NYTimes EDITORIAL, Dec 17, 2013
Why Other Countries Teach Better – Why Students Do Better Overseas
What is shocking in the filed of education in the United States is the shortsightedness. There is the hue and cry about the fall of education and some quick fixes are soon brought in. Soon greed takes over and profit making companies step into the arena with products to fix the “wrongs” in education. For example, districts are paying out a great deal of money to the Pearson Group for their Common Core Modules, their tests, and their software like “Successmaker”. But, any educator can see that the modules are slipshod and the tests are not addressing what was learned. It becomes evident that these supporting materials were not prepared by experienced educators and the final products are shoddy and sloppy. The Gates Foundation monies are available for these and districts are eager to embrace them looking for the dangling money. But the local school boards do not take the voices of their own educators into considerations in their decision making.
There is no equal opportunity in public education in the US. The districts are not funded equally. Wealthy districts receive more state aid than the poorer districts even though the latter’s financial needs are greater. Instead of funding schools by their sizes and needs, wealth generates more money. Equal opportunities take a tumble to the wayside.
The teacher preparation in the US is “abysmal” just as the article indicates. It is astonishing to see the kind of candidates who enroll to become teachers. After their so called pedagogical training, it is alarming to see the lack of academic abilities in many of those who qualify to teach. It is even more alarming to see the deficiency in their communication skills. This is not to take away from the inspiring teachers who serve our students so efficiently and with so much dedication.
It is important to attract gifted students to the teaching profession. Neither the society nor the purse strings of the bureaucracy make it possible. In the natural course of events, those with talents often seek more lucrative professions. There are rare occurrences of those talented people who forego the more material benefits for a life of service.