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Smarmie Doofus

(14,498 posts)
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 08:50 AM Nov 2014

Did Obama/Bush/Duncan/Gates Plan for This?

If so... what's the plan?

>>>Steep Drops Seen in Teacher-Prep Enrollment Numbers
California and other big states particularly hard hit, raising supply concerns
By Stephen Sawchuk

Fresh from the United States Air Force, Zachary Branson, 33, wanted a career with a structured day and hours that would allow him to be home in time to watch his kids in the evening. But just a month into his online teacher-preparation program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he had something of a crisis of faith.

It was brought on, he said, by the sense of being in the middle of an ideological war that surfaced in everything from state-level education policy on down to his course textbook, which had a distinct anti-standardized-testing bent.

"I feel like teachers are becoming a wedge politically, and I don't want anything to do with that," Mr. Branson said.
He's not alone in having qualms about entering the teaching profession.

Massive changes to the profession, coupled with budget woes, appear to be shaking the image of teaching as a stable, engaging career. Nationwide, enrollments in university teacher-preparation programs have fallen by about 10 percent from 2004 to 2012, according to federal estimates from the U.S. Department of Education's postsecondary data collection.

Teacher-Prep Enrollment Trends by State
Enrollments in teacher-preparation programs (including alternative-route options) have fallen dramatically in some states in recent years, while holding steady in others.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Act Title II Data Collection
Some large states, like heavyweight California, appear to have been particularly hard hit. The Golden State lost some 22,000 teacher-prep enrollments, or 53 percent, between 2008-09 and 2012-13, accordin>>>>>>

the rest: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/22/09enroll.h34.html

13 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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(26,371 posts)
1. When my students ask me about being teachers,
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 08:57 AM
Nov 2014

I advise them to do it only if they can't be happy doing anything else and under no circumstances to teach in Florida.

That goes double if they are interested in going into higher ed.

Sad thing is, I love teaching, but I know how lucky I am to have a tenured spot in a small college. Most new (and old) PhDs are ending up in Adjunct Nation now, and k12 teachers here in Florida don't have any shot at tenure at all and spend most of the year drilling their students for tests.

This is not the profession it once was, to say the least, and that makes me very sad.


(10,849 posts)
2. I teach first. I agree. I love the
Reply to QC (Reply #1)
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 09:27 AM
Nov 2014

Last edited Sat Nov 1, 2014, 11:55 AM - Edit history (1)

children and teaching them. The overwhelming bs and demands are too much.


(26,371 posts)
7. The bureaucratic BS is getting to be just as bad in higher ed.
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 11:49 AM
Nov 2014

NCLB is coming to college now.

The mania for assessment is smothering us just like K12 now.


(28,394 posts)
9. I agree.
Reply to QC (Reply #1)
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 12:31 PM
Nov 2014

I was fortunate that I could retire after the 2013-14 school year when the evaluations-from-hell took over in our state. I feel sad for the new teachers who will never know how it was before NCLB and RTTT.

I miss teaching, but not all the other b.s. I would never advise anyone to become a teacher unless they are prepared to forego all of their ideals of how they "thought" it would be.


(6,960 posts)
3. Yes. It is the plan.
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 09:40 AM
Nov 2014

'Teachers' in the new data-driven/based world of Common Core, standardized testing, teacher evaluations, and charters-STEM schools need only be computer aids and test proctors.

The goal is that a 'teacher' in the near future need only take a nine week seminar to learn the legal social-medical rights and/or responsibilities associated with supervising minors; how to troubleshoot computer problems; how to follow the curriculum schedule; how to administer tests and, finally, how to do fill out all the forms for their own evaluation. This 'teacher' can be anybody with an associates degree who will work for about $35,000 a year, some benefits -- no union!

In the postmodern consumer capitalist world of 'democracy of the marketplace' there isn't any place for professionals in education except for administrators and data consultants/analysts.

Your public library as a public civic institution has probably already seen this transformation -- like Common Core the point is to cater to the lowest common denominator and call it "choice" and "market freedom."

So, of course, there are those who would still love to be a traditional teacher, but those days are going away and those in the profession or just starting now to get into it are finding out how much it is gone ... and they are bailing out.

So sad that when it comes to education Obama and Bush have been using exactly the same road map.


Smarmie Doofus

(14,498 posts)
5. But one of the foundational premises of the entire "reform" argument was...
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 10:45 AM
Nov 2014

.... ps teachers weren't the "best and the brightest"...."drawn from bottom half of college class".... "low sat scores", etc.

So thinning the ranks of teacher candidates (op) is going to.... do what exactly? *Lower* the quality... if I remember my rules of "supply and demand" correctly.

Yet I saw the low-quality teacher argument reprised as recently as this week in NYTimes by Frank Bruni -- former food critic and now full time oped columnist. Bruni... alas ... feels he has some special expertise in this area ( public ed) but I have no idea why he would think such a thing.

In any case , you're saying the whole meme about "The quality of the teacher is the single most important variable" in the educational outcome of the urban public school student is/was a conscious and deliberate lie. Yes?

Proof of which is established by op data?

I'm inclined to agree but I was hoping some pro-"reform" DEMs would weigh in here.

Seem's like some "splainin" is in order.

Maybe that position can be defended.


(35,076 posts)
12. That "single most important variable" quote-like thing is a problem.
Sun Nov 2, 2014, 06:21 PM
Nov 2014

It's both true and misleading.

"Important" is a loaded word. And its restricted by "single."

It's singled out for a simple reason: Teachers are the one thing that administrators have control over that they can exercise control over easily.

Home life accounts for over half of student achievement in most factorial analyses that aren't predetermined.

Teachers are about half of what's left, or less than a quarter of so of achievement. What's left is standards, building, and administration. (Of course, a lot of "teacher" is also administrative policy--it's really hard to separate those out.) Administrators aren't going to blame themselves and the school climate they create. They aren't going to criticize the district--their bosses. And they have no control over the standards. Even when they say, "If you need to scrap some of the content to ensure mastery," the next time there's a local standardized test they ignore what they said and come back at you, "Your students did badly on this standard--you're required to teach *all* the standards." Yes, they usually lie to avoid complaints. The thing about state standards is they're usually a bit vague and can easily, if done minimally correct, take up not 180 instructional days (minus tests, assemblies, fire drills, etc.) but 250 or even 300 instruction days (without tests, assemblies, etc.)

So if you look at the teacher portion, you also have a lot of factors. Teacher "quality" include their classroom management skills and personality, their cultural acuity and "fit" with their kids, it includes their training in their field and the particular content that they're teaching. It includes experience and pacing. Most teachers have enough knowledge to do an okay job. So what's left isn't whether they'll score 0% out of their quarter contribution to student achievement but whether they'll get 15 of the 20-23% of that they're responsible for or 20 of those percentage points. And those percentage points are distributed over all the teacher characteristics, not just their smarts.

My school is a bit loud. The administration wants it that way because it's a sign of "student centered learning." The research shows this works well--esp. if implemented perfectly or in higher-achievement classrooms. In level classrooms with 30 students it's really hard to implement. You get lots of slackers copying. Your test grades go bimodal--lots of 50s and 90s, fewer 75s. That's classroom management--but made worse by administrative diktat.

Some strange things show that how teacher quality and student backgrounds interact isn't trivial and doesn't really validate the factorial analyses very well. If you're a woman teacher teaching boys you ding their scores more than if you're a man teacher teaching girls. On average. If you're a white teacher teaching blacks you hurt their scores more than if you're a black teacher teaching whites--on average. How does this work? Here's an example. One of my students liked the Princess Bride and years ago choose as her username on some account "Inigo Montoya." I had to sort out who that was because the account reported her grade, and when I said "Inigo" some black students thought I had said she--a white girl--was "a (n-word)", and they'd never heard of Inigo or the Princess Bride. They tuned me out for a while. Showed their displeasure and resentment. And scored lower on the test a few days later. Voila: The achievement gap increased because I said "Inigo" and they misunderstood me, and refused to accept that they misunderstood me. They assumed I'd said the word and then lied. Had I been black the response would have been different. It's not a trivial interplay. That kind of thing may show up intermittently, but just the cultural difference feeds a kind of low-level ethnocentrism. And I can't be both upper-class white, lower-class black, and two kinds of Latino all at the same time. It comes off as inauthentic, and that's a problem.

If you know your content well, with a masters degree in it, you do a better job than if you just have the minimum coursework--but that really matters if you're teaching honors, pre-AP, AP classes. If you're teaching physics in Integrated Chemistry and Physics to kids who are strugging, it doesn't matter that much. But it can still matter in how you set up experiments and demonstrations, how you construct plausibly true analogies. If you know your content really well, then it's easy to drive your classes too hard and pitch them at too high a level--and alienate your kids.

So it's not an obvious, intentional lie that the quality of the teacher is the single most important variable. It's an important one, but "quality" has a lot of components to it and the nature and weight of those components changes by student population. It's the easiest one for administrators to rail against, and the one that parents can easily focus on.

And it doesn't help that the NEA and AFT harped on it for years, and every time they push for greater rights/pay they say, "Pay us more and we'll attract higher quality grads." Because it's true--most beginning teachers have historically come from the bottom 3rd or so of their graduating class, even though that's not the most important aspect of being a good teacher. I've known social studies teachers that had to take the qualification test 3, 4, 5 times to pass. (It's just not that hard.) Math and science teachers in Texas that are glad that the results aren't reported publicly if you pass--get a 73 or whatever the cutoff is and it's as good as a 99. Still, classroom management skills are more important.


Smarmie Doofus

(14,498 posts)
13. Good stuff here. Lot's of interesting analysis and observations.
Mon Nov 3, 2014, 12:56 PM
Nov 2014

But can you relate all that to the question of whether or not *reducing* the pool of *potential* teachers..... which is precisely what the policies of the last 6 years have produced... is consistent with the oft-repeated claim that the goal of "reform" is to raise the "quality" of classroom teachers?

We both understand that "quality" is a complex question. Even if the "reformers" do not.

Let's accept their definition for the moment. ( However they wish to define it.)

Are we more likely to get "quality" ( however defined) from LARGE pool of aspiring teachers or from SMALL pool of aspiring teachers?

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
4. NCLB was a Business Created attack on our Public School system and on actual Teachers.
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 10:01 AM
Nov 2014

Airc, that program was invented by Businessmen with little if any, input from Educators. The goal was to continue the privatization of Public Funds, Health Care, SS, Education etc. Anywhere there is a huge Public fund, the Wall St/Heritage Fund/Right Wing 'privatizers' have had their greedy eyes on them for a long, long time.

NCLB was the program that would use the Education Funding to enrich Private Corporations, most of them at the time, friends of Bush. So, the Teach by Testing scheme, and it IS a scheme, obscenely enriched the 'Education Publishing Corporations' and is still doing so. No educator would ever have approved of such a system which is why there were none involved in its conception.

Common Core is NCLB on steroids. So, rather than do what we Dems thought would be done, considering the failure of NCLB as an education system, (it is a huge success as a private business venture) when Dems were elected, to the shock of those who voted for them, we got Arne Duncan, someone who has proven over and over again how little he knows about Education, as the Education Secretary.

And America's students are failing as a result. Good teachers will not work under such a system, they CANNOT do so. And I believe that IS the plan, to reduce Education to a Private Business venture.

woo me with science

(32,139 posts)
8. K&R This is your party on corporate cash.
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 11:52 AM
Nov 2014

Corporate-purchased parties are predatory, Republican or Democratic.

We are constantly urged to circle wagons around vipers, when the truth is that in order to SAVE the party, we need to get the cash out, and the cash-purchased infiltrators.


Smarmie Doofus

(14,498 posts)
11. The point is, isn't this going to result in *lower* quality teachers in the classroom?
Sat Nov 1, 2014, 05:37 PM
Nov 2014

If fewer people want to enter the field.... isn't there less of a pool from which to draw the desired talent?

We've been told for ten years..... and for six years *incessantly* throughout the Obama administration .....that " the quality of the teacher in the classroom is the single most important variable in the educational outcomes for public school youth." ( Or one of many variations of that statement.)

Presumably, then, it follows that attracting "higher quality" talent into teacher programs and then to the classroom should be a priority. No?

Simple question: why would "high quality" talent want to enter the profession under the " teacher accountability reforms" that have characterized the last ten years and PARTICULARLY the last 6, and which both sides acknowledge that teachers consider onerous.

Are the school reformers ( I identify the most prominent in the header) that venal and malevolent ?

Or are they simply stupid?

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