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At best, less than mediocre

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

There is little doubt in this retired Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher's mind that colleges' teacher training is, at best, less than mediocre (“National study: College teacher training is ‘industry of mediocrity,'” June 19 and TribLIVE.com).

In 2009, a colleague and I shared a student teacher from a local university in our English classes. She demonstrated no classroom management skills, nor did she possess basic knowledge of subject matter. Asked to evaluate 11th-grade essays, she obviously had little knowledge of grammar, editorial marks and common abbreviations. In evaluating her, she barely passed a ninth-grade grammar test I used over my career. She told me, “They don't teach us anything about grammar or punctuation in college.”

We recommended she not be given credit for student teaching. Not only did she get credit, the college also recommended we no longer be included as cooperating teachers.

It's no surprise that Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president, finds the study faulting teacher training a “gimmick.” These new, undertrained teachers are the union's future dues-paying members.

A vicious cycle begins when universities accept below-average students — often under the guise of “open admissions,” an enabling social policy all colleges are addicted to — to gain the almighty guaranteed federal Pell Grant dollars.

Does anyone remember when “College Boards” determined whether one was qualified to pursue a college education?

Nicholas Evanish

South Park

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