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"Teachers are Idiots"


Report: Science in Schools
The National Report Card

Science Teachers

When Backyards Were Laboratories
ECONOMICS may be the dismal science, but these days the news about chemistry, physics and biology is fairly dismal as well. At the end of April, the National Science Foundation released its biannual report on the state of science and to no one's surprise, public understanding and attitudes have been found wanting.
Scientific illiteracy in the United States is not a new problem, of course, and the foundation's analysis contained the usual hand-wringing about the state of science education, particularly in secondary schools. But perhaps the problem goes beyond the classroom, to what happens when school is out.
For many children, particularly boys, free play used to mean fiddling around with a chemistry set in the basement or lighting things on fire in the backyard. These days, with parents' penchant for overscheduling their children, there is less time for such youthful experimentation.
This is not all bad - no doubt fewer children are getting hurt. But backyard tinkering used to lead, if not to a scientific career, at least to continued informal pursuit of science as an adult hobby. If that is not so much the case anymore - if yesterday's youthful tinkerers no longer grind their own telescope mirrors, build radios or order weather balloons by mail from Edmund Scientific - something important may have been lost. <snip>

From the Massachusetts Department of Education's website

Press Release Follows For Immediate Release Contact: Alan Safran, ext. 116 Monday, June 22, 1998

Malden -- The Massachusetts Board of Education and Education Commissioner Frank W. Haydu III today set a new, higher standard for prospective teachers to become certified.
The Board of Education accepted Commissioner Haydu's recommendation to set the qualifying scores for the first Massachusetts tests for prospective teachers.
As a result, the Board raised state standards for new educators by setting the qualifying score at a level that prevents 800 candidates from becoming certified. Previously, these candidates would have been eligible for teacher certification if they possessed a bachelor's degree.
Thirty-two percent of the 1,800 candidates, nearly 600 test-takers, did not meet the qualifying score on the communication and literacy test, and others failed to meet the qualifying score for the test in their specific academic areas. In total, forty-four percent of candidates who took the April tests for teacher certification did not meet the qualifying scores.
The tests were given in April for the first time as a condition for certification as required by the 1993 Education Reform Act. It calls for teacher certification candidates to take and pass a test measuring communication and literacy skills and knowledge of subject matter, in order to become entry-level teachers. Massachusetts public school teachers must be certified by the state first in order to seek employment locally, except in rare circumstances. Massachusetts joins 43 other states in requiring a test for certification.
In recommending that the Board set the April qualifying scores at a specific level, Commissioner Haydu cited the fact that other states have set teacher test passing scores at two or three "standard errors of measurement" below recommendations of panels of educators in their states. Panels of Massachusetts educators had made a recommendation for qualifying scores, but Commissioner Haydu, after consulting with teachers, business leaders, legislators and deans of colleges and universities, decided that one standard error of measurement ought to be allowed on the first round. "I made this recommendation with the intent to move the bar swiftly up to the Massachusetts panels' recommended passing levels," he said. Beginning in October, the required qualifying scores will be raised to those levels.
Citing the issue of fairness in setting the initial qualifying score lower,Commissioner Haydu said that this test has never been given or taken in Massachusetts before this spring, that the new test is challenging, and it, like all tests, includes some measurement error.
Commissioner Haydu stated, "I believe these initial qualifying scores are a fair compromise to first-timers, while we strive to make sure that all new teachers are competent to stand in front of kids in classrooms. I am very concerned about the high rate of failure. It is serious, and these results are a wake-up call for all of us."
The two tests, each four hours long, were taken by college graduates aspiring to become public school teachers. The tests measure reading comprehension, writing skills, spelling, punctuation and grammar and knowledge of subject matter in 30 separate areas as well.
Within the next week, results of the tests will be sent to all test-takers, their colleges and to the Department of Education. Those who failed may re-take the test for free on July 11 or in October.
In related action, the Board of Education voted today to require candidates for certification as administrators (principals, superintendents, supervisors), and for support services (library media specialist, school psychologist, school nurse, etc.) to also take and pass the new test of communication and literacy, as a condition for certification. This requirement will be effective beginning September 1st.

Public school teachers in the nation's wealthiest communities continue to be more qualified than those in the poorest despite a federal law designed to provide all children equal educational opportunity. Preliminary data
released by the Department of Education show that in 39 states, the chance of finding teachers who know their subjects are better in elementary schools where parents' incomes are highest. The data show that's also the
case among middle and high schools in 43 states. Under the No Child Left Behind law President Bush signed in 2002, states are supposed to have
"highly qualified teachers" for all core academic courses, such as math, English and science, by the end of this school year 2006. States that don't face a loss of federal funding. As of the 2004-05 school year, nearly 91% of schools nationwide reported having highly qualified teachers for those courses, up from 86% the year before. Wisconsin reported the highest compliance rate at 99.5%. Several, including Hawaii, California and South Carolina, were below 80%. The numbers are improving at a slightly faster rate for schools in the poorest neighborhoods, where nearly 87% of classes
had a qualified teacher last year, compared with 93% in the most affluent areas. With low test scores and high drop-out rates, schools in high-poverty areas historically have had a tougher time attracting and keeping good teachers. Seventeen states are responding to the challenge by offering bonuses, scholarships and other incentives to prospective teachers who sign up for "hard-to-staff" schools, according to Education Commission of the States. For example, New York City is offering up to
$15,000 in housing support to attract teachers of math, science or special education. Nevada tries a different tack, giving principals at high-poverty schools first crack at new teachers. Instructors who refuse an assignment can be removed from the hiring list for a year.


The k12 public school system does not consider the level of expertise for anyone in the world outside of the system. You can be Bill Gates but you wouldn't be considered a qualifed teacher as the Department of Education now demands. It is insane.

Teacher-to-Teacher workshops by which "teachers may obtain highly qualified teacher status without ever leaving their homes

Higher Education--United States--Lists & Ranking
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The Education Commission of the States (ECS) announces the release of an issue paper by Tricia Coulter and Bruce Vandal that explores the expanding and evolving role community colleges are playing in teacher preparation to help meet the ongoing demand for quality teachers. The paper describes the forces shaping education policy and practice around teacher preparation, and offers suggestions on how community colleges can capitalize on their unique attributes to meet critical workforce demand in local and regional communities to positively affect the field of teacher education. Highlighted recommendations from the report include: (1) Teacher preparation should be viewed as a four-year process that includes content and pedagogical training throughout the four-years; (2) Program and course development should be a collaborative process including representation from universities, community colleges and the K-12 sector; (3) Each state department of education should encourage ongoing collaboration and communication among legislators, community colleges, universities and the K-12 sector on how community college teacher preparation can be used to improve the quality of teacher preparation and ameliorate teacher shortages; and (4) Policymakers and institution leaders should consider providing resources to community colleges and K-12 school districts to support customized training for teachers through contracts and/or partnerships between community colleges and school districts.