"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jay Mathews and the Convincing Mask of Stupidity

Jay Mathews has made a reputation and a fortune leveraging his signature bland stupidity for the Washington Post, a paper that would never stand for such levels of lazy ignorance if Mathews were covering any subject that mattered to the Editorial Board. If he displayed such disregard for facts an objectivity on, let's say, foreign policy reporting, he would more likely be working at the Washington (Moonie) Times, where faux news and flaky commentary are the order of the day.

As it is, Mathews represents the prevailing mainstream media's blathering, uninformed critique now crafted over the years to sell bad news on a story for which everyone already has expert opinions and no facts to support them--education.

The latest from Mathews once again takes on one of his favorite bogeymen, teacher education programs, which he or an unnamed expert chooses to characterize "as [teacher] hiring halls with a few textbooks." Is he referring to the same unnamed "educators" when he offers this critique of schools of education:
. . . a growing number of educators say ed schools fail to give teachers enough background in their subject matter, fail to prepare them for the difficulties of urban schools and fail to recruit the best students.
As to your first point, Jay, education schools do not teach courses in subject matter--that is done by the other schools of the university, and the amount of subject matter that is required for licensure is determined by each state, not by schools of education. To your second point, there is no preparation adequate to teachers who choose to serve in the poverty-riddled shells that we offer children in the inner cities who must dodge bullets on their way to and from school. As to your third point, recruitment opportunities are severely limited when teachers' starting salaries are grossly behind the majority of other professional career paths that require the same educational investment.

All in all, given the shallow levels of support combined with the unrealistic expectations and the insipid negative opinionating by dunces like Mathews, I am surprised that schools of education are doing as well as they are. Despite the prevailing idiocy in the media, we carry on. Of course, that is exactly what corporatizers like Mathews is resentful about to begin with.

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