Teach teachers better than we are now

Governor Kate Brown informs us she will appoint an “education innovation officer.”   This appointee will have no clout but will have the backing of the two state-level education agencies and must possess ears the size of an elephant as this gubernatorial appointee will have as an assignment to listen to the state’s school district officials and members of the communities they serve. It’s hard to imagine what, if anything of substance or consequence, will become of this; that is, whether it’s just another Kitzhaber-like boondoggle. First and foremost, to make any real difference this time around, the state would have to make drastic changes to the way teachers are prepared to teach. The way things are done now, in our teacher-training institutions, each aspiring wannabe must matriculate a four-year collection of often disjointed subject- matter courses. The four-year stint is then followed by a year’s time invested in education courses. Unfortunate to the outcome, most of the fifth college year, that also earns a Masters degree, is simply more course work taught by professors who usually have not been in a grades K-12 classroom for years. Only during the last two months of the fifth year, the graduate works with a classroom teacher—who volunteers to serve in this capacity—although they may or may not be an effective teacher. Further, that teacher is too often not supervised in the endeavor.  Soon, the “graduate” is teaching on their own with minimal training to know how to succeed, except mainly by instinct. If Governor Brown wants to make a difference to the quality...

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