MU Dean of Education Disagrees with Report Criticizing Teacher Training
July 17, 2007
Jennifer Faddis, 573-882-6217, FaddisJ@missouri.edu
COLUMBIA, Mo. — A report issued this week by the National Council on Teacher Quality criticizes educational programs for not striking a balance between courses on subject matter and teacher training. Missouri, along with 20 other states, earned a 'D' overall. In part, the report suggested that Missouri elementary teachers are trained to be educators, but do not take enough courses in core subject matter. The dean of the University of Missouri-Columbia's College of Education disagrees with the report and says it does not reflect the way teachers are educated at Mizzou.
“Our teacher development program at the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Education is anything but traditional,” said Carolyn Herrington, dean of education at MU. “We lead the field in hours of hands-on experience by immersing education majors in school classrooms beginning with their sophomore year. At MU, we believe successful teachers must learn from both the University classroom and from authentic field experiences. So far, our Senior Year On-Site program — which places elementary education students in the classroom during their entire senior academic year — has generated nationwide interest.”
Herrington also points out that it is important for elementary teachers to be versed in a broad spectrum of subjects because of the variety of subjects they are expected to teach. However, secondary education teachers often take as many college courses in their specific subject areas as they do in education. Many MU secondary education students graduate with a double major.
MU's College of Education is ranked among the best of nearly 1,200 schools and colleges that prepare teachers, school administrators and education researchers. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report ranked the following MU College of Education programs in the top 25: Counseling Psychology/Personnel Service Program, Vocational/Technical Education Program, Administration and Supervision and Higher Education Administration. Each program has a strong tie between the content area and education. For example, the science education program partners with and shares joint faculty between the divisions of physics, biochemistry, chemistry, engineering and biological sciences.
“Our rich tradition of educating successful teachers exists in partnership with regional school districts through the MU Partnership for Educational Renewal,” Herrington said. “Through the partnership, education majors are placed in more than 20 school districts throughout Missouri, enabling students to experience real classroom environments while invigorating the local districts with MU's research-based classroom practices.”
Herrington also is the Joanne H. Hook Endowed Chair in Educational Renewal at MU. She currently serves as the head of the Policy and Politics division in the American Educational Research Association and is a member of the Governing Council. Her most recent research involves looking at factors affecting the achievement gap in the United States between majority and minority student populations. In 2005, she was invited to present a keynote address at Harvard University about her work. She received both her master's degree and doctorate from the University of Florida.