"So-called low teacher quality is not an innate characteristic
of American teachers. ...|
It is the consequence of the training
they have received and of the vague, incoherent curricula they
are given to teach."
-- Prof. E. D. Hirsch
The Knowledge Deficit
The Failure of Ed Schools
The best book ever written about ed schools:
"Ed School Follies: The Miseducation of America's Teachers" by Rita Kramer
The review in Library Journal reports,
"During the 1988-89 school year, [Kramer] visited 14 schools of
education in New York, Tennessee, Michigan, Southern California,
Washington, and Texas, observing classes and interviewing students
and professors. In this account, she concludes that most students are
idealistic and eager, but are being misguided. ... Kramer maintains that new students are forced
to abandon the instruction of information and knowledge in favor of
theories in developing pupil self-esteem, indiscriminate passing, and
Kramer reports on everything she saw: vapid looks
of the students, meaningless classroom activities, faculty members who loathe
the goals that most parents have about schools, and grades, assessments
and final degrees devoid of any substantive value.
Why Johnny's Teacher Can't Teach:
Ed Schools Purvey Multicultural Sensitivity, Metacognition, Community-Building -- Anything But Knowledge
by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal, Spring 1998.
This groundbreaking article should be read by school boards and anyone else hiring teachers,
and certainly by anyone considering becoming a teacher! Some excerpts:
"For over 80 years, teacher education in America has been in the grip
of an immutable dogma, responsible for endless educational nonsense.
That dogma may be summed up in the phrase: Anything But Knowledge.
... The early decades of this century forged the central educational
fallacy of our time: that one can think without having anything to
think about. ...
"the central educational
fallacy of our time: that one can think without having anything to
"Once you dismiss real knowledge as the goal of education, you have to
find something else to do. ... In
thousands of education schools across the country, teachers are
generating little moments of meaning, which they then subject to
instant replay. Educators call this 'constructing knowledge,' a
fatuous label for something that is neither construction nor
knowledge but mere game-playing. Teacher educators, though, possess a
primitive relationship to words. They believe that if they just label
something 'critical thinking' or 'community-building,' these
activities will magically occur. ...
"Once you dismiss real knowledge as the goal of education, you have to
find something else to do."
"The ultimate community-building mechanism is the ubiquitous
'collaborative group.' No activity is too solitary to escape
assignment to a group: writing, reading, researching, thinking -- all
are better done with many partners, according to educational dogma.
If you see an ed school class sitting up in straight rows, call a
doctor, because it means the professor has had a heart attack and
couldn't arrange the class into groups. ...
"Collaborative learning leads naturally to another tic of the
progressive classroom: 'brainstorming.' Rather than lecture to a
class, the teacher asks the class its opinion about something and
lists the responses on the blackboard. Nothing much happens after
that; brainstorming, like various forms of community-building,
appears to be an end in itself."
by Walter E. Williams, March 13, 2013.
"There's another education issue that's neither flattering nor comfortable to confront and talk about. That's the low academic preparation of many teachers. That's an issue that must be confronted and dealt with if we're to improve the quality of education. Let's look at it.
"Schools of education, whether graduate or undergraduate, tend to represent the academic slums of most college campuses. They tend to be home to students who have the lowest academic achievement test scores when they enter college, such as SAT scores. They have the lowest scores when they graduate and choose to take postgraduate admissions tests ‹ such as the GRE, the MCAT and the LSAT. ...
"With but a few exceptions, schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college. American education could benefit from slum removal, eliminating schools of education."
Inept Teacher Training
by Walter E. Williams, May 30, 2001
"American education will never be improved until we address a problem
seen as too delicate to discuss. That problem is teacher philosophy
If we were serious about efforts to improve public education, we'd
shut down schools of education. Why? Schools of education, either
graduate or undergraduate, represent the academic slums of any
university. They're home to students who have the lowest academic
achievement test scores, be they the SAT, GRE, ACT, MCAT or LSAT.
They're also home to professors with the lowest academic respect. ...
President Bush, the Congress and state legislators handing over more
money to the education establishment will do nothing to end America's
education rot. More money will simply spread it. As to teacher
training, what's needed is for teachers to have degrees in the
subject they teach and maybe a class or two in pedagogy. For this,
schools of education are surely not needed."
National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), website.
Teacher Education: Coming up Empty, National Council on Teacher Quality, March 16, 2006.
"The nation's leading teacher educators have
produced an exhaustive review of the impact
that formal teacher education has on teachers.
Studying Teacher Education -- a voluminous
report of the American Educational Research
on Research and
(2005) -- reaches
some tough and
the scant evidence
supporting the value
of formal teacher
education. In short,
they concede that
there is presently very little empirical evidence
to support the methods used to prepare the
Who Tells Teachers They Can Teach?
by George A. Clowes, School Reform News, September 1, 2001
"Why do so many teachers have such a limited base of knowledge? The
surprising answer is that their teacher education classes and
textbooks do not emphasize knowledge as being important. The
traditional form of teaching is teacher-centered, where knowledgeable
teachers transmit their knowledge and information to students.
However, the teaching model preferred in schools of education is
student-centered, where teachers function not as dispensers of
knowledge but as facilitators assisting students in the discovery of
knowledge for themselves."
The Negative Influence of Education Schools on the K-12 Curriculum
by Sandra Stotsky, Ed.D., National Association of Scholars, June 30, 2008.
"Because they have been unwilling to evaluate empirically the effects
of the theories and practices that they promote before dismissing
disliked theories and practices that are supported by large bodies of
empirical evidence, education schools have ended up mistraining
several generations of educators in their preparation, master's
degree, and professional development programs. The greatest damage
they have inflicted on public education, however, lies not in a
mistrained corps of educators but in the effects of their virtually
evidence-free theories and practices on the K-12 curriculum as
conveyed by these educators and the textbooks used in K-12. ...
"We may best interpret the recent mushrooming of both privately and
publicly financed tutorial programs (especially in mathematics), the
phenomenal growth of home-schooling in the past two decades, and the
ever-increasing number of public and private charter schools as forms
of parental reaction to the bloated, distorted, or non-existent
textbooks that their children now learn from in a haphazard,
watered-down, and distorted curriculum. ...
"Indeed, education school faculty shape every subject taught in the
schools at every grade level through their near monopolistic control,
direct or indirect, of the content and pedagogy in the textbooks that
teachers and administrators use in our public schools, whether or not
they train them. To salvage a failing public school system, we need
to remove de facto control of the content of the K-12 curriculum from
education schools as soon as possible."
Preparing Teachers: Are American Schools of Education Up to the Task?
(PDF) by David Steiner, Boston University, October 2003.
Prof. Steiner collected syllabi from over 200 courses from the 30 most
elite schools of education. Analyzing the syllabi for content in each of
four areas -- reading instruction, math instruction, foundations of education,
and student teaching -- he found strong evidence that schools of education
were uneven at best, negligent at worst. Professors, instead of
preparing their students for the world of performance-based assessment
and content-rich curricula, 'teach a profound suspicion for that world.'"
Schools of Education: They're Not the Place to Get One
by Peter Wood, National Review, March 16, 2006.
"It is not unusual ... to complain about schools of education. Well, not to toot my own horn,
but I have actually done something on this score: I closed one. ...
Last year, as provost-elect of The King's College in NYC, I announced
that the college would discontinue its undergraduate bachelor's
degree program in childhood education. ... I wanted my little college
to cease feeding the monster. Schools of education mis-prepare
would-be teachers in many ways. They deprive those would-be teachers
of the opportunity to learn more important, substantive things during
their undergraduate years; they require students to take hugely
time-consuming courses of dubious intellectual value; and they
inculcate would-be teachers in the educrats' pernicious ideology.
It's an ideology that insists that virtually all of America's social
problems derive from institutionalized prejudices; that most
knowledge is 'socially constructed' and that children are best
taught by allowing their natural creativity to flourish, rather than
by actually trying to teach the habits of self-discipline and
A message to fellow provosts, college presidents, deans, and college
trustees: let's ring down the curtain on the SOEs. You have nothing
to lose but your least-promising students and a cohort of faculty
members who veer between giddy and grandiose ignorance. The students
and faculty members worth keeping can find their places elsewhere in
Education Courses Should Be Teaching Content, Not 'Recipes'
by Charles J. Shields, Star Newspapers (south suburban Chicago), November 9, 2000.
"Education courses are a breeze. ... Most ... is already common sense: think well of
kids, manage your time, respect differences, etc. Most of the
teaching strategies are recipes -- how to arrange the desks, how to
deal with misbehavior, how to write a test, how to write a lesson
plan. Most of the work you're expected to produce, papers and tests,
summarizes the topics mentioned above. ... As a result, most
education courses are a piece of cake. ...
Instead of stressing academic achievement, most teacher training
programs still view their role -- and the primary role of the teachers
they train -- as change agents whose mission is to work toward social
justice and equity in the classroom. ...
'Social justice'? How about five different ways to write a paragraph? ...
There's just no way around it. Being a fair teacher, a creative
teacher, and a hard-working teacher are important characteristics in
But what counts in the end is that kids get the content knowledge
they need to have in order to succeed at the next grade level, or
outside school when they become citizens and workers. Education
courses need to put less emphasis on squishy things like classroom
management and creating an atmosphere that encourages social justice,
and more on making sure that teachers know the content, and that they
can make kids learn it."
What We Know About Teacher Preparation At Elite Education Schools
by David Steiner, Education Next, Winter 2005. Also available in
Can Education Schools be Saved?
George K. Cunningham, University of Louisville.
"... how [have education schools] managed to survive in the face of such withering criticism ...
There is a simple answer ...
Education schools survive because they bring in so much money.
This makes them quite popular with university presidents.
Education school classes have large enrollments, they do not require
elaborate and expensive equipment, and education school faculty are
always among the lowest paid in a university.
This makes education schools the most profitable unit in a university. ...
No university president is going to get rid of a school of education that does these sorts of things. ...
The more important question is whether they will be relevant."
"Education schools survive because they bring in so much
Education Schools: Helping or Hindering Potential Teachers?
by George K. Cunningham, Ph.D., Pope Center Series on Higher Education Policy, January 2008.
This HIGHLY RECOMMENDED paper pulls no punches in distinguishing substantive education from
the fluffy theory-based programs that prevail in our nation's schools, and just as clearly
assigns the blame on schools of education. From the intro:
"Most people believe that the purpose of schools is to ensure that young
people learn the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in life.
Accordingly, they expect teachers to impart skills and knowledge to
their students. ... That view, however, is not
generally accepted in schools of education, where the great majority of
teachers receive their training. The philosophy that dominates schools
of education ... stresses the importance
of objectives other than academic achievement, such as building
self-esteem and multicultural awareness.
"The dominant 'progressive/constructivist' philosophy in education
schools leads to teacher training that prescribes a student-centered
classroom where the teacher's role is to serve mainly as a facilitator for
student-directed learning. Under that philosophy it is regarded as bad
practice for teachers to actually do much teaching. They are supposed to
act as 'the guide on the side' rather than 'the sage on the stage.'
"Unfortunately, the progressive/constructivist approach is markedly
inferior to traditional, 'teacher-centered' pedagogy, particularly when
it comes to teaching students important skills like reading and math.
Most students do better if they are taught with traditional methods,
such as 'direct instruction.'
"This investigation of education schools
... reveals that they are dominated by people who are
deeply committed to progressive/constructivist theories. Consequently,
students taught by teachers who have absorbed that approach are unlikely
to progress as fast or as far as they would if their teachers were
more appropriately trained."
- Students in ed schools are particularly in need of fresh views on education.
Dr. Martin Kozloff, Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina
in Wilmington, offers his list of the
Most Important Reading for Education Students.
Can Little Mary Learn if Teacher's in the Dark?
"Technique" gang aims to steer the college training away from content
by Jerry Griswold, Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2003.
Making Choice Irrelevant
By Andrew Wolf, New York Sun, November 28, 2003.
"There is a monopoly in place right now that is well on the way to
controlling not what children are taught, but how they are taught.
The monopoly I'm talking about exists in our schools of education at
our colleges and universities. And it is becoming increasingly clear
that prospective teachers are being trained in a onesided approach
that strongly favors ideologies and methodologies that have shown
themselves to be less than effective. ... Unlike the political
correctness that colors other types of instruction, this is far more
insidious. Education theory that is taught as if it were science,
carries with it the presumption that it must be accepted as gospel.
That appears to be exactly what is happening. ...
A History of Flawed Teaching
by Sam Wineburg, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2005.
"Imagine this: Nearly a third of the students who apply to Stanford's
master's in teaching program to become history teachers have never
taken a single college course in history. Outrageous? Yes, but it's
part of a well-established national pattern. Among high school
history teachers across the country, only 18% have majored (or even
minored) in the subject they now teach."
So many ideas for improving the curriculum--all of them bad
by Kay S. Hymowitz, Weekly Standard, May 6, 2002.
"Many young people entering teaching today went to schools where,
thanks in part to the influence of [National Council for Social Studies], their experience with
American history was largely limited to reports on Sojourner Truth,
dioramas of Navajo villages, and 'reasoned judgments about specific
cultural responses to persistent human issues.'
The nation's schools of education are doing little to ameliorate
their students' ignorance; ed school faculties are notoriously
uninterested in traditional course content, and it is no coincidence
that many of the leaders of the NCSS are prominent members of
education faculties. Education historian Diane Ravitch observes that
apart from physics, history is the discipline with the fewest
teachers who have actually majored in their subject. And though most
states require some history credits for certification, judging from
the courses that fill today's college catalogues, your child's fourth
grade social studies teacher is more likely to know about
19th-century lesbian writers than the Constitution.
That a professional association of teachers would do nothing to
encourage kids to think of themselves as Americans with a common
history and common ideals will surprise no seasoned observer of the
nation's schools. Like many in the education establishment, the NCSS
regards promoting an American civic identity, particularly in
minority children, as 'ethnocentric,' an example of an
Insubstantial Pageants by Martin A. Kozloff, Distinguished Professor at the University of North
Carolina in Wilmington, April, 2001. This is a powerful and important article
on the shallow practices that are pervasive in the education industry. Here are some excerpts regarding
impression management is one of the main activities in the
sample of ed schools -- an elaborate staging of pretended scholarship,
democratic values ('social justice,' 'respect for the individual'),
and technical expertise ('reflective practitioners'). ...
"I spent a month examining websites of several hundred schools of
education selected at random from a Lycos search. The combination of
this information and first-hand experience suggests that with rare
We highly recommend that you take the time to read Prof. Kozloff's
full article -- it will help you to
understand better how education came to its current situation, and the difficulty
involved in restoring academic substance and effective teaching practices.
"Using 'rough magic,' Prospero (in Shakespeare's The Tempest), created a
world for himself and his daughter, Miranda -- a world that was an
illusion -- a 'baseless vision,' an 'insubstantial pageant' of
'cloud-capp'd towers,' 'gorgeous palaces,' and 'solemn temples.'
The same may be said of some ed schools. The baseless vision is that
they train new teachers to be technically proficient; possess both
the mandate, wisdom, and moral rectitude to be 'stewards' of
America's children; have the authority and wisdom to be 'change
agents' promoting social justice, tolerance, and 'appreciation of
diversity'; and most of all can sustain the charade indefinitely.
"The insubstantial pageant is the annual round of symposia, forums,
and conferences put on by ed schools to impress and coopt university
chancellors, state legislatures, and wealthy benefactors; the steady
stream of brochures advertising 'dynamic and innovative' programs;
the newsletters breathlessly reporting the scholarly activities of
faculty (e.g., a workshop at a local conference, supervision of three
students); and artful reports and NCATE matrices providing
'evidences' and 'artifacts' of program 'products' and alignments
"The cloud-capp'd towers, gorgeous palaces, and solemn temples are ed
schools themselves -- where halls and classrooms display the
often-infantilization and indoctrination of ed students in the form
of popsickle sticks adorned with glued mung beans (a mathematics
'manipulative') and posters describing 'literacy philosophies' and
'tenets of middle grades social studies' -- complete with spelling
errors, crayon drawings, glitter, and shibboleths. 'All children have
the right to read' (without one word about how to teach them to
"The most common feature in the sample of ed school documents is
'empty (but high-sounding) words and poetic metaphors' -- to paraphrase
Aristotle's description of Plato's theory of ideas. The most
frequent terms are meaning (as in 'students engage in
meaning-making'), construction (as in 'meaning construction' and
'construction of knowledge'), reflection (as in 'think
reflectively'), empowerment, inquiry (as in 'inquiry-based
learning'), relevant (as in 'relevant contexts'), developmental (as
in 'developmentally appropriate practice'), conceptual framework,
standards (as in 'standards-driven assessment'), diversity (as in
'appreciate diversity'), professional (as in 'professional
development'), transformative (as in 'transformative experience'),
authentic (as in 'authentic context'), complex, vision, inspire,
ongoing (as in 'ongoing reflection'), engage (as in 'engage in
reflection'), process (as in 'engage in the process of meaning
making'), child centered (as in 'classrooms should be child
centered'), and active learning.
"These words are seldom defined operationally. That is, ed schools
rarely say exactly what a person does when he or she reflects; or
what, exactly, makes a practice developmentally appropriate. When
these terms are defined, words of even less substance are used.
'When instruction is child centered, children are empowered to
control their own education. They have voice.' Moreover, ed schools
rarely examine either the logical adequacy or empirical validity of
concepts (best practice) and propositions ('Teachers should use best
practices.'). Clearly, it is impossible ever to confirm statements
of what is best. ..."
Ed Schools in Crisis
by Martin Kozloff, Ph.D. Excerpt from the introduction:
There is a war in public education. The war is over beliefs about
how children learn and what they need to learn; about the most
effective ways to teach reading, math, science, and other bodies of
knowledge; about accountability and moral responsibility for
educational outcomes; about what teachers need to know how to do and
who should train and certify them. ... Clearly, schools of education are part of the
war. The question many persons ask is whether they will, or even
should, survive it.
Dr. Kozloff goes on to summarize the major personalities and organizations
involved in this "war" and outlines a 10-point critique of ed schools:
- ed schools offer little convincing evidence that new graduates know how to teach
- new graduates are not taught exactly how to
teach and are ill-prepared when they have their own classrooms
- the dominant majority of professors in typical ed schools (i.e.,
progressive and constructivist) arrogate to themselves and to their
schools a mission and social agenda contrary to what is wanted by the
- ed school teacher training curricula rest on and are
misguided by empirically weak and logically flawed faddish
- when teachers use so-called
developmentally appropriate, progressive curricula and teaching
methods taught in ed schools (such as a whole language approach to
beginning reading, constructivist math, and inquiry approaches to
literature and science), a substantial proportion of school children
do not learn
- ed schools do not adequately teach students the logic of scientific reasoning
- education professors typically read little that challenges what they already believe
- education professors regard their activities as a form of play
- ed schools attempt to maintain the appearance of being self-reflective, in touch
with scientific research in the field, and responsive to the needs of
schools by conjuring up one after another innovation or initiative
- unlike medicine, structural engineering, and food science, ed
schools do not have a knowledge base shared within and across
schools, and that rests on scientific research
Necessary Conditions for Fundamental Reform of Schools of Education
by Martin A. Kozloff, Watson Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, July, 2001
Everything I'd Heard About Ed Schools Was True
by Martin A. Kozloff, Watson Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Prof. Kozloff lists:
- There is little connection between what teachers and schools need and what ed school provide. Most of what ed schools do is self-promotion, putting on conferences, filling out 'matrices,' getting grants for projects that do little good for schools and increase the workload of classroom teachers.
- Education professors invent elaborate, fanciful (and bizarre) theories of learning and methods of instruction (e.g., whole language, fuzzy math); rarely test these beforehand, but pass them on to new teachers and to schools; and rarely evaluate them to see if they work, but stubbornly support them even when research says they are harmful.
- Ed schools infantilize and stupefy ed students with useless 'projects' and 'activities' such as making 'personal literacy philosophies,' but seldom teach education students exactly how to teach anything.
- Ed schools create and help to spread one faddish 'movement' after another, usually in the service of political ideology: multicultural education ;heterogeneous grouping (meaning that teachers have students with widely different background knowledge and motivation); block scheduling (90 minutes straight, so students are bored senseless for 60 minutes every class); constructivism (Teachers are NOT supposed to teach. They are to be 'guides' that help students make 'discoveries' and 'construct knowledge.' Unfortunately, few children construct mathematical axioms or the rules of written English on their own).
- Dr. Kozloff provides this succinct summary of the problem with ed schools in his essay
Fad, Fraud, and Folly in Education:
Schools of education are for the most part the source of
pernicious innovations. They are the carriers of
Romantic-progressivist doctrine. They induct new teachers and
administrators into the Romantic-progressivist thought world, and
thereby ensure that another generation is prepared to receive and
accept progressivist innovations... For example, ed school teacher
training curricula rest on and are
misguided by empirically weak and logically flawed progressivist
(constructivist, child centered, developmentally appropriate)
shibboleths concerning how children learn and therefore how children
should and should not be taught. ...
These are repeated in course after course, book after
book, and exam after exam in education schools...
At the same time, ed schools do not adequately teach
students the logic of scientific reasoning; specifically, how to
define concepts and judge the adequacy of definitions; how to assess
the logical validity of an education professor's or writer's argument
and the credibility of conclusions. Nor do ed schools commonly have
students read original works (to see if in fact Piaget said what is
claimed for him), to read original research articles, meta-analyses,
and other literature reviews. The result is that ed students do not
have the skill to determine the validity of the progressivist
propositions and curricula they are taught; they must rely on what
their professors tell them to believe.
Moreover, a shared intellectual poverty that favors
Romantic-progressivist doctrine is sustained in ed schools because
education professors typically read little that challenges what they
already believe; they ignore research that invalidates their
child-centered, constructivist thought world; and they mount
disingenuous arguments against the preponderance of scientific
research that challenges what they teach. For example, education
professors do not as a matter of course and scholarly obligation read
the Report of the National Reading Panel (one of many huge literature
reviews), and do not have their students read this and other
reviews. Or, they dismiss these reviews, and teach their students to
dismiss these reviews, with off-handed comments such as "All research
is flawed" or "This document is biased." This self-imposed and
self-defensive ignorance helps to ensure that what education
professors believe and teach remains, to them, unchallenged. In
addition, ed schools sustain a Romantic-progressivist thought world
by hiring persons who are educationally correct -- i.e., who believe the
same doctrine as the committee that hires them, and therefore won't
upset existing relations of power or challenge anyone to think very
Looking into the Ed School Abyss (PDF)
by Bradford P. Wilson, Executive Director, National Association of Scholars.
"... I paused for a moment thinking about the frightful educational
consequences of allowing pedagogical theory to determine the
selection of academic content. ..."
What's Wrong With Ed Schools?
by Rory Donaldson. "Simply enough, our schools of education
do not teach people how to teach. Schools of education, at least
those in America (I don't know about other places on the globe), do
not teach prospective teachers how to teach. Isn't that a startling,
incendiary and ridiculous remark? Yes it is, and it is almost 100%
true. Our schools of education do not teach prospective teachers how
to teach reading, writing, listening, speaking, information
organization and math."
The #1 Problem With American Education, and the #1 Solution by Rory Donaldson.
"The Number One problem with American education is that few teachers,
administrators or board members know very much about effective teaching --
most know nothing about Direct Instruction, Positive Discipline,
teaching to mastery, or any other learning theory or set of
classroom management skills. Where would they have gone to learn
such skills? They can't have gone to our schools of education,
since most of these teach absolutely nothing of practical value to the aspiring educator."
Ed Schools: The Real Shame of the Nation,
Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Education News, Monday, May 22, 2006.
"It has become increasingly clear that education schools as they now function
are a major part of the problem and not the solution to improving public education
and narrowing the gaps in student achievement.
Indeed, they are responsible for three major problems facing the public schools.
"Education schools as they now function
are a major part of the problem and not the solution"
"To begin with, education schools supply far
too many teachers with an inadequate background in the subjects they
are licensed to teach. ...
"Second, education schools no longer supply
public schools with enough academically qualified teachers for the
subjects that must be taught in the secondary school. ...
"Third, education schools do not train
prospective teachers how to teach. Instead, they arm new teachers
with a host of pseudo-teaching strategies like small group work and
with the philosophy that students should 'construct their own
knowledge' and are more capable of shaping their own intellectual
growth than teachers if they are sufficiently motivated by 'inquiry.'
Education schools have been especially remiss in preparing new
instructors with research-based knowledge for teaching beginning
reading and arithmetic, two areas of professional training completely
under their control."
"Ed Speak" Invades
by Ellen Chris Fanizzi, New Oxford Review, December 1998. Excerpts:
"Isn't it good, you may ask, to bring in experts and consultants?
Aren't these trained professionals the authorities? What's the
problem? Well, the schools of education that produce the Masters and Doctors
of Education are notorious for their low standards. Even at the most
selective university, the ed school is likely to be the faculty that
attracts the least gifted students (1997 SAT statistics show that
students intending to major in education have verbal and math scores
so low that they are surpassed by almost all other applicants). The
curricula in these schools are infamous for their lack of rigor and
for a content dominated by political correctness. ...
And when they come as teachers, administrators, or consultants to our
... schools, what do these experts bring with them?
They bring the rhetoric of Ed Speak, a babble so nebulous that many
outsiders require a translation. It quickly becomes clear, however,
that there are good words and bad ones. The good words include
co-operative learning, student-centered curriculum, open classroom,
creativity, and diversity. Suspect words and phrases include
memorization, mastery of material, transmission of knowledge,
objective truth, debate, competition, and teaching. Yes, teaching.
Teachers don't teach, we are told. What they do is to 'facilitate
opportunities for student-generated learning.'"
Making the Teaching Profession Respectable Again
by Leon Botstein, New York Times, July 26, 1999.
"Education schools are segregated from the rest of the university and
looked down upon by other departments. Look at any university
catalogue and you will find a physics department, a math department
and a music department. Look further and you will find a separate
school or department of education with independent programs that have
their own faculty and curriculums in science education, math
education and music education. Right now, fewer than 65 percent of
new teachers have either a major or minor in the subject matter they
teach. Nearly a third of all teachers today teach subjects in which
they have no formal training.
The Ed School's Romance with Progressivism (PDF),
by David F. Labaree, Professor, School of Education, Stanford University, Brookings Papers on Education Policy, 2004.
"Those teaching in the university think of those in ed schools as
being academically weak and narrowly vocational.
They see ed school teachers not as peers in the world of higher education
but as an embarrassment, who should not be a part of a university at all.
To them the ed school looks less like a school of medicine than a school
of cosmetology. The most prestigious universities often try to limit
the ability of the education school to grant degrees or even eliminate
the school altogether. I do not have the space to explain the historical roots
of the education school's lowly status in the United States.
But take my word for it. Education schools rank at the very bottom."
Deregulating Teacher Training (PDF)
by Mark Schug and Richard Western, WPRI Report, June 1997 (Vol.10 No.4)
Teacher Training Falls Short
by Ray Parnay, June 14, 2001.
"Education school professors, smug and cloistered in their ivory
towers, often chose to ignore public school failure. In spite of
repeated documentation that a strong grounding in phonics is
essential to success in learning to read, professors continue to
teach the failed, faddish "whole language" approach with little or no
emphasis on phonics. Sadly no one holds them accountable for this
In 24 years as a school administrator I never once received a query
from a teacher training institution requesting feedback on its
product. Call it complacency, or worse, apathy. Hardly a week goes by
it seems, without some new study lamenting the poor showing of
American students. There are a number of reasons for these alarming
failures, but training of teachers has come under far too little
What Teachers Have to Say About Teacher Education
by Diana Wyllie Rigden, Perspective, Council for Basic Education, Fall 1996
Why Are Public School Teachers So Poorly Trained?
by Carol Innerst, Washington Monthly, May 1999.
Too Many Teacher Colleges Major In Mediocrity,
USA Today, March 18, 2002. This editorial identifies these key problems with ed schools:
- Many education professors undermine state standards
- Education schools refuse to teach effective instruction techniques
- Teacher colleges dodge accountability
- The dumbing-down of schools of education was predicted by the head of the
school of education at Boston College in 1951:
Dilution in American Education,
by Charles F. Donovan, S.J., writing in the Jesuit magazine America, November 3, 1951.
"The people at the top, who make educational policy, write
educational textbooks and train our teachers, are not, generally
speaking, well educated themselves. They have been trained in their
schools of education as technicians, not as cultured men and women,
not as philosophers, not as literate adults. The dreary uniformity of
thought and expression of our so-called educational literature bears
witness to this dismal truth. Such people are only too ready to
follow easy rules like the rule of painlessness and the rule of use.
They are succeeded by recruits of whom less has been demanded and to
whom less has been given educationally. These successors in their
turn apply the laws of use and painlessness to lower further the
standards of our education and culture. Thus they draw into their
ranks a newer generation more poorly trained than they."
- A compelling, pull-no-punches, first-person report on the vapidity
of ed schools:
The American College Ed School Experience
Ed School Degrees
- A must read!
What are all of these degrees held by the administration and teachers at your school?
Your local superintendent probably isn't a Ph.D. but may be called "doctor" -- just what is an "Ed.D." anyway?
Do you have to be really smart to lead a school district?
Does an ed school degree mean that a teacher is well-trained in the most-needed and most-proven
For some answers, read these excerpts
from Martin Gross' book, A Conspiracy of Ignorance!
by Walter E. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University.
"How do we get out of this mess of abysmal student performance? ...
American education will never be improved until we address one of the
problems seen as too delicate to discuss. That problem is the overall
quality of people teaching our children. Students who have chosen
education as their major have the lowest SAT scores of any other major.
Students who have graduated with an education degree earn lower scores
than any other major on graduate school admissions tests such as the
GRE, MCAT or LSAT. Schools of education, either graduate or
undergraduate, represent the academic slums of most any university. As
such, they are home to the least able students and professors with the
lowest academic respect. Were we serious about efforts to improve public
education, one of the first things we would do is eliminate schools of
The inability to think critically makes educationists fall easy prey to
harebrained schemes, and what's worse, they don't have the intelligence
to recognize that the harebrained scheme isn't working."
Report Urges Halt to Extra Pay for Master's Degrees
by Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week, July 21, 2009.
"States are spending billions in education dollars each year
rewarding teachers for earning advanced degrees that show little
correlation with improved student achievement, a report released
yesterday concludes. The policy of giving teachers salary 'bumps' after they earn master's
degrees in education 'is in the drinking water everywhere, but we
know the relationship between the degree and student achievement is
"advanced degrees ... show little correlation with improved student achievement"
Teacher Education:Time to Tame the Wild West -
Results from a new survey show teacher education programs are outdated and lackluster
by Arthur Levine, former President of Columbia University's Teachers
College, November 2006.
"Alarmingly, most of the programs that prepare the nation's teachers
cling to an outdated, historically flawed vision of teacher education
that is at odds with a society remade by economic changes,
demographic shifts, technological advances and globalization. ...
"Too many teacher education programs are engaged in the pursuit of
irrelevance. They suffer from low admission and graduation standards.
Their faculties, curricula and research are disconnected from school
practice and practitioners. Program quality varies widely, with the
majority of teachers prepared in lower-quality programs ...
"Too often, anything goes. ...
"Many students graduate from teacher education programs without the
skills and knowledge to become effective teachers. More than three
out of five teacher education alumni surveyed (62 percent) report
that schools of education do not prepare their graduates to cope with
the realities of today's classrooms."
New Guidelines for Teacher Training:
A needed attempt to reform the accreditation of teacher education schools lacks substance
by Sandra Stotsky, John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, September 01, 2009.
"On June 23, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher
Education (NCATE), the organization that accredits most of the
nation's education schools, announced a revision of its accrediting
guidelines. It's the first major revision in ten years....
"The problem with NCATE's white paper is what it doesn't say. One
reads the paper in vain for any mention of increasing academic
coursework requirements for K-8 teacher candidates ...
nothing in NCATE's new guidelines ensures that prospective teachers,
especially for elementary and middle school, will have the academic
background necessary to teach the subjects they will be expected to....
"An even more serious problem we face is raising the academic caliber
of those who want to become teachers. ... America draws its
elementary teachers mostly from the bottom 30 percent of high school
graduates who go to college. The generally low or non-existent
admissions standards of our education schools were highlighted in the
Levine report, but NCATE's revised guidelines don't address this
"The problem is that NCATE is composed only of educational, not
discipline-based, organizations. That is, it doesn't include
organizations devoted to mathematics, science, foreign languages,
history, government, geography, and so on.
The absence of subject matter experts on review teams keeps
constructivist, anti-content theories about teaching dominant in our
Cash Cow Stampede: Colleges of Education Not Up to Snuff
by Dr. Matthew Ladner, October 30, 2007.
"Arthur Levine, former President of Columbia University's Teachers
College, has issued
a no-holds barred critique
research in the nation's colleges of education. ...
The short story is that our colleges of education are giving Ph.D.s
to researchers who aren't qualified to hold a Ph.D. ...
Levine surveyed deans, faculty, education school alumni, K-12 school
principals, and reviewed 1,300 doctoral dissertations and finds the
research seriously lacking. He ultimately recommends that
policymakers close many doctoral programs at education colleges and
instead suggests a two-year M.B.A. type of degree for would-be school
"... recommends that policymakers close many doctoral programs at education colleges"
"Just how bad is the quality of doctoral-level research in colleges of
education? Levine's review doesn't pull any punches:
In general, the research questions were unworthy of a doctoral
dissertation, literature reviews were dated and cursory, study
designs were seriously flawed, samples were small and
particularistic, confounding variables were not taken into account,
perceptions were commonly used as proxies for reality, statistical
analyses were performed frequently on meaningless data, and
conclusions and recommendations were often superficial and without
"I recently reviewed the course requirements at Arizona State
University for teacher certification. ASU's elementary education
program requires as many hours in fine arts as it requires in reading
instruction. This in a
state where 44 percent of fourth graders are functionally illiterate.
In 1998, Massachusetts required an academic skills exam for
prospective teachers near the completion of their college careers.
Fifty-nine percent failed the test. The state Board of Education
chairman rated the exam at about the eighth grade level. Newspapers
reported misspellings worthy of 9-year-olds, an inability to describe
nouns and verbs, and the inability to define words such as
"a complete rethinking of teacher training and certification is overdue"
"Clearly, a complete rethinking of teacher training and certification
Master of None
by Will Fitzhugh, The Concord Review, October 20, 2006.
"After nearly thirty years of work in education, I have come to the
view that Mastery in education is very hard to achieve. If we pretend
otherwise, by passing out meaningless degrees, we end up by avoiding
most of the many serious questions about how we might actually get
better at educating the children in our charge."
"passing out meaningless degrees"
by Dean L. Kalahar, M.Ed.
"If we are serious about raising the academic achievement and test
scores of our children, the time has come for some frank talk
regarding teacher training in this country. ... It is well
documented that colleges of education draw students with lower
academic qualifications. Many students enroll in teacher training
programs because it is the only place where they can survive the
rigors of college and graduate. Standards are so low within these
schools that if the bar was raised students who truly were called to
a career in education would have more than enough motivation and
discipline to meet increased standards. ... Once under the control
of a soft college curriculum, students are sold short on a
combination of feel good courses and educational psycho babble that
has nothing to do with preparing educators for the tough realities
once they leave the college and enter the world of public education.
... The sad thing is, our school children are hemorrhaging while the
education elite look you straight in the eye and tell you that your
child is under the best of care. Now that's educational perjury."
"feel good courses and educational psycho babble"
"To take a Ph.D. in education in most
American seminaries, is an enterprise that requires no more real
acumen or information than taking a degree in window dressing. ... Most
pedagogues ... are simply dull persons who have found it easy to get
along by dancing to whatever tune happens to be lined out. At this
dancing they have trained themselves to swallow any imaginable fad or
folly, and always with enthusiasm. The schools reek with this puerile
nonsense. Their programs of study sound like the fantastic inventions
of comedians gone insane. The teaching of the elements is abandoned
for a dreadful mass of useless fol-de-rols ... Or examine a dozen or
so of the dissertations ... turned out by candidates for the doctorate
at any eminent penitentiary for pedagogues, say Teachers College,
Columbia. What you will find is a state of mind that will shock you.
It is so feeble that it is scarcely a state of mind at all."
-- H. L. Mencken, "The war on intelligence," December 31, 1928
- "Those who can't teach, teach teachers."
-- blogger "Promethean Antagonist"
"Courses in education given at ... teachers' colleges have traditionally been used as a
substitute for genuine scholarship. In my opinion, much of the so-called science of 'education' was invented
as a necessary mechanism for enabling semieducated people to act as tolerable teachers."
-- Sloan Wilson
"The people who become 'educators' and who run our school systems
usually have degrees in education, psychology, social sciences,
public administration; they are not people who have studied, and
know, and love literature, history, science, or philosophy. Our
'educators' are not educated. They do not love learningŠ"
-- Rita Kramer,
Ed School Follies: The Miseducation of America's Teachers,
, p. 222
Ed Schools VERSUS Parents
Ed Schools 'Out of Touch' with Public, Say Critics: They focus on 'correct' teaching style, not on student achievement
by Robert Holland, School Reform News, September 2003
Professors' Attitudes Out of Sync, Study Finds
by Ann Bradley, Education Week, October 29, 1997.
"Professors of education hold an idealistic view of public education
that differs so markedly from the concerns of parents, taxpayers,
teachers, and students that it amounts to 'a kind of rarefied
blindness,' a report released last week says. ...
The disconnect between what education professors believe and the
concerns expressed by parents, teachers, and students is 'often
staggering,' the survey found. The study paints a picture of a
professoriate preparing teachers for an idealized world that prizes
'learning how to learn' but disdains mastery of a core body of
knowledge and gives short shrift to fundamentals such as classroom
In contrast, previous Public Agenda studies have found that the
public wants schools to emphasize the basics: reading, writing, and
mathematics, taught in orderly and disciplined classrooms. While
Public Agenda is accustomed to identifying gaps between ordinary
Americans and leaders on a variety of issues, the report says, 'it is
unusual to find disparities of this magnitude about such fundamental
goals, and involving an issue--public education--that is so close to
the public's heart.'"
"The disconnect between what education professors believe and the
concerns expressed by parents, teachers, and students is 'often
"Different Drummers" And Teacher Training: A Disharmony That Impairs Schooling
by J.E. Stone, Education Week, February 4, 1998.
"There seems a clear contradiction between the teacher training
community's rhetoric about improving outcomes and its
unquestioning allegiance to learner-centered principles."
Survey: Education Teachers Out of Touch with Real World
by George A. Clowes, School Reform News, December 1, 1997.
"Teacher education programs often fail to prepare teachers for the
challenges of teaching in the real world, say two out of three
education professors recently surveyed by Public Agenda, the
non-partisan New York-based research group.
"The reason is not difficult to find. Those same professors hold views
of education that are fundamentally 'out of sync' with those of
school teachers, students, and the general public. ...
'The disconnect between what the professors want and what most
parents, teachers, business leaders and students say they need is
often staggering,' comments Deborah Wadsworth, executive director of
Public Agenda. 'Their prescriptions for the public schools may appear
to many Americans to be a type of rarified blindness given the
public's concern about school safety and discipline, and whether high
school graduates have even basic skills,' she added."
Ed Schools and Groupthink
What Is an Educrat?
by Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, January 4, 1998.
"What is an educrat? ... I use [this term] because it captures a special kind of person in the
education world: pinheads who are so process-oriented that they are
more excited in the process of learning than the myriad wonders that
can be learned.
Simply put, educrats believe in process -- as opposed to educators,
who believe in results. Educrats focus on how children learn.
Educators focus on what they learn. ...
"What is the difference between an educator and an educrat? ..."
The remainder of this powerful article gives many succinct
descriptions of those differences!
Establishment Ideas, and the Anti-establishment Critique,
Martin Kozloff, Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina, October, 2003.
Education Schools as the Primordial Soup of Fad, Folly, and Fraud
Schools of education are for the most part the source of pernicious
innovations. They are the carriers of Romantic-progressivist
doctrine. They induct new teachers and administrators into the
Romantic-progressivist thought world, and thereby ensure that another
generation is prepared to receive and accept progressivist
innovations (Hirsch, 1996; Ravitch, 2000).
For example, ed school
teacher training curricula rest on and are misguided by empirically
weak and logically flawed progressivist (constructivist, child
centered, developmentally appropriate) shibboleths concerning how
children learn and therefore how children should and should not be
taught. A small sample of these were listed in an earlier section;
e.g., drill and kill, teachers should facilitate but not directly
teach, students should construct knowledge. These are repeated in
course after course, book after book, and exam after exam in
education schools (Kramer, 1991).
At the same time, ed schools do not
adequately teach students the logic of scientific reasoning;
specifically, how to define concepts and judge the adequacy of
definitions; how to assess the logical validity of an education
professor's or writer's argument and the credibility of conclusions.
Nor do ed schools commonly have students read original works (to see
if in fact Piaget said what is claimed for him), to read original
research articles, meta-analyses, and other literature reviews.
The result is that ed students do not have the skill to determine the
validity of the progressivist propositions and curricula they are
taught; they must rely on what their professors tell them to believe.
The Ed Schools' Latest -- and Worst -- Humbug:
Teaching for "social justice" is a cruel hoax on disadvantaged kids
by Sol Stern, City Journal, Summer 2006.
"As E. D. Hirsch has exhaustively shown, the scientific evidence
about which classroom methods produce the best results for poor
children point conclusively to the very methods that the critical
pedagogy and social justice theorists denounce as oppressive and
racist. By contrast, not one shred of hard evidence suggests that the
pedagogy behind teaching for social justice works to lift the
academic achievement of poor and minority students. ...
should ask their state education boards to write a new set of
guidelines that discourage teaching for social justice and social
justice schools and that forbid teachers from indoctrinating students
with their own politics, whether left or right."
Class(room) Warriors by John Leo, October 17, 2005.
"[The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education]
vehemently denies that it is imposing groupthink, but the ed schools,
essentially a liberal monoculture, use dispositions theory to require
support for diversity and a culturally left agenda, including
opposition to what the schools sometimes call 'institutional racism,
classism, and heterosexism.' Predictably, some students concluded
that thought control would make classroom dissent dangerous."
A World Without Public Schools by David Gelernter, Weekly Standard, June 4, 2007.
"Public school teachers were educated at education schools, which turned even harder left
than many other graduate and professional schools. (The less substance to a
school or degree program, the more lightweight its courses, the more apt it is to
be affected by the ideological climate. A magnet is more apt to cause lightweight
objects than heavy ones to skitter towards it.)"
Ed Schools vs. Education: Prospective Teachers Are Expected To Have The Correct 'Disposition'
by George F. Will, Newsweek, January 16, 2006.
"The surest, quickest way to add quality to primary and secondary
education would be addition by subtraction: Close all the schools of
The permeation of ed schools by politics is a consequence of the
vacuity of their curricula. ...
The dogma has been that primary and secondary education is about
'self-actualization' or 'finding one's joy' or 'social adjustment' or
'multicultural sensitivity' or 'minority empowerment.' But is never
about anything as banal as mere knowledge."
"The surest, quickest way to add quality to primary and secondary
Close all the schools of education."
- A career-switching ed school student writes about professors who agree with everything,
mathematics that requires no rigor or correct answers, and the "seed pods" of educational dogma: