Once again, we are treated to a New York Times editorial on education that is a mix of good and bad.
Bottom line: The Times blames teachers for the U.S. scores on PISA. And once again, the Times assumes that the scores of 15-year-olds on a standardized test predict the future of our economy, for which there is no evidence at all.
On the good side, the Times recognizes that entry standards into teaching in this country are far too low. In many states, a college graduate may become a teacher with no professional training or with an online degree or with only five weeks of training (TFA). That is not what the much-admired nations cited by the Times do.
On the good side, the Times notes that Finland has extensive social services for children in its schools. Entry into teacher education programs in Finland is rigorous. Teacher education is a five-year program.
On the bad side, the Times fails to mention that state after state is busily dismantling the teaching profession by eliminating collective bargaining (which Finland has); teacher tenure; salary increments for masters’ degrees; and actively discouraging and demoralizing experienced teachers. To call for an improved teaching profession, as the editorial does, while demonstrating total indifference to the widespread attacks on the teaching profession shows an astonishing ignorance of the political realities on the ground.
On the bad side, the Times never acknowledges that Finland has NO standardized testing until the end of high school.
On the bad side, the Times never notes that nearly one-quarter of children in the U.S. live in poverty, as compared to fewer than 5% in Finland. The editorial completely ignores poverty as a cause of low academic performance.
On the bad side, the Times cites the NCTQ as if its review of course syllabi and reading lists made it a credible research organization, which it is not.
On the bad side, the Times assumes that Shanghai has included all the migrant children in its schools and in its PISA testing, when Tom Loveless has demonstrated that this is an aspiration for 2020, not a reality.
Here is Tom Loveless’s comment on the New York Times‘ gushing praise for Shanghai: “dumb and dumber.”
Here are some tweets from this morning: