and using the schools “Learning Lab” large numbers of students can be accommodated with less staff.
  2. Reliance on a young and inexperienced teachers largely recruited from Teach for America–according to Lafer’s report, Rocketship has a contract with Teach for America to offer a pipeline of new recruits. Rocketship teachers are paid based on how their students score on math and reading tests. The model embraces a young staff and one that has a high-turnover rate. As you will see ahead, Rocketship schools are staffed with teachers who have between 0-5 years experience, where successful comparable public schools have staffs with 10 – 30 years of experience. Teaching staffs that are more experienced are by far more successful with students and their learning. The replacement or turnover rate for the Rocketship schools averages 29% each year.
  3. A narrow curriculum of math and reading–Rocketship Education describes its approach to curriculum as blended learning. Blending digital learning with face to face. However, its curriculum only includes math and reading literacy. You will not find a full curriculum at these schools.
  4. A relentless focus on preparing students for standardized tests—Rocketship teaches to the test–students are involved as full-time test takers at school and home. Students take the test Measuring Academic Progress (MAP) three times per year. This is the same test that teachers in Seattle boycotted. But instruction is totally centered around tests that are aligned to the state standards (the Common Core Standards next year).

The nature of the pedagogy outlined in these four points is a certain example of Lakoff’s conservative “Strict Father Family,” where the entire system is organized underneath an authority figure.  This could be the owner of the charter school management system, the principal of the school, or even the top-down rules and regulations upon which the school’s accountability depends.

But this tenor of authoritarianism is not limited to charter schools.


What has happened is that accountability has been reduced fundamentally to one cause, measurement or variable, and that is student test scores.  In Georgia, for instance, the state rolled out a new accountability system in which each school in the state is graded (A – F) by adding up the points earned in four categories.  However, each of the categories is dependent on one reason: student test scores.

The state, in Georgia and most other states, is the authority figure that controls the behavior of administrators, teachers and students. The state indoctrinates school staff to follow very strict guidelines to increase student test scores.  These guidelines are defined by standards (either state or Common Core State Standards), and what is known as College & Career Ready Performance, using expressed as an index or simply a number that can be used to compare schools, districts and states.

In Atlanta, all you had to do yesterday to verify this is to read the Atlanta Journal/Constitution newspaper which listed the top and bottom performing schools in school districts around the state.  Winners and losers?

So, the only purpose of teaching in schools that are served by an authoritarian regime is to teach to the test, and to spend as much time possible making students practice for the tests with worksheets, and obsessively stupid homework assignments.  The goal is to score high on the state mandated high-stakes tests, and to get as a high a grade for the school based fundamentally on student test scores.

The Rocketship Schools have taken the conservative model to the extreme.  By reducing the curriculum to essentially two subjects, math and reading, teachers are trained to teach math and reading only in so far as the kids score high on the tests.  In fact, in the Rocketship schools, teacher’s pay is dependent on student scores.  I am not saying that there is a salary scale based on specific scores, but given comments made on a PBS interview with the principal and two teachers at the school, there are targets to be met.

In this kind of school, teachers do not need to be educated, but they need to be indoctrinated and trained to follow the leader. Teach for America’s 5 week training is all that is wanted in schools that cut teaching to test preparation.  Not only does Teach for America supply Rocketship teachers, but TFA and the New Teacher Project have multi-million dollar agreements with several Race to the Top winning states (follow this link to see it work in Georgia).

Child Labor Violations

What is the role of the student in these extreme classroom situations.  The school day begins in the school courtyard or similar space in a kind of ceremony or rally to energize the students, and to instill in them “group think” and the requirement that they must conform to the authority of the school, and especially their teachers.

To some researchers and practicing educators, American obsession with statewide testing has led to an inhumane environment.  Stephanie Jones, a research professor at the University of Georgia has written that the current system of high-stakes testing might be exploiting child labor laws by creating a system in which students spend up to seven hours in school doing things that might be unethical.  As she sees it, children are the producing workers in the school system whose production of test scores will be used to reward the people above them—-their teachers and administrators, and indeed the superintendent of the school system.  Go ask Beverly Hall about this.

As Dr. Jones points out, Child Labor laws were enacted to prevent children from working under conditions of stress and long hours.  Sending them to school was one way to prevent business owners from using children during the day.  Now, schools seem to have taken over.

Psychological Abuse

Joyce Murdock Feilke is a 30 year veteran school counselor in the Austin, Texas independent school district (AISD).  On October 15, 2013 she filed a “Report of Psychological Abuse in an AISD Elementary School,” and sent it to Senator Jane Nelson of Texas, and the Committee for Health & Human Services.  The superintendent of AISD was Dr. Meria Carstarphen, who was hired to begin the superintendency of the Atlanta Public Schools in July, 2014.  According to reports that I have seen, there is evidence that Dr. Carstarpen covered up the abuse, and then after a month simply denied Joyce’s report.

Joyce Murdock Feilke wrote in her report about the psychological abuse of students at an Austin elementary school.  She begins by saying:

During the past 30 years as a school counselor, I have observed a steady decline in the elementary school environment.  This decline has resulted from complex reasons, but primarily from the obsession with statewide testing and corrosive school politics.  Children in most elementary schools of Texas are being forced to function in an environment of chronic stress.  Chronic stress is known to change brain chemistry in children and can lead to mental illness.  Many of these young children with genetic predisposition to autism and other neurological, sensory, and developmental delays are experiencing chronic traumatic stress and will suffer even greater psychological harm.  The demands for high-test performance ratings are causing these children to be exploited and experimented on as if they were caged mice in a science lab.  They are being psychologically abused on a grand scale that will impact the mental health of future generations (emphasis is mine).

The New 3 R’s System of Behavior Control

Feilke has exposed a system of teaching that uses punitive methods of behavior modification (now called Applied Behavior Analysis {ABA}) in Title I schools in Austin, Texas.  According to this veteran educator, a new system of 3 R’s (The Right Resources, The Right People, and the Right Systems) using behavioral engineering was initiated by a former structural engineer who became principal in the AISD.  The 3R’s model is applied in elementary schools with large populations of minority students.  Ms. Feilke provides insight into the 3R’s model.  She says:

The New 3 R’s System of behavioral engineering that AISD is celebrating and perpetuating uses the same methods of punitive classic conditioning that are known to enslave children for child labor and sex trafficking, and for obedience training for dogs and zoo animals.  It is the same dysfunctional system that kept the black culture of the South submissive to oppression for the hundred years after the Civil War.  It is the same dysfunctional system that led to the Nazi Regime in Germany prior to WWII.  The New 3 R’s System has the same sophisticated dysfunctional dynamics and abuse of power that can be observed in every poisonous pedagogy that has ever woven its way through history.  It can be observed in families, cults, and countries.  It is efficient, and it does result in high performance, but at the expense of great psychological damage to its victims.

The 3R’s was effective in raising Title I student test scores, so much so, that the district expanded it into other schools.

But the 3R’s systems, according to Feilke, is punitive.  It creates chronic stress in students, resulting in

desensitization, anxiety, loss of imagination, loss of spontaneity, loss of humor, regression, irritability, self injury, inability to concentrate, and dissociation.  However, the most destructive effects of this psychological abuse will not manifest until the children reach their teenage years, or early adulthood.  At that time, their conditioned emotional repression from victimization of institutional bullying and positive/negative ambivalent role modeling can lead to mental illness and criminality.

Punitive System of Teaching

Using qualitative research, Feilke documents specific examples of the effects of this punitive system on students.  As she points out, the teacher/caregiver dominate the class environment using punitive classical conditioning to “shape” behavior.  She makes the point here, when she expresses what happens to kids in this kind of classroom:

This poisonous pedagogy has been demonstrated throughout history to produce efficiency in human systems and gain desired performance, but at the same time repressing vitality, creativity, and emotions in children.

Imagine your child coming to school and you ask, what did you do today?  Well, at lunch, because I didn’t finish my work, I was told to stand up in front of everyone while the principal said I was bad for not finishing my homework.  I felt awful.  Some of the kids snickered at me, but Shane put her hand on my back, and said “don’t worry.”

Here is how Ms. Feilke describes the effect of this kind of behavior control on children:

Many of the younger children cry when forced to sit in isolation by themselves in front of everyone in the cafeteria.  Some of their peers show signs of sympathy, while others make sarcastic comments or looks, and others fear the same could happen to them.  Most of the children see the injustice, and feel helpless and sad for the victims.  This method of humiliating children causes strong emotions of shame, anger, and resentment for both the victim and the bystanders.  By using this method, teachers are modeling negative behavior of “bullying”, while presenting it to the child as “good discipline”.

There is more to this story, and I’ll follow-up later this week.

For now, I wish to thank Joyce Murdock Feilke for being such a courageous educator to take the risks to expose the dehumanizing pedagogy that was used in elementary schools in Austin.  After her superintendent, Dr. Meria Carstarphen, (who is the new Superintendent designee for the Atlanta Public Schools ) denied her report, Joyce resigned her position in the Austin USD in protest.  She said this in her letter of resignation:

I have attempted to speak up and advocate for children in AISD who are most impacted by this invalidating environment and dysfunctional administration. It is my goal to continue speaking up. I am submitting my resignation as counselor in order to pursue this advocacy without retaliation from an administration that does not recognize or respect the needs of children, or the rights of professionals who work to support and help them.

Joyce’s documentation of the injustices that prevailed in these schools was also published on Julian Vasquez Heilig’s blog (Cloaking Inequities) and Diane Ravitch’s blog.  If you go to Cloaking Inequities you will find 99 comments in response to Joyce’s letter to Senator Nelson and the HHS Committee.

Do Some Charter School Models Use a Pedagogy of indoctrination?  What are your ideas?

Re-Blog of Twitter Charter Debate with Michelle Rhee & Julian Vasquez Heilig

This “twitter debate” from Julian Vasquez Heilig’s blog appeared in my inbox today. I am working on a post on charters and public schools based on an EPI study of the Rocketship Education charters in Milwaukee.

This twitter debate is a perfect introduction to that forthcoming article.

Julian Vasquez Heilig is now an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin. He blogs at cloakinginequity.

Michelle Rhee was chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 2007 to 2010. In late 2010, she founded StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization which works on education reform issues such as ending teacher tenure, closing public schools and replacing them with charters staffed with Teach for America unlicensed recruits.


What Sort of Teacher Preparation Programs Does the Gates Foundation Support?

Did you know that between 2008 and 2013, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided more than $37 million in funding for teacher preparation projects?

What sort of teacher preparation programs does the Gates Foundation support?

Only 8% of these funds were awarded to university teacher education programs. Ninety-two percent of the grant money was awarded to corporations including The New Teacher Project (TNTP) and Teach for America (TFA).  Michelle Rhee, a former Teach for America cadet, and former Chancellor of the D.C. schools founded and ran The New Teacher Project.   Teach for America was founded by Wendy Kopp in 1989.  Rhee has two years of teaching experience, while Kopp has no teaching experience.

So, organizations whose heads have very little practical teaching experience are likely to receive funding from the Gates Foundation, while universities with qualified and experienced educators are not likely to receive much in funding.

As you see in Figure 1, ten institutions received funding for teacher preparation from Gates.  Only four are universities. There were 20 funded grants, most of them going to two organizations, TFA and TNTP.  In each of these programs, teachers are trained during a 5-week summer term, and then assigned to a school somewhere in the country.   Under these circumstances, school districts have a pipeline of new, but uncertified and inexperienced teachers to hire, often in challenging teaching environments.

The university grants are very small in comparison to the TFA and TNTP.  The largest of the university grants was awarded to the University of Central Florida to support its TeachLivE program, a simulation for teacher development.  According to the TeachLivE website, “it provides pre-service and in-service teachers the opportunity to learn new skills and to craft their practice without placing “real” students at risk during the learning process.”

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This graph is based on data from the Gates Foundation that appeared in the Education Week article, “Follow the Money: Gates Giving for Its Teacher Agenda“, November 5, 2013.

The Gates Foundation, which is the largest private foundation on Earth, believes that teachers can be trained in a summer camp type of environment, and immediately be placed in schools to teach.  Because many of the persons that are recruited by programs such as Teach for America sign up for only two years, in the long run, this approach to teacher preparation is not sustainable.  Suggesting that uncertified and in the long run, part-time teachers is a way to staff schools with effective teachers is unfortunate.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 7.52.23 PMTeacher education makes a difference in the quality and effectiveness of professional teachers. Clinically based, and constructivist oriented teacher education program are more effective than a summer program in which pedagogy is crammed into a five-week program.  I know this first-hand because I was involved in two summer teacher education programs at Georgia State University from 1987 – 1992 (The Alternative Certification Program and the AFT Educational Research and Dissemination Program-TRIPS) Although our programs involved mentor teachers, who also received training, the programs did not compare in effectiveness to the program that emerged from our experiences.  Out of our experiences in these two programs, we developed the TEEMS program, a master’s level, full-time, clinically based program for mathematics and science teachers.

In a Journal of Teacher Education article entitled How Teacher Education Matters, Linda Darling-Hammond reviewed the literature on teacher education programs and has this to say:

Despite longstanding criticisms of teacher education, the weight ofsubstantial evidence indicates that teachers who have had more preparation for teaching are more confident and successful with students than those who have had little or none. Recent evidence also indicates that reforms of teacher education creating more tightly integrated programs with extended clinical preparationinterwoven with coursework on learning and teaching produce teachers who are both more effective and more likely to enter and stay in teaching. An important contribution of teacher education is its development of teachers’abilities to examine teaching from the perspective of learners who bring diverse experiences and frames of reference to the classroom.

Post Script

In teacher preparation there are various pathways to becoming a teacher, including teacher education programs, alternative programs, or no program.  Based on a large study of 3000 beginning teachers in New York City regarding their views on their preparation for teaching, their beliefs and practice, and their plans to remain in teaching (Darling-Hammond, Chung, and Frelow), the researchers found that:

  • teachers who were prepared in teacher education programs felt significantly better prepared across most dimensions of teaching than those who entered teaching through alternative programs or without preparation.
  • the extent to which teachers felt well prepared when they entered teaching was significantly correlated with their sense of teaching efficacy, their sense of responsibility for student learning, and their plans to remain in teaching.
  • These are significant finding in the context of the drive to place non-certified and non-prepared teachers into classrooms that typically are more demanding and require more knowledge about learning and student development than these individuals can deliver.  The knowledge base on teaching is enormous, and to think that we can prepare teachers in 5 – 8 week institutes only devalues what we know about preparing teachers for practice.

What do you think about effort of the Gates Foundation to influence the way teachers are prepared?