That’s the question asked by Dr Sandra Stotsky, of the University of Arkansas,in her recently published article entitled “The Negative Influence of Education Schools on the K-12 Curriculum”
Her article challenges constructivism (the theory which underlies Investigations) and social justice theory and the effects those educational philosophies have on what our children are taught and how it’s taught to them.
Her concluding remarks hit the nail right on the head…
We may best interpret the recent mushrooming of both privately and publicly financed tutorial programs (especially in mathematics), the phenomenal growth of home-schooling in the past two decades, and the ever-increasing number of public and private charter schools as forms of parental reaction to the bloated, distorted, or non-existent textbooks that their children now learn from in a haphazard, watered-down, and distorted curriculum.
Labaree tries to make the case that education schools have “no ability to promote progressive practices in the schools” or to control public education. My analysis of a leading grade 11 American literature anthology suggests how insidious their control of public education is. Indeed, education school faculty shape every subject taught in the schools at every grade level through their near monopolistic control, direct or indirect, of the content and pedagogy in the textbooks that teachers and administrators use in our public schools, whether or not they train them.
To salvage a failing public school system, we need to remove de facto control of the content of the K-12 curriculum from education schools as soon as possible.
We can remove their control over teacher training by transferring control of teacher preparation in core subjects and the content of these subjects to discipline-based experts at non-profit independent centers or institutes with principled intellectual and civic goals. We can also require educational textbook publishers to use these academic experts as senior authors or consultants for all school textbooks.
Voices are beginning to call for the dissolution of our public school system—a logical result of the increasingly negative influence of education schools on the quality of the curriculum and instruction in it. That influence will continue until their direct control of educator preparation and indirect control of the content and pedagogy in school textbooks is removed.
After reading her article, consider this – PWC currently has 26 teachers in a 2 year graduate level program at George Mason University training them to the TERC specialists. Those teachers expect to be promoted to TERC Math Specialists when their training is completed. They expect that they will be relieved of classroom responsibilities and will serve as TERC resources for the schools they are assigned to.
Those 26 classrooms they vacated will have to be filled with new teachers. The salary for 26 new teachers will cost us about $1.2 million more per year. All so that we can have 26 teachers who are trained to be TERC specialists.