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Teacher Competency: Quotes With a Comment
By David W. Kirkpatrick (August 30, 2007)
Senior Education Fellow
U.S. Freedom Foundation www.freedomfoundation.us

Again, quotes from multiple sources, adapting an idea by Sydney Harris who occasionally ran a column of things he learned while looking up something else.  Most people probably have an opinion about today's topic.
         "Back in 1950, two educators searched through 673 articles on teacher competence without finding a single study which reported any relationship between competence and the amount of training.  A later attempt failed also." p. 102, Caroline Bird, The Case Against College, NY: David McKay Co. Inc., 1975.
         "...students taught by teachers trained in teachers colleges do no better than laymen (housewives, automobile mechanics, and electricians) in promoting student achievement...children taught by inexperienced college students learned just as much as did students taught by college-trained, experienced teachers...the conclusion is inescapable: teacher preparation as provided by colleges of education does not result in increased student achievement." R. Barker Bausell and William B. Moody, "Are Teacher Preparatory Institutions Necessary?", p. 28, Phi Delta Kappan, January 1973
          "...teachers do not really know how children learn, what knowledge is most valuable, how best to teach, how best to organize a school...then how do (they) know what (they) are doing?" Mario D. Fantini, What's Best For The Children,?, Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, Doubleday, 1974
         "A study at Columbia University...reported the normal pattern for levels of teacher performance shows a steady increase during the first five years on the job, a leveling off durng the next 15 years, and the a steady decline thereafter." p. 85, Appendix A, Roy A. Edelfelt & Margo Johnson, Eds.., Rethinking In-Service Education, Washington, DC: National Education Association, 1975
         "Teaching not only fails to attract the most able, but it also attracts a disproportionate share of the least able...Nearly one-third of those initially attracted to teaching and fully one-third of those who intend to teach at age 30 were drawn from the lowest 20%." p. 25, Victor S. Vance & Philip C. Schlechty, "The Distribution of Academic Ability in the Teaching Force," pp 22-27, Phi Delta Kappan, Sept. 1982
         "...studies show there's only one factor that consistently boosts students academic achievement: the intelligence of the teachers." p 98-99, Art Carey, the United States of Incompetence, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991
         "A survey in North Carolina...of more than 81,000 teachers hired after the 1979-80 school year, indicated that one-third had left teaching within five years of being hired. Those who left were more likely to have graduated from colleges considered to be in the top one-fourth in the state; those who remained tended to be from the colleges ranked in the bottom fourth." p. 175, James T. Evans, EduCrisis!, Houston, TX: West Eagle Publishing, 1999
         "...if (a school district) simply hired randomly from the pool of college graduates...On average, one would windup hiring someone close to the mean SAT score, and not on the left side of the distribution at the 35th percentile as has been the case in Pennsylvania." Marci Kanstoroom/Chester E. Finn, Jr. Eds., Better Teachers, Better Schools, Washington DC: Thoms B. Fordham Foundation/Education Leaders Council, July 1999
         "Students in one predominantly African-American school n Los Angeles were shown "Roots," the ‘70s TV mini-series, six times in a single year. That's not good teaching;  its' not even good babysitting." Jaime O'Neill, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 12, 2000, EIA Communique, Nov. 13, 2000 email from the Education Intelligence Agency
         "Yet in a nation of 3 million teachers, the definition of highly qualified varies widely and may not ensure quality at all....many states are declaring their teachers to be highly qualified without making sure those teachers know their subject....most states say that more than 90 percent of their teachers are highly qualified. "Law puts focus on teacher quality,' p B6, Reading (PA) Eagle, August 22, 2005
         "Applicants for graduate study in education administration – tested between July 1, 2001 and June 30, 2004 – had a combined mean total GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score of 950 (Verbal, 427; Math, 523).  That is sixth from the bottom of 51 fields of graduate study tabulated by the Educational Testing Service." Tom Shuford, personal email, July 27, 2007 (Letter to the Editor, The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2007)
         Decades, indeed generations, of experience: nothing learned, nothing improved.
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         "Most of what professional schools teach is less likely to ‘come in handy later' than it is to fade from memory and relevance." p. 97, Caroline Bird, The Case Against College, NY: David McKay Co. Inc, 1975

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Copyright 2007 David W. Kirkpatrick
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Douglassville, Pennsylvania 19518-9240
Phone: (610) 689-0633

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