The Corner

Education

North Carolina Confronts its Poor Teacher Preparation

Many North Carolina students lag behind in academic ability; only 40 percent of fourth graders read at their grade level and only 41 percent of high-school students graduate with college-level reading skills. Those figures have remained steady for years, despite state programs to improve upon the poor results.

Perhaps the problem is rooted in the state’s teacher preparation programs. Maybe lots of teachers are not good at teaching reading. Maybe they aren’t good readers themselves.

In today’s Martin Center piece, Shannon Watkins looks at the latest moves by political and education leaders to improve teacher preparation in the state. The UNC Board of Governors has formed an Advisory Group to make recommendations.

The trouble is that the people behind that group are mostly the same education “professionals” whose ideas are responsible for the state’s problems. “Current trends in educational outcomes,” Watkins writes, “are almost assuredly due, in part, to programs created from prior research produced by schools of education. Looking toward more recent research by the same sources that caused the situation in the first place may mean a continuation of the problem, rather than a cure.”

A huge part of our poor teaching is the fact that entrance standards for college “education schools” are quite low. That fact has been known for a long time, but so far UNC leaders have done nothing but talk about it. Watkins writes, “So far, UNC officials have only paid lip service to setting high standards. They’ve done so by stating that they will evaluate ‘candidates’ mean scores on college entrance exams’ and ‘pass rates on pre-professional skills tests.’ However, they have not yet defined what test scores students will need in order to be considered ‘highly qualified.’”

The education blob will probably protect itself against any significant changes. Parents who want high-quality instruction will need to look for affordable private schools.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

Most Popular

NR Webathon

Don’t Let Them Destroy the Country

I   don’t come to you with tidings of joy. If you aren’t alarmed by what’s happening to the country, you haven’t been paying attention. I don’t simply mean the sickening violence. I mean the campaign to excuse it and normalize it by the media establishment and the intellectual elite. It’s ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Them Destroy the Country

I   don’t come to you with tidings of joy. If you aren’t alarmed by what’s happening to the country, you haven’t been paying attention. I don’t simply mean the sickening violence. I mean the campaign to excuse it and normalize it by the media establishment and the intellectual elite. It’s ... Read More
Science & Tech

Trump Derangement Syndrome at The Lancet

Remember when we were told that the administration of Donald J. Trump posed a pernicious threat to science and medicine? In an attempt to sharpshoot Trump’s most famous scientific claim, one of the world’s leading medical journals just blew off its own foot. What other possible explanation can there be for ... Read More
Science & Tech

Trump Derangement Syndrome at The Lancet

Remember when we were told that the administration of Donald J. Trump posed a pernicious threat to science and medicine? In an attempt to sharpshoot Trump’s most famous scientific claim, one of the world’s leading medical journals just blew off its own foot. What other possible explanation can there be for ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Protest Loophole

Did you know there is a giant loophole to the legally enforceable social-distancing guidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic? New York City mayor Bill de Blasio was reminded by a reporter earlier this week that retail stores and houses of worship had been closed for months. All public gatherings were limited by law ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Protest Loophole

Did you know there is a giant loophole to the legally enforceable social-distancing guidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic? New York City mayor Bill de Blasio was reminded by a reporter earlier this week that retail stores and houses of worship had been closed for months. All public gatherings were limited by law ... Read More