Sunday, April 14, 2013

NYT Editorial on ImprovingTeaching

Today's New York Times has a great editorial about what is needed to improve education in America. With the new common core standards, we are asking our teachers to take on the responsibility of teaching even more skills to our children- collaboration, use of technology, critical thinking, research, etc.. Yet we still train teachers the same way we always have.  The editorial makes the case for changing the way we train and certify teachers to improve our likelihood of reaching those goals.

This shouldn't be interpreted as criticism of our teaching cadre.  Just this weekend I was bragging to my sister (who holds a Masters in Education) about how devoted our teachers are to improving their skills.  Nearly 40% of our teachers participated in the iLearn Academy, which is a voluntary after school training program.  Most of them took multiple units.  LAEF provided funding for an additional day of professional development training, despite the fact that PD days are a serious inconvenience for working parents.  Our community (parents, teachers, and administration) all understand the value of  continuous training for our teachers.  Indeed, in our ongoing salary negotiations, one interest that has been raised by both administration and board members has been ensuring that we continue to emphasize training for our staff.

So I post this article not to condemn or criticize our district, but simply to say that ther is always more to do.  We can do more locally, and at a national level, we have MUCH more to do.  In order to restore America to our former position as the preeminent hub of R&D, we need to improve teaching on a national level.  These comments from the NYT should be a wake up call to policy makers across the nation that we need to change what we do to improve the results.

NYT Editorial:Teachers: Will We Ever Learn?