We hear we have a serious problem finding teachers for America’s classrooms. One solution is to encourage students in high school to become career teachers.
Young people are full of vibrant ideas and high school should be considered a valuable place for teacher recruitment. I am not saying we should push students to be teachers, but high schools have long used clubs and after-school activities to help young people understand the kinds of careers that are available.
But the new process to do this appears corrupted. It leads to Common Core and digital instruction.
As a high school student in the ‘60s, I participated in Future Teachers of America. I shadowed teachers, corrected papers, and worked with children. The club was sponsored by teachers at my school. FTA is still around. It is updated, though it looks somewhat like what I remember.
But there is another organization called Educators Rising. If you visit this website, the program, by the sound of the students describing their experiences, sounds great–at first.
But probing through the links one finds a very different approach to encouraging young people to choose teaching as a career. The focus is on Common Core and digital learning, or Competency-Based Education. Students learn about teaching through the EdRising Virtual Campus.
The program includes all kinds of outside reform groups.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is involved, as is the Relay Graduate School of Education. Relay is sweeping the country–invading Colleges of Education and school districts with standardized online programming.
The Council of Chief State School Officers are there. Also worrisome is that Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion is cited as a resource. Many of us consider this harsh instruction.
A high school student can learn how to handle smart phones and tablets in the classroom, and they can ponder whether phones will someday take over education.
But why would anyone want to go to the trouble of becoming a teacher if a phone will someday replace them?
#Love2Learn is another group listed which I find mysterious. There are several groups of that name. Is it homeschooling?
High school students in Educators Rising partner with Digital Promise which involves Micro-Credentialing and getting badges. This involves six categories.
- Master core content
- Think critically and solve complex problems.
- Work collaboratively
- Communicate effectively
- Learn how to learn
- Develop academic mindsets
But there is a whole list of focus areas. There is much discussion about aligning standards to the curriculum and management–much less talk about children and their development.
Here is there Micro-Credentials Infographic given on their site:
Educators Rising prepares young people interested in teaching for Deeper Learning. “Deeper Learning” is an umbrella term for the skills, understandings, and mindsets students must possess to succeed in today’s jobs and civic life. At its heart, Deeper Learning is defined by a set of competencies students must master to develop a keen understanding of academic content and apply their skills to challenges in the classroom, on the job, and in everyday life.
Certainly, times have changed since the ‘60s and of course teaching involving technology is important to understand. But where does the child fit in this standardized skill-driven agenda?
Educators rising is aligned to the corporate reforms facing schools today which is–as we have been watching and learning from those like Emily Talmage in Maine–a digital instruction takeover. They don’t call it the Digital Promise for nothing!
And now it has reached young high school students who are forming their ideas as to what teaching means. Many of these students are bright and would make wonderful teachers, but they are being led down the wrong road by people who aren’t real educators.
My experience in high school dealt with real children and teachers. It gave me a deep abiding love for the teaching profession. But I don’t think I would have ever gone into teaching if I’d had micro-skills to learn, or if it was all about setting a child up to work online.
Nor do I think any of this is really about teaching as much as it is about facilitating students to do Common Core State Standards and total online instruction.
I find it hard to believe micro-credentialing will drive young people into teaching, and my fear is that there will continue to be a teacher shortage–if indeed there truly is one.
Pushing for a digital takeover of brick-and-mortar schools with facilitators instead of teachers seems to be the end goal. What real instructional innovations will be lost in this unproven process?