Phi Beta Cons

A Good Teacher-Preparation Program, Gone

Readers of Phi Beta Cons probably know that most teacher-preparation programs (a.k.a. “education schools”) are intellectually flimsy. They accept mostly weak students and then fill their heads with “progressive” education theories, with the result that many teachers are not very good at whatever academic field they teach, but have been programmed with plenty of theories about student self-esteem, using the classroom to promote “social justice,” and so on. One teacher-training program that did not follow that path is that of Michigan’s Hillsdale College. Alas, a legislative decision made back in 2007 is effectively going to put an end to Hillsdale’s program by requiring that all teacher-preparation programs in the state obtain accreditation from either NCATE or TEAC, the two big national ed-school accreditors. The program will continue, but students will no longer be eligible for certification in Michigan without jumping through additional hoops.

In today’s Pope Center piece, our intern Ford Ramsey writes about this lamentable state of affairs.

If Michigan’s teacher-licensing exam is any good, why not allow anyone to attempt it? If a prospective teacher can pass, why should it matter in the least whether he or she went to an accredited ed school? And why not go a step further and make certification just one more factor for school decisionmakers to consider? I knew one headmaster of a highly respected private school in Michigan who said that he was only interested in finding out whether a prospective teacher had a deep knowledge of some field and a passion for teaching it. For him, credentials and certificates were irrelevant.

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