Joel Klien's article, Self-discipline and high standards can secure the future of public schools identifies some problems in our public school system along with proposed solutions for these problems.
1. Problem- Teachers do not have adequate academic training.
Proposed Solution- "National teacher examination" that test mastery of pedagogy and content knowledge. Also, developing a demanding "knowledge base" along with a "formal set of … peer relationships."
2. Problem-Anyone with a degree can be a teacher.
Proposed solution- New approach to recruiting for future teachers, recruit from the top third of the graduates, and a 1-3 year supervised internship to evaluate the performance of prospective teachers.
3. Problem- Teacher reward system is not working.
Proposed solution- Do not let seniority equal job security. Establish own board to police the profession, establishing standards, and providing mechanisms for removing incompetent teachers
First, the problem of teachers not having adequate academic training. I do agree that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. In my opinion being a teacher is an incredibly important job. Teachers are helping mold and shape our future generations and that is not a job that should be taken lightly. I think that the proposed solution would be a step in the right direction. If teachers were required to pass a National teacher examination as well as required to have a demanding knowledge base, then they would have to further their own education and training to be able to qualify to teach.
Second, the problem of anyone with a degree can become a teacher. This problem ties in some with the first problem, but I felt it has some distinctions so I chose to identify it as its own problem. I also agree that this a problem and I agree with the proposed solutions. By changing the recruitment process to be more selective, prospective teachers would have to really work hard to even be considered to be hired. This process would help weed out individuals who may not be best suited to teach. I believe that the suggested one to three year supervised internship is a great was to see how someone would be as a teachers. However, if it is an unpaid internship some well qualified prospective teachers may not be able to financially afford it.
Third, the problem of the flawed teacher reward system. I could not agree more that this is a problem! As discussed in the article seniority should not equal job security, this allows incompetent teachers to maintain jobs while more competent, new hired teachers are the first to be let go. I 100% agree with the proposed solutions of establishing a board to police the profession, establishing standards, and providing mechanisms for removing incompetent teachers. When someone gets comfortable in a position they stop growing. They become stagnate in doing what they've always done, because there is no threat if they do not continue to improve their skills and methods. However, if every teacher was subject to an examination or formal review of their competences and the result could be the loss of their job, they would be motivated to do their best. If they were not motivated to be the best they can, then they do not deserve to be a teacher and should be removed.
Overall, I agree that all three of these problems are in fact problems and each of their proposed solutions could help fix our public education system. I have based my opinions on both facts from this article and from my own personal experience with teachers. Students should not have to suffer because incompetent teachers remain in school, teachers are not being trained well enough, and anyone with a education degree can be a teacher. I believe we need to look at the top education systems in the world, see what they are doing different than us, and make changes to model after them. For example, Finland requires teachers to have a masters degree before they can teach and they have one of the best school systems in the world. Reforming our education system in not something that can be done overnight, even with radical changes like the ones suggested in their article we still have a long way to go. However, I do believe we can make changes for be better by all of us being the best teachers we can be.