Letter To The Editor: Teachers Are Trained To Teach

By JUDITH BJARKE-MCKENZIE
Los Alamos
 
As a woman and mother, I rely on professionals daily. When my car needs servicing, I go to a trained mechanic. When I need a haircut or visit the dentist, I expect to see a license certifying training displayed on the wall. As a parent, I trust that the professionals that teach my children have an education degree. 

Jane Gordon’s Letter To The Editor: Importance Of House Bill 145 Concerning Adjunct Instructors – is short sighted at best and potentially devastating to our children’s future at worst.

The research doesn’t lie. Placing people in a classroom who are not trained to teach leads to poor results. The U.S. Department of Education commissioned a report that analyzed fifty-seven studies that met specific research criteria and were published in peer-reviewed journals. It summarized what research says about five key issues in teacher preparation: subject matter preparation, pedagogical preparation, clinical training, pre-service teacher education policies, and alternative certification.

On subject matter, research found that the way subject matter is taught for those entering teaching might need to be restructured to give them a better understanding of teaching concepts. The report concludes, “the solution is more complicated than simply requiring a major or more subject matter courses.”

Regarding the ‘how to teach,’ or pedagogical preparation, the report concludes “the pedagogical aspects of teacher preparation matter, both for their effects on teaching practice and for their ultimate impact on student achievement”.

In short, the teachers that performed the best are those who are trained and practiced in the science of teaching, rather than in a specific subject area. Passing a law like HB 145 that places less qualified teachers in the classroom does not help our schools, but hurts them.

Those who watch our schools and see the day-to-day efforts to make them better know that Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard has been a champion for our schools and a leader in making education better in Los Alamos and around the state.

Instead of attacking Teachers and leaders like Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard, the only people fighting to increase funding for public education and limit over-testing, maybe we should address the real barriers causing a teacher shortage like unfair evaluations, unfunded mandates, or the fact that we are in the bottom 10 of teacher salaries in the country.

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