Friday, August 01, 2008

McCain on Education

John McCain, at the recent NAACP annual conference, said the following:

"We should also offer more choices to those who wish to become teachers. Many thousands of highly qualified men and women have great knowledge, wisdom, and experience to offer public school students. But a monopoly on teacher certification prevents them from getting that chance. You can be a Nobel Laureate and not qualify to teach in most public schools today because they don't have all the proper credits in educational 'theory' or 'methodology.' All they have is learning and the desire and ability to share it. If we're putting the interests of students first, then those qualifications should be enough."

I am growing to hate politics. I really am. Putting politicians in charge of education is like putting candy manufacturers in charge of preventing tooth decay. Anyone who thinks that educational "methodology" is not important needs to shut the frak up about education...right now. It's like saying that all you need to do is take a few anatomy courses to be a doctor. Methods courses teach the very structure of the educational system, including ethics, assessment validity, and the essence of cognitive and affective development. Almost every college professor I had possessed a PhD and most of them couldn't teach their way out of a wet paper bag. It's not just about mastering the subject material. It's about being able to convey it to students of various ages with a wide array of pre-existing understanding in an effective way.

It's about teaching, Stupid.

1 comment:

Jeff McClain said...

If this fallacy were true, all I would have to do is watch someone perform neurosurgery, and I would be able to. Oddly enough, both McCain and Bush seem to think they know what the nation's education system needs, when neither of them would likely pass a high school equivalency test (I bet Bush couldn't pass a middle school version)and probably couldn't teach a fish to swim. Ok, I admit, McCain isn't necessarily dumb, just not acquainted with reality all that much. Just because he calls everyone his friends doesn't mean it is so.

I don't have to tell you this, but teaching takes talent and passion. Talent to find the best way to teach students according to the way they learn individually; passion to teach because they believe in the profession despite barely making enough to live on. Contrary to popular belief, not just anyone can teach (unless it's gym...kidding). There's no way that I could stand in front of a roomful of judgmental adolescents and accomplish any kind of educational goal; I know that and that's why I don't teach. There's no question I could master the material, but I don't have the necessary temperament to teach it. By the way, this is the same John McCain that said earlier this year that he thinks he knows what women should be able to do with their own reproduction by repealing Roe v Wade.

You know what I would like? I would like politicians to learn that their job is to represent the public that elected them and not simply to get re-elected. Maybe then they'll be qualified to tell anyone else what their job is or who is qualified for it.

I have the utmost respect for anyone courageous enough to teach and even more for anyone committed enough to make it a career. Continuing to teach for as long as you have (and well) while catching flak from parents, the students, and the government is something I know most people (including myself) could not do--and I've always thought I could do just about anything. Respect.