11.2.06

THE HOME OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL MEDIOCRITY? Alan Greenspan is not certified to teach high-school macroeconomics. Ashbrook Center's Terrence Moore sees a problem with that certification.
Some education professors have never taught in a school but rather have committed themselves to educational research. These are the high-flyers who every year come up with or at least spread the good news of a new strategy for revolutionizing education, whether involving "multiple intelligences" or "student-centered learning" or "taxonomy." These professors with their new ideas have presided over the steady decline of students’ learning during the last half-century.
According to Mr Moore, the economics component of the social science teacher certificate is a stumbling block for many.
The subject or subjects the prospective teacher will teach, such as economics, are relegated to the Limbo of one’s "content area." Content courses are the bitter pill one must swallow to get to be a teacher. How bitter can easily be seen by taking a look at the transcript of most any graduate of an ed-school. Every year I receive about a hundred job applications from fully certified teachers for open positions at my school and therefore about a hundred college transcripts, and the story is almost always the same: straight A’s in education courses; multiple C’s, D’s, F’s, and W’s ("withdrawn," i.e. the course is too hard so let’s try it again later or with an easier professor) in one’s content area.
It's difficult to generalize, let alone recommend changes in public policy, on the basis of one search committee's experience. I've had elementary education majors get through my introductory price theory course in good shape, and I work with the local economics teachers in the common schools. We will be putting up the poster contest winners for this year in March. (The poster I show also won the state competition.) On the other hand, many of the entries come from well-to-do neighborhoods. (What was I saying about the common schools failing to socialize?)

(Ashbrook link courtesy Constrained Vision.)

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