19.1.20

THERE'S NO MONEY TO COPE WITH A TEACHER SHORTAGE BY RAISING WAGES?

Welcome to raising your kids in Illinois.  At the end of the previous academic year, this was the state of affairs.
It's the same old story, year after year.  "The report said shortages were reported in almost every subject area, with foreign languages, special education fields and computer science leading the list of classroom subjects. There also were significant shortages of school psychologists and library and media specialists."
I'm reminded of that Soviet era joke that ends, "pull down the shades and pretend we're moving."  If insufficiently many people screen for the job, make the job easier to screen for.  "Someone who wants to be a teacher, someone who knows a test is coming up, can't prepare sufficiently for a basic skills test and the problem is the test?"

Read the details, and weep.
Kelly McConohy has spent 11 years working as a paraprofessional, assisting students with special needs at Glenview Middle School. She wanted to become a licensed teacher.

But even after earning a degree in educational studies, she couldn’t pass the state’s Basic Skills Test. The math portion, with 60 story problems, gave her the most trouble. That’s partly because, at age 52, McConohy hasn’t taken a rigorous math class in decades. But it’s partly because the test is tough. Only 31 percent of college students pass the math portion on the first try.

When the legislature eliminated that test, it cleared the way for McConohy to move to the next requirement — student teaching — which she began this week. When I spoke with her on Monday, after her first day, she sounded positively giddy.

“I love this job,” she said. “I’ve never loved a job before, I can honestly say. And this is a truly just so… it’s so my thing. I love it.​”

McConohy is still with the same students, in the same program, working with children who have emotional disabilities. At Glenview, it’s called the Success program, “because it’s more positive,” McConohy said.
Yes, calling troubled kids successful is part of the problem. It's that same college of education mindset that equips college graduates with a lot of self-esteem and darned little ability to, oh, pass the mathematics test.  Story problems?  Bet there isn't a "sand falls into a conical pile" question among them.

Maybe that's what makes the analytics guys in opinion polling or sports or option trading so obnoxious, having to deal with overconfident innumerates all the time.

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