This should be a shining moment for education schools. Never has the nation paid so much attention to improving the quality of teaching. Yet the institutions that produce teachers have never faced so much criticism.
“Teacher education is the Dodge City of the education world,” said Arthur Levine, former president of Columbia University’s Teachers College. “Like the fabled Wild West town, it is unruly and chaotic.”
Stanford University educational historian David F. Labaree wrote in a recent book: “Institutionally, the ed school is the Rodney Dangerfield of higher education; it don’t get no respect. The ed school is the butt of jokes in the university, where professors portray it as an intellectual wasteland.”
The attacks have become so frequent and intense that some educators say they have gone too far. But a growing number of educators say ed schools fail to give teachers enough background in their subject matter, fail to prepare them for the difficulties of urban schools and fail to recruit the best students.