Ripped from the Headlines: Education Reform & Teacher Quality

Once again, the Dark Horse is ahead of the curve.

And a shout-out to Brandon, who scooped the rest of the media in our most recent podcast by raising the following issue:

Should American Universities require education majors to take more classes in the substantive fields that they will teach?

Several days after his comments, the New York Times reports a study that compares the math skills of education students in the US who plan on teaching in elementary and middle schools to the math skills of their counterparts in 15 other countries. The test probed students’ understanding of calculus and other fields of advanced mathematics — see “US Falls Short in Measure of Future Math Teachers”, by Sam Dillon, 2/15/10.

The findings?

American students fall pretty much in the middle. For instance, future elementary teachers in Singapore, Switzerland & Taiwan outperformed them, those from Germany, Norway, Russia & Thailand matched them, while those from Botswana, Chile, Georgie, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland & Spain didn’t do as well.

What can we conclude from this study (other than that the Dark Horse has a keen instinct for what’s hot)?

Some already cite the study in their effort to require American education students to take more discipline-related classes. Others point to the study’s limits — it examines a small number of countries, and, since calculus isn’t taught in either elementary or middle schools it’s not clear how relevant a deep mastery of those fields is to being a successful teacher in those schools.

Only one thing seems clear — coming to the Dark Horse gives you the chance to hear today what everyone else will be talking about tomorrow.


One Response

  1. But I will be in such staggering debt by the time I’m through med school, I will be compelled to require a good deal of money for my services. In other words, if the American People continually vote to live in a “screw or be screwed” society, then even the well-meaning are faced with choosing one or the other. And if it comes to that, you know which one I will pick. I’d much prefer that it didn’t.

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