Ranking the ed schools

U.S. News has released its annual ranking of graduate programs, with a section on education schools, accompanied by a crackerjack essay that faults the ed school sector as a whole. "Schools of education," it observes, "like public schools, have been roundly criticized in recent years for failing to adequately equip their students, and quality, to put it mildly, is uneven." Note: This essay accompanies a list of the best ed schools in the land (the magazine does not strike a similar tone in discussing, say, business schools), so this pronouncement means something. As usual, Harvard tops the chart; the top five are rounded out by UCLA, Stanford, Teachers College, and Vanderbilt. One bright spot: NCLB's teacher quality and other provisions are slowly forcing these schools to emphasize - or at least deal with - subject mastery. As the report notes, in order to obtain a good teaching job, "content-lite won't do: You must know your subject, and know it well." For example, Bard College's new master of arts in teaching program requires a math degree for prospective math instructors, who then study with a mathematician instead of an education professor while also analyzing high school texts and curriculum. Qualified math and science teachers will be especially valuable, considering that 69 percent of math teachers and 57 percent of science teachers currently have no major or certification in their field. While education schools are still in need of drastic reform (see "Levine vs. the ed schools" ), at least NCLB is helping to kick-start some change.

"America's best graduate schools 2006: Education," U.S. News and World Report, 2006

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