Sunday, November 23, 2014

Georgia makes it tougher to become a teacher

     It certainly cannot be disputed that anything that improves a profession that serves the public is a good thing. That is why on the surface that Georgia is raising the bar to improve the quality of educators from testing to ethics and improving student performance seems to be a 'win-win' for everybody. 

What seems to be of remiss is the balance between trying to recruit professionals to a field that lags in pay and prestige mixed with intense pressure from schools, administrators and stakeholders including students and parents that are not held accountable when Jack and Jill or the parents do not do their jobs.  I agree that whatever helps a student succeed with proven research is the right thing to do. In an article written by Rose French and Jaime Sarrio  of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the bar to becoming a Georgia teacher is higher than ever. There is nothing wrong with training teachers to pass tougher tests and show they have ethics that add dignity to the profession. 

   What is not addressed are teacher preparation colleges. Many colleges across the country are not much more than paper mills and this includes more professional fields than education. Many colleges stay in business, (yes business) whether they make the grade or not for placing teachers in jobs as successful professionals and pumping out would be professionals whether the market of supply and demand warrants the graduates. Our student loan debt is in the billions and you tell me if a graduate who cannot find a job cares if they can pay back loans approaching six figures. 

School districts and teachers always take the brunt of the educational criticism. While that is fair, it would be more fair if colleges took their fair share of the criticism  and that includes preparing educators for their future careers.