Aaron Pallas is a sociologist at Teachers College, Columbia University, who is one of our nation’s best scholars of education. He is quick to spot Bunkum.

He said this about the report on teacher preparation programs by NCTQ:

“To be sure, few of us relish being put under the microscope. But it’s another matter entirely to be seen via a funhouse mirror. My institution, Teachers College at Columbia University, didn’t receive a summary rating of zero to four stars in the report, but the NCTQ website does rate some features of our teacher-prep programs. I was very gratified to see that our undergraduate elementary and secondary teacher-education programs received four out of four stars for student selectivity. Those programs are really tough to get into—nobody gets admitted. And that’s not hyperbole; the programs don’t exist.

“That’s one of the dangers of rating academic programs based solely on documents such as websites and course syllabi. You might miss something important—like “Does this program exist?”

Pallas noted that the Washington Post published an editorial praising the report. He commented: “I look forward to the Post instructing their restaurant reviewer, Tom Sietsema, to rate restaurants based on their online menus rather than several in-person visits to taste the food.”