Wednesday, January 07, 2009

DC Schools struggle with certifications; Maryland schools rank #1; Poor children develop differently according to study

The Washington DC school system is trying to reduce the number of technically unqualified teachers under “No Child Left Behind”, but maintains that the number is misleading for a variety of reasons. Sometimes teachers have Praxis certifications in closely related fields but must be counted as unqualified.

Bill Turque has a story in the Metro section, p B01, of the Thursday Jan. 8, 2009 Washington Post, “D.C. Reduces Number of Unqualified Teachers: City still trails neighboring jurisdictions,” here.

The less obvious issue is the controversy over the need for education courses. As I covered on my main blog on Aug. 22, 2008, the need for “education” courses drives away many people, especially career switchers or retirees, who might consider teaching and who have “real world” experience. But some such persons may be less temperamentally inclined to work with cognitively disadvantaged children.

A Post story by Nelson Hernandez Jan 8 (page B02) indicates that Maryland’s public schools are the best in the country. The link is here.

One of the studies was conducted by Education Week. I noticed on their front page an important story by Richard Roundup, “Scientists track poverty links to cognition: socioeconomic difficulties affect prefrontal development of children,” link here. Michelle Rhee, DC Chancellor, has insisted that any child can be taught to be a good student, at least regardless of poverty. But the practical evidence is overwhelming that students from prosperous homes with married or at least stable parents do much better in school, and learn much of what they know at home as well as in school. The study will be published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience in August 2009.

Another study ranking Maryland first was conducted by MGT of America.

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