Saturday, June 21, 2008

Study: 90 percent of colleges fail to prepare math teachers

I can't say that I am surprised by this article in today's Virginian Pilot that states:
A national study by an advocacy group contends that almost nine out of 10 college education programs fail to adequately prepare prospective elementary teachers to handle math instruction.

Among the schools from Virginia included in the study are Norfolk State University and Radford University, both public institutions, and two private schools, Hampton University and the University of Richmond.

The Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality, which describes itself as a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, said it will release a full report Thursday. In an announcement Friday, the group said it looked at math preparation at 77 education schools in 49 states - including entrance and exit requirements, course content, textbooks, tests and state licensing exams - and found 87 percent to be deficient.

I look forward to reading the report when it is released on Thursday, but as I said, I am not surprised because any system that defends Everyday Math and its ilk, has to be broken.

I just have to deal with clerks in stores and banks to realize that our children in public institutions are receiving substandard math educations. Part of the problem is, I think, that we appear to have dropped arithmetic education and attempted to replace it with a math education. A friend of mine was talking about how her 3rd grade twins were learning some algebra. That's part of the math problem, 8 year olds haven't have grasped the arithmetic basics you need for algebra. We put the cart before the horse when we try to do higher level math concepts before arithmetic is second nature.


Cerwydwyn said...

I love how the article claims to be non-partisan but 3 of the 4 VA colleges studied are 'black' colleges. What does this mean in the grander scheme? Is it really a genuine sample of VA universities or of what our African American students are being robbed of while they are being prepped to teach future generations of Virginians? Would the findings have been different if they had checked at colleges with a better ethnic balance (one that reflects the general population of the state(s) for example. Did all of the colleges examined tend to the same ethnic unbalance? Maybe the researchers didn't intentionally skew the statistics or maybe there is a larger study in motion but I don't trust the results of this one...not to say that children are receiving great mathematics instruction in our public institutions, just that the study seems to have been canted.

Shez said...

This is where my ignorance that stems from being a foreigner shows up. I wasn't aware of the ethnic bias of those schools. I'm going to watch out for the report on Thursday.