When kids fail, are teachers all to blame?
Florida's graduation rates came out late in 2009, and some people were quick to blame teachers for failing to reach the teens who dropped out, scored too low on the FCAT or somehow didn't make it to the finish line successfully.
That bothers Pensacola News-Journal columnist Reginald Dogan, who today points directly at parents as a critical factor in their children's educational outcome.
"A child's first awareness of the world around him occurs at home. Since his world continues to be home-centered throughout his formative years, the home can be either the most potent force of failure or a powerful influence for learning and achievement," Dogan writes. "Sadly, too many parents put their children on the bus in the morning and pass the educational baton to the teachers. That's like putting your child behind the wheel of a car without first showing him the basics of driving."
Then again, once students arrive in school, teachers have a key role to play in providing a good education. If they're not always doing the best job, perhaps the finger-wagging set should be looking at the colleges that prepared them.
That's what the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education is suggesting as one of its advisory panels meets this week. One of its expected recommendations: Treat education more like a profession that requires more monitoring during training, like doctors get, and more detailed professional development later in the career.
"We must treat teaching as a recognized profession that occurs in stages rather than to see it in the old model where students study it in college, graduate in four years ... and then are working in the field and done with their education," University of Florida education dean Catherine Emihovich told Inside Higher Ed.
All of that would require teachers and parents, schools and colleges of education to work together for the students' best interests. Can it be done?