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[Susan Fuhrman, head of Teachers College Columbia University,] finds the birth of alternative teacher schools “upsetting.” “I worry about cutting that kind of preparation off from the scholarship and from emerging research” that a university offers, she said. “It can sound like I feel threatened. I don’t. But it just worries me as a trend.”

There are 3.3 million public school teachers in America, and they probably can’t all be trained by start-ups. Raising up the standards of our university programs should be an urgent priority. But one reason for the widespread mediocrity is that universities have had a cozy, lucrative monopoly. It’s about time the leaders of our education schools did feel threatened.

This blog has for years followed the scandal of America’s schools of education. Their notorious mediocrity continues to generate alternative forms of preparation for the profession.

[U]niversities have proved largely immutable. Educators, including some inside these institutions, say universities have treated education programs as “cash cows.” The schools see no incentive to change because they have plenty of applicants willing to pay full tuition, the programs are relatively cheap to run, and they are accountable to no one except accrediting agencies run by, you guessed it, education schools. It’s a contented cartel.

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4 Responses to “From an opinion piece in the New York Times.”

  1. david foster Says:

    It would be helpful if academics in the more academically-serious departments of universities would raise a little hell about the ed schools on their very own campuses.

  2. Christopher Moprhew Says:

    Fan of the blog, but you are off-base here. Ed Schools have their problems. I’m a faculty in one and I know that. But, the claim that Ed Schools’ mediocrity is THE problem (and what differentiates them from the rest of the colleges on a university campus) is a fallacy. More evidence here: http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/the-ed-schools-are-the-problem-fallacy/

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Christopher: Thank you for the link – I’m going there now to read the article. UD

  4. Mr Punch Says:

    The trouble with ed schools, I believe, is indeed a matter of market failure – but not because of monopoly. (That argument doesn’t even make sense – there’s lots of competition.) The problem is that the customers (students and school systems) don’t care much about quality. Education degrees, and graduate degrees in particular, are simply credentials necessary to qualify recipients for a raise or promotion, generally with their current employers. Convenience, easiness, and cost, perhaps in that order, are the relevant criteria.

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