In your editorial, Dumbing down education, (June 14), you argue for more centralized requirements for teachers. In so doing, you advocate an admirable end – better teachers for our students – through an entirely counterproductive means.
You stated: If there were evidence that second-career professionals make better teachers, there might be reason to support REPA II. But there is none.
There is, however, considerable evidence that teachers who come to schools through alternative qualifications perform just as well in both general knowledge tests and assessments of education-specific know-how as their colleagues that took the education-school route. Their classroom skills have also been shown to be equal.
Why require teachers to incur the considerable costs of this schooling when the benefits are shown to be non-existent? Furthermore, the curricula of schools of education have historically influenced teachers to embrace pedagogical methods like whole-language reading and New Math, which are entirely unsupported by empirical studies.
So, traditionally trained teachers perform just as well as alternatively trained ones, but they may also be carrying the unwanted baggage of inefficient teaching techniques.
Would-be teachers often avoid entering the profession because of the high costs of education schools and traditional certification, instead moving on to more profitable occupations. Those that remain tend to be either so inordinately dedicated that they will endure such added costs, or simply without other professional prospects.
If youre truly in favor of giving our kids the best education possible, and you truly support good teachers, then you oppose centralized certification requirements.
MATT PAWLOWSKI Lexington, Mass.