We Californians like to think our state is the national leader in policy change and innovation, that new ideas are born here and other states follow our lead.
In one area, I am sad to say, that is not the case.
California is short-selling too many of its public school students because of education programs that inadequately prepare the next generation of teachers. A new review from the National Council on Teacher Quality that evaluates educational institutions, state by state, produced some sobering results for anyone who cares about what’s going on inside California schools of education.
Among the more disturbing findings from the institutions that provided data:
- Half of 72 programs for elementary school preparation failed the evaluation, a higher failure rate than programs in any other state.
- California’s secondary certification structure combined with inadequate coursework requirements, particularly in the sciences and social sciences, showed that only 17 percent of programs adequately prepared secondary teaching candidates in core subjects. That compared with 34 percent nationally.
- Coursework in a majority (63 percent) of California elementary programs did not mention a single strategy for teaching reading to English language learners.
- Of the 139 elementary and secondary programs that were evaluated on a four-star rating system, 33 programs earned no stars and only three earned as many as three. Not a single program earned four stars.
Related: Richard Askey: Examinations for Teachers Past and Present:
I have written about the problem in mathematics and hope that some others will use the resouces which exist to write about similar problems in other areas.
In his American Educational Research Association Presidential Address, which was published in Educational Researcher in 1986, Lee Shulman introduced the phrase “pedagogical content knowledge”. This is a mixture of content and knowing how to teach this content and is the one thing from his speech which has been picked up by the education community. However, there are a number of other points which he made which are important. Here is an early paragraph from this speech: