Phi Beta Cons

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What’s Wrong With Education Schools? You Want a List?


In yesterday’s New York Post, Thomas W. Carroll reports on the testimony New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner gave earlier this week before the state Board of Regents. Steiner, the former dean of education at Hunter College (and son of the cultural critic George Steiner), “says education schools should focus far more on clinical practice in the classroom — and professors at these colleges should be focused far less on getting published in what the Oxford-educated Steiner termed ‘obscure journals.’” He also suggests data-based accreditation for ed schools, alternative paths to certification, exams to make sure teachers know their subjects, and merit and incentive pay.

Steiner has been studying and criticizing education schools for years, and has come under fire for it. At last, some people in the education establishment seem to be listening to him. That’s a good start, but many tough battles lie ahead with New York’s famously powerful teachers’ unions and hidebound state bureaucracy. Steiner can console himself with the lyrics from Kander and Ebb’s song, which definitely apply to education reform: “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”


P.S. Also in yesterday’s paper:

The state Board of Regents yesterday approved the development of a “virtual high school initiative” that will allow students to earn credits online.

The move comes as state officials are rethinking the requirement that students attend a course for a certain amount of hours — known as “seat time” — to earn credits, instead of having them gain credits by demonstrating mastery of a subject.


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