Reading, Writing, Arithmetic-Teacher training programs need to be revampedBy Matthew Ladner/Goldwater Institute
National reading tests show that 46 percent of Arizona public school 4th graders can't read. Such a catastrophe has no single cause, but the teacher preparation programs at our colleges and universities cannot avoid some amount of responsibility.
A recent report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality examined coursework and textbooks used at 72 leading colleges of education and found the vast majority use what the council considers discredited approaches to teaching reading. Only 11 of the 72 colleges taught all five of the critical components of reading instruction.
Sharon Robinson, president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, responded to the report by saying that teachers colleges have not rejected the research "but the community has to find a way to accept this work in a way they can use."
In other words, a huge percentage of the nation's children are running around with their hair on fire in terms of learning how to read, while those responsible for training the teachers endlessly debate the use of "water" in dousing the flames.
A complete revamp of public school human resource development and management in Arizona is overdue. The training of teachers would be a good place to start.
Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.