Are Teacher Colleges the Weakest Link in the Public Education System?

Marc Tucker, founder of the National Center on Education and the Economy, recently published an Education Week article calling out Teacher Colleges for being the weakest link in America’s education system. And he’s not necessarily wrong.

“The education system can be no better than the teachers who staff it,” Tucker states in his article titled ‘Teacher Colleges: The Weakest Link.’ But what happens when the pool from which new teachers are hired becomes increasingly limited and America’s teacher shortage continues to rise? The answer is simple— we see a decrease in the standard of training future teachers, as well as a decline in the quality of teacher college applicants.

Unlike most professional schools within universities who hand-pick their students from those accepted into the university, teacher colleges, unfortunately, lack the same freedom. Due to the current supply and demand of teachers, it is very unlikely that any university school of education refuses admission to any student who has been admitted to the university. Therefore, a large number of teachers are the least well prepared students who are coming from less demanding universities.

The value of information being taught to our future teachers is in question and now more than ever, teachers are lacking the skills necessary for classroom success. Tucker blames this on, among other things, inadequate research skills and being taught to work off emotions rather than facts and evidence. “If future elementary school teachers are not absorbing this research in depth and being taught how to use it with students from many different backgrounds in their school of education, then what on earth are they learning?,” Tucker questions.

It’s obvious that teachers are not being given the proper professional preparation necessary for classroom success, however, they continue to be the chosen scapegoat among America’s education reformers.

Demoralized and blamed for failures that are not their own, American teachers remain stuck in this never-ending cycle. How about we pay them well or give them a voice in the decisions that affect their schools? Or maybe we should give them the tools needed to do their job or the freedom to find their own teaching tactics? Maybe when we start giving respect and holding teachers to the same level of prestige as doctors and lawyers, maybe then we can blame teachers for poor student performance.

Read the full article HERE.