Teaching Can Be a Profession by Joel Klein
Joel Klein was the head of New York City School System for 8 years. He was asked what he would change about the school system if he could just wave a wand. The article and his answer goes as follows:
- We need better academic training for prospective teachers
- no solution stated
I agree with the problem because I believe there is always room for improvement and better academic training can only help, not hurt. In the article he stated that a study revealed that "23 states cannot boast a single program that provides solid math preparation resembling the practices of high-performing nations." The report also found that less than 20% of training programs equip candidates in the basics of reading instruction. I think that programs should be put in place to make teachers the most prepared in every subject.
- We need a new approach for recruiting teachers
- Recruit from the top third of our graduates
I am indifferent about this being called a "problem." While I think on paper that it would be awesome for the top third of graduates to be recruited, I also think that just because you are good at school and made all A's in college does not mean you will be a very effective teacher. There is more than just knowing facts and procedures that makes a teacher really effective. When you look back at the teacher that was most effective to you I doubt the thought that comes to mind is, "Man, they sure knew a lot of facts."
-Change how we reward teachers, right now it is based on seniority
- none stated
I agree that rewarding teachers or giving them the upper hand because they have been there longer is not the way to go. Just because you have experience does not mean you are effective. I think one way improve on this is to do honest self-reflections as well as have someone from the sate or otherwise sit in on classrooms to see what the atmosphere is like because while looking at test scores and improvements are important, the delivery method of their teaching could be way off.
- Almost impossible to remove an incompetent teacher
- professionalize teaching to have different policies with a "formal set of...peer realtionships," have a "national teacher examination" that tests mastery of pedagogy and content knowledge," and require a "supervised internship from one to three years" to evaluate the performance of prospective teachers
I agree that this is a serious problem. I am not a parent but I have had incompetent teachers and have had friends with incompetent teachers and I would be very upset if my child were to spend a year with an incompetent teacher. I do not think that professionalizing teaching would be the only way to resolve this issue. I think a way to resolve this issue to to have someone sit in on classes, review test scores and make sure the teacher is doing as much as they can to make their class beneficial for the student. They should also be open to constructive criticism and be given a period of time to change what needs improvement.
Overall, I think he makes very valid points for his problems but the solutions are not where they should be. I also think that if he was the head of the New York City School District for 8 years he probably saw a lot of problems and saw students from a variety of families and situations. He answered the question of what he would change about the school system with professionalizing teaching. There are flaws with the school system as with everything else in the world. I feel like with as many children's lives that are effected by the school system, his answer should have been more revolved around bettering children's lives than with upgrading teachers' paychecks and worrying about how much we are respected. The paycheck did not draw me to being a teacher. It was knowing that I could make a positive difference in someone's life.