Friday, October 30, 2015

Teacher Preparation in MN

Here is an interesting if repetitive discussion.  MP Teacher Prep
"But he's got a point. Even if the best and the brightest were attracted to education as a major, why would they major in it when the teaching profession is so hard and pays so little? Especially since teachers are the equivalent of the Anti-Christ in some (influential) peoples' eyes. At this point in time, the only reason we have good teachers is that the unions manage to make sure there are SOME benefits (of course, that comes at the price of keeping bad teachers). But, at some point, it will be pure luck if kids ever see a good teacher because the unions appear to be not long for this world if the Republicans have any say...and quite frankly the Democrats, too, if the unions don't also figure out how to concede that we live in a new world.
All this boils down to the results of a system that doesn't value teachers. Even if the teaching colleges were transparent with the outcomes of their programs, it might not reflect the quality of the college, but the quality of their trainees. It might be impossible to evaluate the quality without taking into account lots of other factors, which rely on lots of other data sources, which might further make it impossible to calculate true outcomes. That's not to say that there aren't lots of super smart and talented teacher candidates, but I also suspect that there are lots of not so smart and/or not so talented teacher candidates that would bring down the average. And how do you factor in that hardships to new teachers are probably not limited to poor teachers? I'm no dummy (though I couldn't claim any talent for teaching), but if I had to deal with low pay, low respect, and long hours, I'd find something else to pay the bills no matter how good I was at it." Rachel
"Actually I do not know anyone who sees Teachers as the anti-Christ. However I do know many who see the Public Education system as a significant problem, especially for the unlucky kids who need the best Teachers they can get.
As we have read and discussed here over and over. The Union / Bureaucrat supported programs:
  • allows highest paid Teachers to avoid schools with the most unlucky kids
  • distribute wages and benefits based on years/degrees instead of responsibility level, performance, difficulty of position, etc
  • delay wage increases and job security for young energetic gifted teachers
  • sustain the high wages even if an older Teacher begins to burn out
  • works hard to delay allowing new Teachers in from out of State
I mean why would a young gifted hard working person ever become a Teacher? I mean no matter how hard you are willing to work for the kids who need you, you are paid according to some steps/lanes based schedule and you have little job security for at least 3 years. And you may spend years working for half the pay of a low energy Teacher in the next classroom just because they have been there for 15 years.
I will never understand how caring Liberals are continually willing to sacrifice the unlucky poverty stricken kids so that older Teachers make more whether they are worth it or not." G2A


R-Five said...

This is too easy. Follow the money.

Laurie said...

do you even read the articles that you use as the basis of spouting off your usual talking points? I don't see any evidence of it.

You could just read the headline to find the main idea - How well do Minnesota's education programs prepare students to be teachers? It's almost impossible to tell. - and use that to make a relevant comment.

Here is an example of a related comment - maybe the more selective colleges are able to prepare more effective teachers as they start with more capable, high achieving students.

My highly capable niece (35 on her ACT) picked a school based on other aspects of campus life rather than quality of their teacher ed program. It seems there would have been very little info available to her if she was looking for a highly rated program. She is in her first year teaching high school English and it seems her program prepared her adequately to enjoy her job and feel successful at it.

If I have the energy I will post another snarky comment in the other education topic that I introduced - about being in the early stages of the the transformation of schools. It seems from the comments that no one read that link either. I need to read it more closely myself, to see if it adequately addresses the major changes that are already underway.

John said...

You are a bit testy... Personally I thought Rachel's comment was much more interesting to comment on. The idea that people dislike Teachers is so silly that it needed to be challenged.

And the idea that Teacher compensation is the problem is equally far fetched, especially when it is the union that ensures gifted highly energetic young Teachers are underpaid, so that questionable older Teachers can make more...

John said...

As for which is a good to great program... Often that is easy...

Which is the hardest to get in to and is the cost moderate to expensive? If all you need is a 2.0 High School GPA and an 18 on your ACT, it is likely to be a questionable program. If the cost is noticeably lower than the other schools, that maybe a problem.

Laurie said...

as usual you don't know what you are talking about. The real reasons behind the U.S. teacher shortage

to save you the trouble of reading it I am providing a summary paragraph for you:

"If we are to turn this trend around, we need to act now to not only stop the attacks on teachers and tenure, but to stop evaluation systems designed to fire teachers based on metrics that no one understands. And we cannot forget that pay and working conditions matter. It should also come as no surprise that in states that pay teachers relatively well like New York State, the shortage does not yet exist. Even so, enrollment in teacher preparation programs in the Empire State dropped 22 percent in two years time. Many factors are contributing to the decline."

note that it refers to a need to stop the attacks on teachers and pay them well.

John said...

NPR Where are the Teachers
"While few dispute the shortage itself, Benjamin Riley, head of the group Deans for Impact, a new consortium of 18 reform-minded deans of colleges of education, thinks it's not yet clear why potential teachers are turning away.

"The honest answer is: We don't know. There is nothing that has been done rigorously, in a way that's empirically defensible saying, 'We know this is why the number has dropped,' " Riley says."

John said...

Now that NPR article makes much more sense, whereas your quote just parrots the view from the Education Union.

Closing sentences from the NPR piece.
"But, across the country, proposals to boost pay or give teachers merit pay have stalled or been scrapped altogether.

An analysis just out from Georgetown's Edunomics Lab argues that boosting class size for great teachers would save money that could then be funneled into bonuses for those educators taking on a larger load. The savings would come largely from a reduction in the overall teaching force, angering teachers unions and their allies.

Riley says his group, Deans for Impact, is all for giving teachers a raise — if it's tied to better training that leads to higher graduation rates and other improved student outcomes.

"If we could really take control of the profession and increase the rigor such that teachers are effective from Day 1, I think that will prove to the public at large that this is an investment worth making, and one worth increasing."

In spite of all the noise and politics, surveys show that public school teachers still believe it's an incredibly satisfying job helping children learn."

John said...

Please remember that it is the Union / Bureaucrat's Tenure and Licensing rules that prevent great Teachers from easily moving to better and higher paying jobs in other districts or States. If Teachers were free to move, then the most challenging positions would need to pay more to attract them. And a shortage is what drives higher pay in a capitalistic society like ours...

jerrye92002 said...

It seems the fundamental of this discussion is the idea of "what's a good teacher worth" and the answer, like the owl eating the tootsie-pop, is "we'll never know." We'll never know because the union, while claiming to be a "professional organization," is the very thing guaranteeing that teachers cannot be treated and paid as professionals. They don't want teachers paid on merit, or fired for lack of it, demand strict "work rules" that deny innovation and excellence, and fight tooth and nail to see that there are no standards or accountability for who can teach. I really believe that dumping the Ed union would be great for education as a whole, raising salaries for good teachers thus improving education for the kids, and getting rid of those who maybe should do something else, bookends of solving the "shortage."

Do I need to repeat the story of Louisiana's brief foray into teacher testing? Graduates of Ed schools were asked to pass a basic test in the subjects they were going to teach, as a condition of licensing. When 90% failed, the test was scrapped. I suspect MN colleges are better, but they mostly teach education theory, rather than subject matter, and the centuries-old "sage on a stage" methodologies that experience has shown wrong in FAR too many cases.

Laurie said...

I don't know but it seems that major teacher shortages in some states haven't resulted in the higher funding needed to raise teacher saleries. I really don't feel like defending unions today.

Getting back to the topic if a potential teacher asked me about choosing a college I would recommend a lower cost state school to take on as little debt as possible so they won't be making large student loan payments out of their low salary. (I have been paying my student loan for 20 years and the end is in sight.) If I was a wealthy parent I would tell my kid go to the cheap state school and I will give you the $100,000 saved on private school tuition. It would be nice to know if one state college education department was better than the others. Mostly teachers learn on the job their first few years. I would ask about how much time is spent in the classroom over the course of earning the degree and if any school stressed how they found practicum placements with the most effective teachers that would be the school to attend.

As a sped teacher I spend some time going into classrooms and there are large differences in the skill level of managing the class and effective instruction.

John said...

Often times one gets what they pay for... But there are quite a few public schools listed here.

US News Education

On the other hand, given the Union supported policies... It really does not matter where you go or how prepared you are if you want to work in a status quo public school. Your start wage and raises are already set by a table.

Maybe Providence will pay more for that Harvard degree...

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, you raise an interesting point. My question is: Does ANY Ed school turn out, by virtue of what they teach and how they teach it, GOOD (by some reasonably objective standard) teachers? Or is an Ed degree pretty much worthless in determining teacher success? Could I walk in off the street and teach, say, 10th grade math (in a nice suburban HS)?

Laurie said...

I believe ed schools turn out many good teacher candidates, who will become better teachers with more experience and don't consider an ed degree / training worthless. I don't think anyone could walk in off the street and do a good job teaching, though capable people would get better week by week from experience and reflection. There have been many studies of how teach for america teachers compare to traditionally trained teachers, with the most common result being they compare pretty well.

Teach for America’s teachers are besting their peers on math, study shows

I think Teach for America works somewhat successfully on a small scale but think the problem of teacher turnover is significant. I know from experience how difficult it is to develop a quality school with a revolving door for staffing it.

jerrye92002 said...

"Su Jin Gatlin Jez, an assistant professor at Cal State Sacramento and another Darling-Hammond coauthor, also notes that the United States doesn't, in fact, have a teacher undersupply issue at the moment." Interesting.

Interesting article, Laurie, thank you. I think I would phrase the results somewhat differently; add your own "uncertainty words" if you like. I would say that TFA teachers who know their subject but have only minimal training in "education," do better in knowledge-based subjects than their ed-school peers with the same experience. TFA teachers never get to the experience level that ed-school grads do, and so the two groups-experienced ed-schoolers and TFA, become more equal over time.

To me, that statement of the study conclusions indicates that the ed-school degree matters very little, but rather knowledge of the subject, a commitment to teaching, and actual teaching experience are the significant marks of a good teacher. Now, an ed-school grad can have those things, but not necessarily.

Laurie said...

I think teach for america is small scale with a limited number of high achieving students who want to try teaching for a short time period. Schools need more career teachers who may be more moderately achieving (in general) but will stay for the long hall. Ed degrees are helpful as a starting point for teachers.

What I am curious about is how well ed degrees are preparing teachers to participate in the transformation of schools which is already underway.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, now you have me DOUBLY curious. I wonder, with you, whether Ed schools are preparing their grads for the "transformation," and also WHAT transformation? I'm not seeing it. And to my earlier point, is this being forced on the school system?

By the way, I also think you are right, that comparing TFA with "real" teachers is unfair. Both are volunteers and initially enthusiastic, but TFA folks are especially so, unencumbered by a lot of Ed school "theory," tend to be brighter than the average teacher, just by the nature of the thing, and KNOW they have a lucrative career waiting in the private sector shortly thereafter. I have always admired teachers, of younger children especially, for sticking to it, especially since the best qualified (in their field) teachers COULD find more rewarding, certainly financially, work elsewhere.

I look forward to your new subject.

Laurie said...

so far the transformation has progressed the most and will be the most significant at the high school level, as students get more and more content on line. My younger son graduated high school with 50 college credits, mostly earned from on line classess he enrolled in at the community college.

Flipped classes are another common example of change in how instruction is delivered.

John said...

What are "flipped classes"?

Laurie said...

flipped classroom

btw, I am pretty sure "knewton", the website I linked, is a player in delivering content to students.

So your children have not have not had a teacher that uses this method? My son had a great calculus teacher who taught in this way.

Laurie said...

here is another Knewton info graphic about The State of Digital Education.

My kids have not had taken online classes at u of M. Don't know if their profs do much with digital learning.

Laurie said...

and another on Blended Learning

the book I am reading, Blended, is like a follow up to the book Disrupting Class, which is the basis for the blended learning info graphic I linked

Laurie said...

and the last info graphic on Differentiated Instruction and Adaptive Learning

this is where I think we are in the early stages of doing a good job of individualizing instruction with adaptive computer programs to teach kids in an engaging way at the right level and pace.