Teacher Education School Qualification Commentary

Chris Rickert:

I guess when you’re 76 years old and on the verge of retirement after more than 50 years in the same field, there’s really no need to pull your punches.

Madison East High School biology teacher Paul du Vair proved that in a Sunday story in this newspaper, where he says the “greatest failure in education” is how little experience professors of education have in the classroom.

“They have no idea what goes on in our schools,” he said.

Provocative words from someone who owes at least part of his long and successful career to his college education. But are they true?

No doubt plenty of education professors, especially researchers, at UW-Madison lack teaching experience and haven’t logged significant time in the classroom. But plenty of them have, too.

At least one instructor in each of the School of Education’s licensure areas — the sciences, art, English, etc. — has “extensive teaching experience,” according to Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell, a former special education teacher and the School of Education associate dean responsible for teacher preparation.

And she estimated that about 75 percent of the faculty that students encounter when doing their education-related coursework, and nearly all faculty in areas such as teaching methods and classroom management, have teaching experience.

Related: Wisconsin adopts one aspect of Massachusetts’ teacher content knowledge requirements – MTEL.

Wisconsin rated D+ in teacher NCTQ State Teacher Policy Handbook.