Archive for Monday, June 20, 2011

In tough times for schools, teaching degrees still sought

June 20, 2011


Though teachers are being laid off at an increasing level across the state, schools that train teachers aren’t overreacting to the bad economic news.

At Kansas University, the school does have some caps in enrollments, but not an overall cap, said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the KU School of Education.

“We’ve always limited enrollment in some of our programs,” he said.

Some of those are tied to the job market — for instance, the state doesn’t need as many elementary school teachers right now, he said.

Other caps are tied to budgetary constraints and are designed to keep class sizes low, he said.

The KU education school’s enrollment has fallen since fall 2008, when it was 2,036, to 1,911 in fall 2010.

Ginsberg said in today’s job market, recently graduated teachers might do well to prepare themselves to have to be mobile and to be willing to work outside their preferred place to live.

At Emporia State University, the Teachers College accepts the students who meet their requirements academically.

“We don’t have caps on our programs,” said Ken Weaver, associate dean of the college.

Still, he said, the shrinking market is a concern. He recalled shivering outside in the cold during the school’s most recent spring commencement.

“I’m wondering, not only for our graduates, but for graduates throughout the state that are preparing to graduate, what will happen to them?” he said.


scarletbhound 6 years, 10 months ago

As a retired middle school social studies teacher, I have some thoughts on this subject. The best thing we could do for education is to close schools of education and find other ways to train teachers. While completing a traditional education program, I was subjected to the lowest level of academic rigor imaginable. Education schools attract the bottom of the barrel in the academic competency of both students and professors. The typical ed school curriculum at KU and most universities is an insult to the intelligence of any halfway competent person. Anyone who has taken a class in ed school knows what I'm talking about. Instead, future teachers should major in a legitimate liberal arts subject where they will actually learn critical thinking, problem solving and other necessary competencies. They then should enter a school-based apprentice-style program where they will be mentored by real-world classroom teachers, rather than the intellectually deficient ed doctorates who dominate ed schools. Ask any teacher and she/he will say they learned to teach by watching and learning from senior instructors. I could go on an on about this. But based on everything I learned in years of teaching, I can state will all confidence that Kansas and the rest of the country will never have top-notch schools until we raise the academic competency and intellectual acumen of our teachers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

This isn't intended as a comment towards you, ksfbcoach, but my experience as a student teacher (thirty years ago) was that all too often, the cooperating teachers were too often mostly interested in having extended coffee breaks while the student teacher takes on most of the work. Very little mentoring going on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree with much of what you say, but there is a good deal that can be taught about pedagogy and teaching techniques in a college classroom.

That said, much of what is worth learning can be taught in a couple of semester's worth of classes. After that, there is often too much rehashing of the same material.

My suggestion is to do away with the student-teaching phase, and do as you suggest, which is to have "a school-based apprentice-style program." Perhaps this could be done in coordination with/supervision of the universities from which they graduate. But I would put these apprentices on staff, with appropriate salary. One role they could fill would be as substitutes when the regular faculty are away. They'd know the curriculum and the students, which outside subs often don't know, and it too often means that any learning is put on hold for the day.

gkerr 6 years, 10 months ago

ScarletHound, Schools of Education are part of a failed system of public education. I know many many teachers, friends and family both, every one have complained repeatedly, almost incessantly, over the years regarding courses required for certification, recertification, advanced degrees to get ahead financially by doing expensive busywork to qualify for this or that perk or advancement. Schools of education are incubators for the next trendy " must learn" system to improve, what?- self esteem, self control, reading- phonics versus whole word, versus, memorization, versus Lord knows what, new math, math made simple, old math, pain-free math, quality assurance, curriculum theory. In service meetings introduce this or that educator, now a consultant and systems theorists with the latest gimmick decried as a failure decades ago and reborn in the fertile imagination of a grand marketer of ideas about the "latest exciting discovery" which will revolutionize the public school experience, as well as count as CME credit for the next cycle of recertification. Alas folks, it's all too often a ploy to maintain business for the consultants, neat things to schedule for the administrators, and business for the schools of education, as well as keep the grunt teachers off balance and on the defensive attempting to jump through the latest flaming hoop designed by bureaucrats at war jwith common sense. Cynicism cannot keep up with the base reality of the progressive swamp of Public Education. Gkerr

xclusive85 6 years, 10 months ago

scarletbound, I like the idea. I like it so much, that if you are not familiar with the UKAN teach program at KU, you should look into it. I think it is basically for science majors, but it allows them to graduate with their scientific degree as well as a teaching certificate. I think this basically is what you are describing.

KSManimal 6 years, 10 months ago

Too often we hear the call to get people from the "top" of the academic pile to enter the teaching profession. As solutions, people talk of increased rigor in teacher-prep, or the joke that is "Teach for America". More like "pad your resume, then get the hell out"....

Why don't the "top" students enter education? Could it be because the "top" students, overall, come from the top income bracket families? (Yes, they do). Could it be that no one wants to spend top dollar on an ivy-league education, only to sink into free lunches and food stamps on a teacher's salary?

When our pro athletes and corporate CEO's earn millions, they are defended on the basis of "that's what is necessary to attract top talent". Try suggesting higher salaries to attract top talent into teaching and see what happens......

gkerr 6 years, 10 months ago

KSManimal, What do the Ivy league schools have to do with it except serve as a fountain of progressive drivel and the next new lame scheme to be foisted on the next generation of teachers and students. Ivy league, Ivory Tower pin heads are part of the problem not the solution.

Use the principle of subsidiarity in education, get rid of larger and less personable consolidated districts, cut the Administrators numbers in half, reduce the coaching staff sizes, eliminate tenure which breeds cowardice and reduces effort to improve, quit sending 7 students on busses seating forty to debate competitions three counties away, defund schools of education to eliminate their redundant staffs, and administrators forever attempting to prove their value by changing this or that rule, regulation, goal, curriculum style, requirement, code of ethics to advance change for changes sake because change seems to make the Change Agents relevant when they are actually destroyers of continuity and tradition that might have been more productive as it had been in the past. Gkerr

Scott Morgan 6 years, 10 months ago

Why is it assumed the best avoid teaching? There are many and God bless them whom understand a job working with history, or English literature for instance isn't happening unless they go into teaching.

The wonderful women who taught my kids writing actually designed lesson plans for use in other districts. From what I heard she did research, gleaned others information, tested, evaluated, and published. Me thinks there are many more like her than not.

Not a teaching major, but the old joke used to be insert any off the wall major (anthropology)

What do you call an anthropology major after they graduate? Unemployed.

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