Is the Gig Up for the RI Education Industry?
It’s worth your time, if you haven’t already read through the Sunday Providence Journal article about RI Education Commissioner Deborah Gist’s elevation of the state’s standardized test requirement for prospective education students to the highest in the country. The college and university estimates of how many students would miss the mark are head shakers, but of particular value is revelation of the gig, the game, the scam of educator education:
“Everybody understands what Commissioner Gist wants to do and I think her goals are laudable,” [acting higher education commissioner Steven] Maurano said. “We absolutely want to work with her to do whatever we can to improve the quality of teachers in Rhode Island Schools. The concern that the institutions have is that if you raise the score for the Praxis I too high in one fell swoop, we will deny a significant number of students the opportunity to get into teacher prep programs.”
Limiting the “opportunity” to enter into teaching programs is kind of the point, isn’t it? It gets better:
Teacher training programs argue that there are several other safeguards before a student graduates, including requiring that students pass a series of exit exams in specific subjects toward the end of their program, called Praxis II, and perform student teaching for a semester.
Rhode Island requires high cut scores for these exit exams and they are a better indicator of the kind of educator a new teacher will become, say Byrd and Eldridge.
Reporter Jennifer Jordan doesn’t explore how the percentage of students who pass the exit exams correlates with the estimates of how many would fall short of higher entrance scores, but the underlying argument is telling. Those who run training programs want a low bar for the students rushing to give them money, but a high bar for achieving the goal that motivated the exchange. In typical Rhode Island fashion, the objective appears to be to introduce waste (of time, money, and human potential) for the benefit of those who live off of it.
The most suitable names for such behavior might make a good question in the vocabulary portion of the Pre-Professional Skills Test.