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Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger. Franklin P. Jones

FEAR NO TESTS: There is No Crisis, but it is past Time to get serious about Quality Teaching & the Preparation of Teachers

Teacher Education is a Myth…

It can be argued that there is no such thing as teacher education since there is no such thing as a agreed upon core curriculum of teaching principles and practices. Courses with identical titles can vary very significantly from school to school, and professor to professor. This is a recipe for near chaos, ironically there is no "crisis" in education, and we should not act as if one exists if for no other reason than because CRISIS conjures panic, a search for culprits and competing disruptive reformers with vested interests in everything but education. However, it is past time to take some measured evolutionary steps whose benefits could be globally far reaching.

A logical place to begin this stage forward evolution is with teachers and teaching. So much of teaching is management, improvisation and bureaucratic demands that we owe it to teachers and schools to at the least help them to calculate and inventory the most powerful instructional platforms available for day-to-day teaching. Most all who teach are now facing a new global emphasis on accountability. The version thrust upon schools is properly called High Stakes Testing. This is a fitting term. There are severe penalties in the USA for example if national assessments fail to show Annual Yearly Progress (AYPs), though somewhat lesser ones in other English speaking countries. In general, when targets are not hit, jobs can be lost, principals demoted or re-assigned, and even schools dissolved as students are given vouchers to go elsewhere. There has been considerable and worthy research of the factors that characterize effective schools and failing ones. Oddly, the flip side of the accountability movement has not been seriously answered, it is the identification of Best Practices, a banner term in Education more than a serious movement. Ironically, the real movement to identify Best Practices, or tools, now reaches across industries.

There has even been a business patent issued on how to identify and promulgate Best Practices (US Patent: System and method for determining and implementing best practice in a distributed workforce. United States Patent: 20020091558). Teachers and schools are a distributed work force and should have access to similarly functional systems.

To borrow a line from Dr. Phil: "How is the present? Is having No System for identifying Best Practices working for you?" If your answer is most any variation on "Not well" you should be interested in this turn-around proposal offered. It is an attempt to develop the rudiments of a system for identifying and predicting what would most likely be Best Practices for most any instructional situation. However, it also includes elements, options and choices based on local and situational needs. The system proposed is not intended to displace teacher decision making but to better inform it.

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