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

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Sexy and Noble:" New York Set to Clear the Way for the New MATT (Master of Arts in Temporary Teaching)

In a prime example of Orwellian logic, Arne Duncan's corporate bosses have declared that the best way to getting test results in the poor schools that need the most highly qualified teachers is to lower the standards for teacher education by offering more "alternative certification" programs. By supporting corporate indoctrination programs that are backed by Goldman Sachs and Microsoft like Teach for America, which dumps selectively recruited white female missionaries who have had 6 weeks of teacher training into some of America's poorest schools, corporate education reformers now envision the total containment and segregation of America's poor children within the crumbling urban cores of America.

The fact that the research shows that TFA's Ivy League temps are less effective or equally ineffective in churning out higher test scores than the weakest teachers in America matters not to ideologues like David Steiner, Commissioner of Education for New York. After all, Steiner's goal is about dismantling those left-wing ed schools where balanced literacy approaches get in the way of choking down the gospel according to the phonics freaks like Reid Lyon and the direct instruction disciples of Zig Engelmann. Steiner would rid the nation of those ed schools where teacher ed candidates learn how today's penal pedagogy model is a further elaboration of school as the instrument of social and economic reproduction:
David M. Steiner, who became commissioner of the New York State Department of Education last year, insists that as much as he wants to introduce “new actors” into the realm of teacher preparation, he also wants to encourage education schools to reform themselves. Dr. Steiner, who in 2003 published a paper critical of the required reading at 16 elite education schools, says that colleges still devote too much class time to abstract notions about “the role of school in democracy” and “the view by some that schools exist to perpetuate a social hierarchy.”
And so Steiner is set to approve the creation of Masters Degrees in teaching by corporations, where teacher candidates will be properly educated in the values and psychology that have made Wall Street the lucrative sewer that it is today. Who needs to take over the university teacher ed programs when you can simply replace them, all with the blessing that come with full federal support? A clip from the NYTimes:

. . . .In New York, teachers can begin working without a master’s degree as long as they have had some education courses as undergraduates, but they must earn a professional certification within five years by receiving a master’s degree from a teaching school. New York is one of a dozen states that requires teachers to get a master’s degree. Alternative certification programs like Teach for America offer a quicker path for graduates who did not study education in college, allowing them to begin teaching from the outset while pursuing a master’s degree after hours.

Under the Regents’ proposal, which the board is expected to approve on Tuesday and does not need the approval of the State Legislature, Teach for America and similar groups could create their own master’s programs, and the Regents would award the master’s degree, two powers that are now the sole domain of academia.

The Regents are looking for academic programs that would be grounded in practical teaching skills and would require teachers to commit to working in a high-needs school for four years.

“Ten years ago, this would have been an incredibly tough sell,” Dr. Steiner said.. . . .

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