|Wednesday, February 17, 1999||
Volume 64, Issue 95
Mahmoudi on Balls
Ed De La Garza
Teacher's in trouble...
Elizabeth Dole told a conference of educators in Washington on Monday that U.S. universities and colleges must do a better job of training prospective teachers and that teacher training should be placed "at the center of our higher education system."
In her speech to the American Council on Education, Dole called for "zero tolerance toward bad teaching."
She reiterated a theme from President Clinton's State of the Union address in which he said, "in too many schools teachers don't have college majors or even minors in the subjects they teach" and added that new teachers should be subject to performance exams.
In addressing the council, Dole said, "We have seen too much evidence of intellectual nonperformance. The litany of data citing underperformance of some teachers is long and not pretty: teachers not trained in the fields they are teaching, foreign language teachers who are not conversant in language and special exemptions for prospective science teachers from the rigorous science courses."
The low quality of teachers in the United States is apparent by simply looking at our students compared to the rest of the world. We are seriously lagging behind.
How can we produce college graduates when we can't even produce high school students capable of passing a TAAS test?
Despite these problems, efforts have been made to educate teachers and give them the skills they need to produce successful students.
At UH for example, The Houston Teachers Institute received a $375,000 grant to offer seminars to about 70 middle and high school teachers in HISD during a three-year period.
While this isn't the final solution, the program is certainly a step in the right direction.
The next step is to start at the college level before students become teachers.
This would require stricter hiring practices by schools, forcing would-be teachers to earn a degree in the field they want to teach.
The police are trained before they enter their field. You don't just give someone a hose and tell them "Put out that fire." Doctors undergo years of study before they're allowed to see their first patient.
We trust these people with our lives. Don't we trust teachers with our careers?