Dismal Educator Teaching At UTC - And Response

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Roy Exum, 

People are talking about the inability of UTC to turn out high quality teachers. Well, should any university be expected to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse? We all know how our school system students fail miserably on national scholastic aptitude tests as a whole.  Forget Tcap tests, those are teacher tests not meant for measuring student progress, but teacher participation in test teaching. So when the university has to start with remedial writing and math courses and still turn out four-year degrees on time, something is going to be left out. Believe it or not, college programs are expected to push through the same mediocre students who have been promoted above their grade levels all their lives. So yes, we get graduates with a C average who have had a few "withdraw passing" and retaken courses that go on to become teachers. 

But in our zeal to assure that every child gets the opportunity to pursue a college education, we are putting young people in a shark cage who can't even swim.  I will put the target on my back and say it: way too many kids are going to college. Little Johnny whose dad is a lineman for the Power Board has always been proud of him and wants to do the same thing. Little Sally loves cake decorating and wants to be a wedding caterer, or an electrical lineman for that matter. But our governor, legislators, teachers and media moguls have decided every child should go to college. Free college for everyone. Lottery money for college. Take the ACT twice if you didn't do so great first time. But no matter what, go to college. 

I think it may be time to make it more difficult to get into college, scholastically anyway. Take the European model and divide students somewhere around the eighth grade and give the doctor, lawyers, mathematicians and surgeons the college path. Give the electricians, chefs, plumbers and auto mechanics the best trade training available. We need them more than thousands of underperforming business and education majors. Highly skilled workers that can build a house, repair a caterpillar dozer, or climb a high voltage line pole are worth more than below average college grads. We have a shortage in electricians, refrigeration mechanics, and plumbers.

So I have the target on my back, get out those crossbows and shoot me down. Then go back and read how poorly educated so many college educated teachers are performing. 

Harry Presley 

* * * 

Mr. Presley, 

Why you chose to use the teaching profession to make your point makes me scratch my head.  I know plenty of business majors and engineers who, quite frankly, under perform to expectations.  As a CPA of 25+ years the value I bring to my company is determined by my performance and my performance solely.  Educators are measured by tests developed, in many cases, by people who have never set foot in a working classroom, administered to children and young adults, who possibly don't want to learn the curriculum and then scrutinized by parents who think their child is never wrong.  Educators are unfairly targeted as failures when little Johnny, whose dad may be a drug addict and gets him to school late every day, doesn't pass a test.  Really?  Do you honestly believe that? 

Yes, my wife is an educator, and a fine one at that.  She has spent her career caring for some children whose parents could care less about them and spent her own money to feed and clothe some who were unable to afford shoes and coats for the winter.  You should spend some time volunteering in a local school and get to know some of those "dismal" educators before you start throwing your two cents around in such an ignorant and irresponsible manner. 

Wayne Baker


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