In the newest edition of MassINC's CommonWealth magazine, Sandra Stotsky elucidates the well-known problems of teacher education (see Arthur Levine's highly-critical piece, "Educating School Leaders") and offers pragmatic advice for Massachusetts policy makers. The core problem: Those who want to teach must endure a bevy of useless classes on pedagogy and therefore fail to receive a broad liberal arts education with a strong focus on their teaching subject. And vice versa: Those who do have strong subject-knowledge are put off by these requirements and usually end up choosing another field. Stotsky argues that all secondary teachers should earn a master's degree in their discipline and learn their classrooms skills in a shorter time-span, like a one-year classroom apprenticeship. She also advocates giving federal or state grants to individuals who earn their master's degree and agree to teach in a public school for a few years. Requirements for pre-K-4 teachers, on the other hand, could be reduced. (Is a four-year degree in, say, European history really necessary to teach kindergarten?) We hope Stotsky's ready for the likely reaction: the "professionalism" crowd can be heard drafting their letters to the editor already.
"It's academic," by Sandra Stotsky, CommonWealth, Summer 2005