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Report Shows We're Not Teaching Our Teachers
Report Shows We're Not Teaching Our Teachers

AIR DATE: June 26, 2013

A report by the National Council on Teacher Quality shows that as a nation we're doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the workforce. Nevada schools such as the University of Nevada Reno, and Las Vegas scored very low according to the four-star standard set in the report. Educators across the country have spoken out saying the report is flawed. What are the standards for creating teachers? 


Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality

Cyndi Georgis, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at UNLV

Kim Metcalf, incoming Education Dean at UNLV



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#5 Fortunately, many incompetent teachers are, within a few years, driven out by the system. But, still, many with low-level skills themselves are left in. In fact, they often become administrators. Seriously, KNPR should do a show on unintelligible and/or incorrect administrator e-mails. One's writing can be a great indication of one's general intelligence and education. But all of this talk is just that: talk. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This state is not willing to pay teachers what teachers need to be paid in order to attract the best and brightest students, who do not want to be sitting next to low students in college courses. And I think it would take federal law enforcement coming in with rifles or something to get the CCSD administration to treat teachers with any kind of respect or trust. KNPR, you do our community a great service with such programs. You frequently address education issues on State of Nevada. Thank you. BUT HOW DO WE GET BEYOND THE TALK? And how do we even get the talk REAL?
justateacherJun 26, 2013 11:50:49 AM
#4 ...partially because THEIR OWN TEACHERS CANNOT WRITE PROPERLY. Yes, the ELL status is a big factor, BUT SO IS THE POOR LANGUAGE SKILLS OF TEACHERS WHO ARE LICENSED BY THE STATE OF NEVADA. I can give you a quick and easy way to weed out teaching candidates: give them a writing test, and keep the standards where they should be. No teacher should be teaching kids when that teacher does not have an understanding of language arts at the level that is being taught in elementary and middle school, for goodness sake! (Don't believe that apostrophes, run-ons, and so forth are taught at that level? Look at the curriculum under the NV Dep't. of Ed. Oh, no, wait, maybe those standards have disappeared with the new Common Core...I'd have to check.) I'm sorry, but I would be appalled to have the UNLV graduate who wrote the comment that I critiqued teaching my child. This is why a number of intelligent, educated parents do not use the public school system here. Besides the students being socially promoted and many being terribly behaved and lazy in their studies, the standards for teachers are in the toilet. And, yes, that is partially due to UNLV. Fortunately, many incompetent teachers..
justateacherJun 26, 2013 11:39:46 AM
#3 especially those in the primary levels however we are masters of teaching a wide variety of subjects. [And at what age/grade level is identifying and correcting run-on sentences taught? I can tell you that it is first addressed in elementary school, yet this teacher will be modelling incorrect usage for her students. So how is she GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE?] Any true teacher knows that subjects are taught by crossing all contents. A teacher that gives a science is also teaching [Does this actually say "gives a science is..."? Really?] math, reading, writing, and more [missing punctuation here] that is if they are prepared and teaching the way children need to learn. UNLV has taught me that I have to teach the way the children learn not have them learn the way I teach. [Again, the missing comma seems so small in comparison to the egregious mistakes...] My comments here: I am sorry, but the person who wrote these comments should never be hired as a teacher. I don't care what you're teaching; you need to have basically correct writing skills. Is it any wonder that our students cannot write? It is not simply because their families are speaking other languages...
justateacherJun 26, 2013 11:30:16 AM
Post #2. (#1 begins with, "I have to do this in pieces...") Apologies for the typo in "Dapitalized" in previous post. This one is all commentary, but I will go back to the bracketed comments next. I am not writing this to embarrass anyone, and I hate to do it, but the original comment being voluntarily made public, I feel compelled to point out that this UNLV graduate has ABYSMAL WRITING SKILLS, YET MOST LIKELY WILL BE HIRED AND BE TEACHING KIDS. Seriously, WHERE ARE YOUR STANDARDS, UNLV? How does the state continue to allow this to happen? KNPR, I would love to see you cover this topic: A simple writing test would go a long way toward weeding out those who should not be teaching. Ah, but if you actually train high-level thinkers and students in teaching, then you would actually have to pay them well and treat them with respect, which does not seem to be the agenda of the CCSD or the state of Nevada.
justateacherJun 26, 2013 11:21:57 AM
I have to do this in pieces, as it doesn't all fit in one comment box. Before my own comments, I must make a point responding to other comments. I am recent graduate of UNLV [who does not use articles - from Russia, maybe?)...However, by completing the entire program through UNLV allows a student [The preposition is in this sentence why? The missing hyphen in 21st-century isn't even really worth noting, under the circumstances...]...having Biology [Dapitalized why?]...teachers get a degree in biology etc. [Forget the missing comma, but what's with the inconsistency in the capitalization? You're going to do this in the classroom?] In theory, I see why you would think that work [!!!], but in the actual classroom that would not even come close to benefiting our children. [Evidence?] Teachers dont [At what age are kids supposed to learn to put apostrophes in contractions? How is this writer getting a college degree??? RAISE YOUR STANDARDS, UNLV! Degrees are not a birth right! This person is going to go out there and write poorly to parents and also on the board/classroom signs in front of her students!] teach a singular [as in singular/plural?] subject
justateacherJun 26, 2013 11:10:05 AM
Also a recent graduate, this report is spot on. I am not prepared to teach because of what UNLV had to offer. A student teaching program where you get feedback from your supervisor one maybe two times in an entire year. Not because they aren't good at what they do but because they have twenty students they are in charge of. My supervisors were great but had far too many students to supervise. In the one semester I spent out of state student teaching I received four formal observations with a formal review for each one. Methods classes that include every peer micro teaching the entire semester. TESOL class being taught by powerpoints, reading a 10 year old book and a person that has NEVER been in a classroom teaching ESL/ELL students. An advising office that has no business advising anyone. I spent 5 days at a conference last summer and learned more in those 5 days then I did my entire time at UNLV. If you want more stars invest in your teachers and listen to your students. Take accountability for this score. Make changes,look at the programs that have good rankings. See why they have higher rankings. Stop wasting your time defending a program that needs serious help.
Tabitha HugdahlJun 26, 2013 10:19:45 AM
As a recent graduate of UNLV, I absolutely agree with the report.I found it hilarious when Mrs. Giorgos was discussing the reports failure to recognize the classroom management courses offered at UNLV. The classes I took were a complete waste of time. As were my TESL classes. I am not going to be a good teacher because of anything I learned at UNLV. No one know what is going on in the program, twice I had to tell and advisor I wasn't leaving their office until they could find someone who could help me. I would not recommend UNLV to anyone.
LAJun 26, 2013 09:44:17 AM
I am recent graduate of UNLV and I feel that I am more than prepared to teach in a classroom. Of course, just taking a few education classes here and there will not prepare someone for the rigors of the classroom. However, by completing the entire program through UNLV allows a student to grow and develop into a 21st century teacher. I would like to also respond to the comment about having Biology teachers get a degree in biology etc. In theory, I see why you would think that work, but in the actual classroom that would not even come close to benefiting our children. Teachers dont teach a singular subject especially those in the primary levels however we are masters of teaching a wide variety of subjects. Any true teacher knows that subjects are taught by crossing all contents. A teacher that gives a science is also teaching math, reading, writing, and more that is if they are prepared and teaching the way children need to learn. UNLV has taught me that I have to teach the way the children learn not have them learn the way I teach.
Sue DuffyJun 26, 2013 08:19:36 AM
No surprise here, as for decades colleges of education have been considered the academic slums of every university in the nation. In fact, I've taken some education courses, and I assure you that the content is so moronic that an entire bachelors degree in education takes about as much brain power as a single course would in, say, any of the sciences. How about we just close down the colleges of education entirely and have future biology teachers get degrees in, duh, biology, history teachers in history, etc.? Really, I think it's obvious that focusing all efforts on pedagogical crap and none on actual academic content is the wrong way to go.
Tim HuntJun 25, 2013 13:47:00 PM
As with so many uniformed critics of professional teacher education, Tim Hunt should collect facts before making unwarranted claims. Take a look at the discipline-specific academic requirements of science teachers, mathematics teachers, history teachers, etc. These are readily available. You'll discover that the content requirements are significant - at UNLV, more than required by State licensure and the valuable pedagogical preparation is added on top of those requirements.
Bill SpeerJun 26, 2013 09:09:59 AM
I agree that the too much pedagogy/too little subject area content is a problem. However, the other way around is not the answer, either. In countries where education is good and teachers are valued, I suspect you find a nice balance, where both pedagogy and subject area expertise are valued and required. (And, Mr. Speer, with all due respect, you are a professor, not a teacher here, so you do not see what I see. Yes, the standards are higher for high school teachers, but they're pretty darn, stinking low for elementary - those who set the stage for our learners. It's not all that tough to be licensed for middle school, either. And many who have the backgrounds to teach math and science at the high school level are doing something more lucrative, where they gain more respect. As you did. And the standards at UNLV are way too low for elementary teachers.)
justateacherJun 26, 2013 12:01:28 PM
Excuse me, make that Dr. Speer - unless you are not the UNLV prof I think you are - an excellent one (whether current or former, I don't know).
justateacherJun 26, 2013 12:09:38 PM
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