Teaching in a traditional public school in this country requires a license. To get it in most states means having to attend a school of education. What transpires there, however, is nothing short of a scandal (“The Burden of Bad Ideas,” by Heather MacDonald).
The problem is that schools of education have become centers of political indoctrination rather than venues for inculcating effective pedagogy. I vividly remember when I was working on my California teaching credential in 1964 how disappointed I was with the courses I had to take at UCLA before beginning my student teaching.
One course was educational psychology, which was totally irrelevant. The second was educational philosophy, which was even more so. The one exception was a course in curriculum and instruction in secondary schools, which was outstanding because it provided a viable paradigm that could be immediately used in the classroom.
Matters have gotten only worse since I was working on my credential. Today, courses serve as venues for victimization. When the Los Angeles Unified School District was under court order to integrate, teachers were required to take an in-service class about cultural differences. Instead of providing knowledge about how to reach students from diverse backgrounds, it focused solely on cultural grievances. I sat through the class, counting the minutes until the bell rang but no more prepared to teach these new arrivals.
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