Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Compared to what is required to enter any serious profession, teacher education is a joke.

A cursory comparison illuminates this reality. Let's match up the preparation of podiatrists with that of teachers. Before admission to a four-year college of podiatric medicine, potential feet fixers must complete at least three years of demanding pre-medical study at an accredited college or university and also score well on the rigorous medical college admissions test.

Should they be admitted they must satisfactorily complete two years of tough classroom instruction,in courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, biomechanics, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology. This is followed by two years of clinical training and practice. Graduates earn the degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine; but the majority continue their training for from one to four years in hospital residency programs.

Now let's take a  look at teacher preparation. Aspiring teachers merely must complete high school and then gain admission to any one of the hundreds of colleges and universities, many of them third or fourth tier, that prepare teachers. Here they experience underfunded, weak kneed, undergraduate teacher preparation programs that serve as school cash cows. After their often weak-kneed course work there is a semester of student teaching with a supervising teacher whose primary qualification is their willingness to put up with it. Pass a couple of state required tests and a brand new teacher is born. Does this  seem too demanding? Be of good cheer, there are alternative routes that require far less effort.

It's not that teaching is easier than podiatry. There is at least as much to be known about teaching, learning and human development as there is about bunions, hammer toes and plantar warts.  As a matter of fact, there may be a good deal more to know. But we don't value our kids as much as we do our foot comfort . End of story.

See ”Teach for America" at Teach for America

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