Thursday, June 02, 2005

Double-Teaming against Education

First, we teachers had NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND thrust upon us. Good idea, bad bill. I'll tell you why in another post. It did encourage school districts to try harder to reach and teach our students, but most teachers have no idea how to, because, as I've said before, teachers aren't properly trained to teach. Now, some teacher colleges are atively trying to make things even worse.
From Atlas Shrugs I was led to this article by Jacob Gershman in the New York Sun.
Brooklyn College's School of Education has begun to base evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to social justice, raising fears that the college is screening students for their political views.
The School of Education at the CUNY campus initiated last fall a new method of judging teacher candidates based on their "dispositions," a vogue in teacher training across the country that focuses on evaluating teachers' values, apart from their classroom performance.
Further into the article it gets even scarier:
To drive home the notion that education schools ought to evaluate teacher candidates on such parameters as attitude toward social justice, the council issued a revision of its accrediting policies in 2002 in a Board of Examiners Update. It encouraged schools to tailor their assessments of dispositions to the schools' guiding principles, which are known in the field as "conceptual frameworks." The council's policies say that if an education school "has described its vision for teacher preparation as 'Teachers as agents of change' and has indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate's commitment to social justice."

Brooklyn College's School of Education, which is the only academic unit at the college with the status of school, is among dozens of education schools across the country that incorporate the notion of "social justice" in their guiding principles. At Brooklyn, "social justice" is one of the four main principles in its conceptual framework. The school's conceptual framework states that it develops in its students "a deeper understanding of the quest for social justice." In its explanation of that mission, the school states: "We educate teacher candidates and other school personnel about issues of social injustice such as institutionalized racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism."

So in order to become accepted as a teacher, political correctness and multiculturalism trump skills and content knowledge.

In this interview with Pamela R. Winnick by Bill Steigerwald on textbooks, we're told,
We get this ridiculous situation where there are all kinds of politically correct things made in the name of science. In one of the textbooks, for example, there's an emphasis on Native Americans. In the chapter that's supposed to be on the science of climate, they spend several pages talking about an Algonquin myth about how when the crows return that means it's spring. It takes several pages before they actually get to the science of why climate changes — the rotation of the Earth and so forth.
And that's only some of the stupidity that teachers are supposed to translate into knowledge.

When teachers are only allowed to teach multicultualism and political correctness, will standardized tests be changed to reflect this teaching? Will they be as devoid of content as the textbooks?

In the district I teach, most teachers are forced to use some textbooks containing misinformation. I've pointed out some of the distortions to administrators and they politely ignored me. The problem is, teachers are still held accountable. The consultants from the textbook companies insist that their product works, it's "research based". Except for me (because I've done the research), the teachers don't know enough to dispute the consultants, and everyone is tired of listening to me.

Because I taught my fourth graders phonetically this year, we were able to read, discuss, and do lots of writing on Macbeth. Now they are memorizing portions of the play and some of them are begging to read Hamlet. We may read part of it, but there isn't much time left in the school year. We did read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. We had an interesting discussion. They understand more than I thought.

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