George Leef’s latest Forbes column probes one factor in American students’ mediocre academic performance.
One of the key reasons why that’s so is that many of their teachers are not very good themselves. Yes, they have their college degrees, but those degrees are easily acquired by some of the weakest students colleges admit. …
… The trouble with colleges of education, where most American teachers receive their training (although that’s hardly an apt description) has been known for a long time. Back in 1991, Rita Kramer’s book Ed School Follies: The Miseducation of America’s Teachers showed that our ed schools were giving the country a steady stream of intellectually mediocre teachers who had been steeped in dubious educational theories, but often knew little about the subject matter they were to teach. Since then, an avalanche of criticism has come down on education schools, but the only changes have been cosmetic.
But if the product of these schools is so poor, why isn’t there pressure for serious change? The answer is that they are protected by state licensing laws that make it very hard for public school officials to hire anyone who doesn’t have the obligatory credentials. In short, the ed schools have a guaranteed market and are shielded from competition. The professors and administrators are happy with the way things are, and often express resentment at anyone who suggests that their courses and philosophy do not lead to competent teachers.