ON-Lion Letter

A November report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) in Washington, D.C., documents that education majors are significantly more likely to receive high grades and graduate with honors than students in other majors on the same campuses.

Easy A's and What's Behind Them, argues that the persistent lack of rigor in teacher-education coursework is a disservice to future teachers and their students.  By failing to signal the challenge and complexity of real teaching, these courses send too many graduates into the classroom woefully unprepared, thus diminishing the value of their investment in preparation.

NCTQ looked at graduation data for students from more than 500 institutions -- where nearly half of all new teachers are prepared -- and found that education majors are almost half again as likely as all graduating students to graduate with academic honors.

"Teaching is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs there is," according to NCTQ president Kate Walsh.  "Yet for reasons that are hard to fathom, it appears to be one of the easiest majors both to get into and then to complete.  Our findings are provocative and disturbing, helping to explain why most new teachers are overwhelmed when they walk into the classroom.  The situation is not fair to the kids who get assigned to new teachers, nor is it right to shortchange the teachers themselves -- who through no fault of their own are not sufficiently prepared."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports NCTQ.

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