Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fairy Tales, Lies, and Myths - Shame on you Indy Star

I read with interest Andy Gammill's article in the Indy Star Sunday (click here to read it) and have a few questions that I would like to ask him. In the first paragraph, where did Stephanie Parido learn to push her 12 year olds to make complex analyses?

Further down in the sixth paragraph, it asks, "Is it a good thing that more of Indiana's children are being taught by educators who have not undergone traditional training? Generally, education leaders think it is." Who exactly are these leaders that Mr. Gammill aludes to? He goes onto say that the non-traditional teacher "offers a boost of enthusiasm". I had the opportunity to speak to a graduating senior from an education program after her first day of student teaching this week. The sparkle in her eyes, the enthusiasm in her voice, the glow in her cheeks was unbelievable. She was walking on air with excitement and passion.

Mr. Gammill goes on to state, "Some research..." without citing any sources, which I find a bit troubling for an educational article . Later, he comments, "Other educators..." which is again problematic for credibility's sake.

"What is clear is that political support for these programs has never been stronger. Both Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, and President Barack Obama, a Democrat are pushing for more opportunities for those without education degrees to become educators." This is emphatically false. Yes, Mitch Daniels is. No, President Obama is not. I ran a search for all of the educational comments by President Obama and not one even suggests this supposed point of view.

"The studies do give some weight to the idea that alternatively certified teachers can do more harm than good in reading, but the programs think they can fix that," is also stated in Mr. Gammill's article. Wow! I thought the whole point of education was to have a literate society that can make decisions based on democratic principles. Pretty difficult without the ability to read... As to "fix that", wouldn't one assume that this had been already addressed when sending out non-traditionally certified teachers by the hundreds of thousands?

There is much more that is troubling in this article, but I will stop now due to the amount I have already shared. The rest of the article is more of the same, half-truths, mythical thinking, and fairy tales.


1 comment:

  1. While I don't intend to use my comment to directly address the IndyStar's view on education, I was struck by a couple of comments to an IndyStar article this morning that focused on a teacher who supposedly tried to trigger an autistic student's peanut allergies to avoid taking him on a field trip. Shifting from the natural emotion evoked by this article, I think it's important to focus on what the comments to this article are saying: that it's unfortunate that individuals don't know how to work with autistic students, or these types of situations could be avoided. Interesting that the discussion is what it is, especially as put forward by the Star: teachers only need content, and they'll figure out how to work with these students on their own. If only that was really the case.