In 1967, I took a course called Methods of Teaching Mathematics in Elementary School. It was an upper level course in the local teacher's college which served the city schools. All was fine until we got to long division, then some of the students began to falter. Fractions were a disasters. The instructor spent more time teaching the math than the methods of teaching the math. Several times she called upon me to teach. She asked my thoughts after the final exam. And I said, "That these people will be unleashed to teach the children of the city is a crime." She bit her lip and nodded in agreement." We are in this mess because many teachers are not qualified to teach. They don't have the knowledge themselves to impart it to others.
American education is in a sorry state of affairs, and there's enough blame for all participants to have their fair share. They include students who are hostile and alien to the education process, uninterested parents, teachers and administrators who either are incompetent or have been beaten down by the system, and politicians who've become handmaidens for teachers unions. There's another education issue that's neither flattering nor comfortable to confront and talk about. That's the low academic preparation of many teachers. That's an issue that must be confronted and dealt with if we're to improve the quality of education. Let's look at...
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