Today in the Times... An education editorial

Today, the Times editorial board suggested that the American system of education overtests its students and undertrains its teachers. 

Most will agree with the assessment that the current model of education puts too much emphasis on testing student performance, but I think teachers in Ohio and New York would balk at the assessment that teachers are undertrained. In these and some other states, potential teachers are subject to a litany of trainings and certifications, (unless of course, they are affiliated with Teach for America, in which case they are welcomed with open arms after very little preparation). The NYT editorial makes no mention of the great variation in teacher preparation between states, and does not suggest if any of the individual states' models might be an appropriate one for the wider system. 

Instead, the editorial suggests looking to Finland as a model, where it is highly competitive to get a job as a teacher and where teacher training is free and supported by a stipend. Additionally, in the Finnish system, students must pass only one standardized test in their career, there is a lower teacher-student ration, and they pay experienced teachers more. It seems likely this editorial is in response to a book, popular in DC, called Finnish Lessons: What can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?  For more on the Finnish model, see this article in the Guardian.

What is surprising about the editorial, is its endorsement of the Common Core as a means of moving away from memorization toward critical thinking and writing.  I guess I'll have to give the Common Core another look.