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career paths for teachers ’ Category
Creating a New Paradigm for Oregon Teachers
Education in Oregon is emerging into an era of challenging growth. The push to improve student learning and achievement resulted in the creation of local education compacts, state-level departments such as the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB), and new education grant opportunities. These changes in the traditional educational practices opened doors for new teacher leadership opportunities. These opportunities are reflected in the changing role of teachers in schools. Teachers hold tremendous influence, and through increasing professional opportunities such as the CLASS Project, they possess capabilities and knowledge to transform education. It is a paradigm shift.
Schools operated in the past largely under Frederick Taylor’s 1916 scientific management system which was vertical. A few people were selected to rise to the “top” and become the leaders. In school terms this translated into administrative positions such as superintendents, principals, and directors. Under this hierarchal system, managers (administrators) made decisions without input from workers (teachers). Teachers taught in contained closed classrooms with limited ability to share their knowledge and build the capacity of other teachers. (more…)
Education reform is well-meaning but does not always further teachers’ ability to teach. I would like to put forth a shopping list of teacher needs. Our primary need is to add back our lost funding, because our students are slipping through the cracks as programs are cut, and class sizes burst at the seams. Oregon teachers need to work in schools where the focus is not on cutting resources.
Secondarily, we need:
- Restore lost teaching days, and give us a longer school year. It’ll be interesting to see the results of Chicago’s experiment with a longer school year, but I bet more hours in school will mean greater learning gains.
- Limit the amount of time that we have to do administrative work like data entry. In Japan, teachers teach longer hours and have assistants who grade and do production work. We used to have instructional assistants that would handle some of this, but cuts to personnel and increased demands at the top for accountability through data collection has cut into our time to plan quality instruction. (more…)
Dr. Hilda Rosselli was recently appointed by Governor Kitzhaber to serve as Oregon Deputy Director of Career and College Readiness for the Oregon Education Investment Board where she is working with Dr. Rudy Crew to address systems that maximize synergy within the state’s new PK-20 system to achieve Oregon’s Goal of an educated citizenry (40/40/20).
Oregon needs amazing individuals who are drawn to the teaching profession. Recent conversations sparked by Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon Chief Education Officer at the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB), have begun to coalesce around the vision of a tiered teacher licensure and career pathway for Oregon that can:
- Elevate the importance of the profession
- Attract a new generation of educators who see opportunities and incentives for early involvement
- Create progressive levels of preparation and experience, along with continued levels of advancement that help retain educators (more…)
I had lunch recently with an American friend working in Singapore. I explained to him how I conduct an international trade simulation with my economics students, and in the simulation, Singapore is one of the economic powerhouses. I asked him about the Singapore government, and whether it helps or hinders economic growth in that city-state.
He replied that government is one of Singapore’s strengths. How do they do it, I asked, when in much of the world government is viewed, at worst, as helplessly corrupt, and at best, inept.
It’s simple, he said. The Singapore government pulls the best and brightest from their high schools, sends them all over the world for top-notch higher education, then obligates them to serve in the government in exchange for the education, albeit with handsome salaries and benefits. The education, he explained, is to keep candidates beholden to the state, while the salaries are to keep them content and above reproach. The result, he suggested, is one of the most efficient and effective governments in the world.
Interesting model. Why not apply it to education?
While my posts over the last couple weeks have only engaged a portion of the education reform program that Marc Tucker suggests in “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” I nevertheless hope that more of you take the opportunity to tackle the text on your own. When I finished reading the entire report (online here), I was part enthralled and part enraged by what he was intimating.
On the one hand, I share Tucker’s passion for wanting to make our system stronger—and I was captivated by the daring he suggest in attempting to reboot the system. At the same time, my enthusiasm was tempered at points by his comparisons, as I believe at times he simplified the reasons that other national systems are so successful, and that we cannot—mainly because of politics—adopt the reforms he suggests (to be fair, my dismay there is partly directed at those who would rather remain fighting than moving toward a real solution). Nevertheless, in recognizing my ambivalent feelings, I realized that Tucker’s plan may ultimately be what the American public needs as a blueprint for true educational reform.
What I have found empowering about Tucker’s approach is that it contains elements that both reassure and challenge any group involved in American education.
In continuing my take on Marc Tucker’s report “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” (read a summary here), I wanted to focus this post on his suggestions for teacher education programs in the United States. (See my previous post about his opinion on charter schools and teacher pay.)
As an education professor, my interest piqued with Tucker’s focus on Schools of Education. Since joining the faculty at Concordia University last year (after ten years as a high school teacher), I have been more aware of the critical roles that teacher preparation programs play in establishing the character and skills of teachers as they enter into the profession. Thus, Tucker’s decision to devote time to their strengths and weaknesses provided an opportunity for me to examine my own practice as well as the state of all schools working to prepare educators.
Among several observations, Tucker concludes that standards for teacher preparation programs need to be higher. He explains that a low bar has led to teachers who are coming from the bottom third of college entrants, and that their mastery of content knowledge is suspect. Tucker argues that low expectations within colleges of education nationally have also led to these colleges being seen by universities as “second class citizens” on campus as well, which leads to fewer institutional supports (research grants, etc). All of these issues contribute to teachers being ill-equipped to succeed in the classroom.
Tucker has several proposals to address these issues. (more…)
Marc Tucker, in his recent report, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” made some strident observations about education reform in the United States, and after spending some time with it, I’d like to explore some of his proposals over the next few blog posts.
For those who haven’t had the opportunity to read the entire report, the Chalkboard team offered a summary in their recent Research Update. In short, Tucker is the head of the National Center on Education and the Economy, and crafted this report after a summit of various education ministers from around the globe. Commissioned by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the summit sought to investigate what the “best” nations were doing well in order to learn how to improve our beleaguered education system in the U.S.
This particular document drew some interesting conclusions—in fact, I found myself startled at some of Tucker’s claims. One was the ineffectiveness of charter schools as a means of true reform. Tucker feels that the gains made by charters are too sporadic and, ultimately, these schools are more prone to fail than succeed. I appreciated the insight since two of my children are educated in Portland charter schools.
There is so much education research out there focused on the myriad details that it’s hard to keep track of it all. But the latest study that’s generating buzz—and standing out—in reform circles zooms out and examines education from a big picture, global perspective.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform by Marc S. Tucker is a report that actually stems from the last two chapters of a book that will be published in September by Harvard Education Press. The project began when Education Secretary Arne Duncan asked the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to study the education strategies that other countries have used to outpace us.
American students are now ranked below those in almost 40 developed nations in terms of science, math and reading according to a study by the Programme for International Student Assessment, and this new report shows that the most popular tactics in the US—like smaller class sizes and charter schools—are not making the significant difference that has been hoped for.
The National Center on Education and Economy, a Washington DC think tank, picked up the work and focused on education systems in the highest performing countries—Finland, Singapore, Japan, China (Shanghai), and Canada (Ontario)—to see what we may learn from their successes.
At age 49, my husband Rob Corrigan just completed his dual Master’s degree and Oregon teacher certification program. He is now certified to teach middle and high school math through calculus, and the sciences including physics. He is a Harvard graduate, a former senior executive at multiple hardware technology start-ups in Silicon Valley, a classroom volunteer, a soccer coach from U6 up through U13, a former school board president.
But Rob is unlikely to land a public school job anytime soon, having gained certification at the time of greatest economic distress since the Depression, a period of historic budget cutbacks in statehouses everywhere.
Was certification worth it? Can second-career scientists, businesspeople, technology, media or other professionals segue successfully into teaching in Oregon’s current school system—now or ever?
A better question may be, “Why would they?”
Jennifer Singleton is an elementary school music teacher with seven years of teaching experience in Portland metro area schools. She was born, raised, and educated in Oregon, and loves nothing more than connecting with kids through music. We’re excited to have her joining the conversation about teaching and education reform as the newest member of the ChalkBlogger team.
My seven-year teaching career has taken me to five different schools in the Portland metro area. Most of them, including my current school, have had low socio-economic status (SES), which refers to the income, education and occupation of the students’ parents. While there were definitely some advantages to teaching in a high SES school, I choose to teach in a difficult school because for me, the rewards outweigh the challenges.
Obviously, there were a lot of great things about working in a high SES school. For the most part our students were well cared for physically and emotionally. Classroom management mostly meant controlling chatty kids. My program was adequately funded, and our school had a supportive community with plenty of volunteers for classrooms and school events. In many ways, teaching in a high SES school was a breeze.
The learning environment I’ve just described sounds ideal, but there were also some frustrating problems. I have a few colleagues who, like me, have taught in both kinds of schools. And like me, they prefer to teach in a low SES school. When asked about it, one of my colleagues even exclaimed, “You couldn’t pay me to go back!” The question is: Why? With all of the advantages, why choose a school with so many struggles? The answer for us boils down to a lack of appreciation.