“Industry of Mediocrity”

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

In a recent study, conducted by the bipartisan National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), the authors concluded that colleges’ teaching preparation is an “industry of mediocrity.”

The council, which is a bipartisan research and advocacy group, had undertaken eight years of intensive research to investigate the struggles of the American education system and even fought in court for access to sensitive information and files. The report observed 608 colleges and universities that trained teachers in addition to 522 others, where these institutions churn out up to 80% of  teachers on an annual basis.

One of the major contentions of the study is outlined by the following quote:

“The heart of the matter for the field of teacher education is that students taught by first-year teachers lose far too much ground. And it’s not just the students who suffer. First-year teachers deal with so much anxiety and exhaustion that many just crash and burn.”

The NCTQ also found out that according to their ratings system, only 10 percent of U.S. colleges earn medium ratings of three stars or more. Only 4, Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Furman, have more than a 4-star rating on a scale of 5 stars. It is also too easy to get into a teacher preparation course, with the top half of the class admitted as teachers while other countries restrict it to the top third at most. One of the worst findings was that only 7% of teacher preparation programs ensured that student teachers are working with effective and willing teachers and mentors in their field.

The U.S., in the report’s executive summary, has “slipped well into the middle of the pack” after years of being the chief example of education success. One of the chief culprits? Colleges and universities, which are churning out tomorrow’s teachers. The writers of the report conclude:

“They have become an industry of mediocrity, churning out first-year teachers with classroom management skills and content knowledge inadequate to thrive in classrooms with ever-increasing ethnic and socioeconomic student diversity.” Mastery of subject matter, as you can see, was barely addressed. We brace ourselves for that study.


Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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