Walter E. Williams

Poor teacher preparation is not a problem restricted to California. In Massachusetts, only 27 percent of new teachers could pass the math test needed to be certified as a teacher. A 2011 investigation by Atlanta's Channel 2 Action News found that more than 700 Georgia teachers repeatedly failed at least one portion of the certification test they are required to pass before receiving a teaching certificate. Nearly 60 teachers failed the test more than 10 times, and one teacher failed the test 18 times. They also found that there were 297 teachers on the Atlanta school system's payroll even though they had failed the state certification test five times or more.

Textbooks used in schools of education might explain some teacher ineptitude. A passage in Marilyn Burns' text About Teaching Mathematics reads, "There is no place for requiring students to practice tedious calculations that are more efficiently and accurately done by using calculators." New Designs for Teaching and Learning, by Dennis Adams and Mary Hamm, says, "Content knowledge is not seen to be as important as possessing teaching skills and knowledge about the students being taught." Harvey Daniels and Marilyn Bizar's text Methods that Matter reads, "Students can no longer be viewed as cognitive living rooms into which the furniture of knowledge is moved in and arranged by teachers, and teachers cannot invariably act as subject-matter experts." The authors explain, "The main use of standardized tests in America is to justify the distribution of certain goodies to certain people."

With but a few exceptions, schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college. American education could benefit from slum removal, eliminating schools 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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