Walter E. Williams

One of the very best things that can be done for education is to eliminate schools of education. There's little in the curriculum that contributes directly to the development of the mind. Simanek says that "most teachers have learned 'methods and skills' of teaching, but don't have a solid understanding of the subject they teach. So they end up 'teaching' trivia, misinformation and intellectual garbage, but doing it with 'professional' polish. Most do not display love of learning, nor the ability to do intense intellectual activity of any kind. Lacking these qualities, they cannot possibly inspire and nourish these qualities in their students."

According to a recent study by the North Central Regional Education Laboratory titled, "Effective Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategies in the Midwest," 75 percent to 100 percent of the teachers that leave the profession are ranked as either "effective" or "very effective.

To improve teaching, we must attract people of higher intellectual ability and we must make teacher salaries related to ability and effectiveness. We must ensure that teachers have more academic freedom, better working conditions and a suitable environment for teaching. An important component of that environment is the capacity to remove students who are alien and hostile to the education process. Finally, we should consider curriculum changes that eliminate courses that have little, if anything, to do with reading, writing and arithmetic.

The low academic quality of many of our teachers is neither flattering nor comfortable to confront, but confront it we must if we're to do anything about our sorry state of education.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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