Date: Aug 24, 2000 10:19 AM
Subject: Traditional teacher training programs being pushed aside.
Front page NYTimes
The new programs run counter to the years of course work and practice under
which teachers have long been trained. In essence, they adopt the model
created by Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that a decade ago
bucked the education establishment by putting fresh graduates of the
nation's top colleges into classrooms after brief summer training. And they
have run into the same criticism among educators who say the programs
gamble with the future of the poorest and most vulnerable students by
giving them teachers who lack the necessary training. The new programs are
forcing a struggle over fundamental questions about what makes a good
teacher, and how much of that can be taught.
The timing is both fortuitous and risky. With retirements, growing
enrollments and reductions in class size, the nation's public schools will
have to hire 2.5 million teachers over the next decade, about the same
number of teachers now working (2.8 million). With educational options like
vouchers and charter schools growing nationally, officials say there is
also an increased willingness to experiment with teacher education. "The
teacher education people just can't escape the idea that the college or
university experience is what it takes for teachers to be successful," said
Clayton Wilcox, deputy superintendent for hiring in the East Baton Rouge
Parish school district, which includes the Louisiana capital. "We think we
can do it better, and faster."