Dear Commons Community,
Peshe Kuriloff, an associate professor in the College of Education at Temple University, has an essay in the current online edition of the Teachers College Record. He uses nature as a metaphor for the current state of teacher education programs:
“In nature, wolves will cull a running herd by isolating the weakest specimens, killing and feeding on them. In contrast, animals that stand their ground survive. In its weakened state, teacher preparation has become a prime target for hungry policy makers chasing their next meal. The correct response is clearly to stand our ground.”
It is an apt comparison for teacher educators. They must stand up for what they do and not fall victims to the policy-makers searching for someone to blame for low student achievement in urban schools. As Kuriloff points out, blame was fixed on teachers [I would also add teacher unions] and now on teacher preparation. And to avoid becoming a victim in the education wars, teacher educators need to speak out about what they know and need to ensure that teachers succeed and schoolchildren learn and thrive.
Although he does not have a silver bullet, Kuriloff makes several recommendations including more clinical/school based instruction which is already moving forward in many schools of education.
This essay provides good advice for any individual or group being bullied that is there can be no backing down. That only encourages the bully. Faculty in schools of education need to partner with teachers and unions to stand up to the school reform bullies including policymakers, their corporate and corporate-affiliated funders and foundations, and self-serving profiteers of the anti-teacher movement such as Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein. The worst thing to do would be to back down.