It might not be our teachers!
A new article from WFPL’s Devin Katayama, “Kentucky Colleges Should Improve Recruitment, Training for Would-Be Teachers, Education Leaders Say,” adds to concerns about claims that deficiencies in the vague and incomplete Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will all be fixed by Kentucky teachers in each school when they create their curriculum.
WFPL’s article makes it clear that both Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Robert King and Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday are concerned about the performance of the teacher preparation programs in this state.
Speaking about the state’s teacher preparation programs, President King said:
“Students that go into those programs have the lowest ACT scores. They have the highest proportion of students who were admitted to the universities in need of remediation.”
King also says Kentucky needs to support working teachers “through a much more extensive interaction with professional development.”
Such comments obviously create concerns about the products of those teacher preparation programs.
The article also mentions some results from a recent TELL survey of the state’s teachers. Those survey results show many Kentucky teachers are uncomfortable with their current level of preparation and want more on the job professional development to overcome shortcomings.
The uneasiness about teacher preparation has very important implications for CCSS and NGSS, which many critics point out tend to be overly general and incomplete. Time and again when shortcomings in these rather vague standards have been pointed out, supporters of the standards have claimed that those shortcomings are not important because teachers will fix them with curriculum.
Now, it looks like putting all the pressure on teachers to fix many CCSS and NGSS problems is unlikely to work out well for many Kentucky students. When teachers themselves tell us they are uncomfortable with their preparation, and when the heads of Kentucky’s K to 12 and postsecondary institution systems share closely related concerns regarding teacher preparation, it’s time to wake up and realize that many Kentucky teachers probably need much more clarity and depth in the new standards, if for no other reason than to more clearly understand where their own preparation needs boosting.
And, those who say curriculum will fix NGSS and CCSS problems clearly don’t have the big picture about the status of education in Kentucky. In addition, those standards supporters are putting an undue amount of pressure on our teachers to fix things that the people who created the standards should have addressed themselves.