#edweek gives #edreformers a pass

State Chiefs to Examine Teacher Prep, Licensing. by Stephen Sawchuk

Of course I’m going to take a jab at this crap.  However, I’m not really that concerned with the usual suspects.  We already know the National Council on Teacher Quality (Not really a national council) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (most with no education credentials) support radically altering teacher certification in a direction that has no basis in any research other than marketing analyses that show that this would create a boom for edu- entrepreneurs.

No this is directed at Education Week.

From the article cited above:

Janice Poda, the director of the CCSSO’S Strategic Initiative for the Education Workforce, said the task force concluded that reforms to certification are necessary because licensing no longer signals quality.

“The public does not have a lot of faith in licensure meaning that a teacher is qualified or effective. It’s lost its ability to communicate that a person is ready for the classroom,” she said. “We will raise the import of what it means. … It should be more than a completion of a set of courses.”

Why does Education Week publish this crap?  Or, why does Education Week refuse to engage in journalism? Or does Education Week have any journalistic integrity?  And why do corporate education reformers get to say what ever the hell they want in the pages of Education Week?

Let’s be honest (a policy @the chalk face).  Janice Poda (director of the CCSSO’S Strategic Initiative for the Education Workforce) can say anything she wants.  However, Education Week and Mr. Sawchuk should have the integrity to immediately inform readers that there isn’t any research in peer-reviewed journals that substantiates anything that Ms. Poda asserts above.

Also, the “failed teacher certification crappy schools of education and that’s the reason we have crappy teachers and crappy schools” narrative on which this article is based should be revealed for what it really is —just another part of the contrived rhetoric of the corporate education reformers.

Education Week.  Please inform readers that NCTQ and CCSSO’s vision of teacher preparation is based on an ideology—one that believes in free market mentality over findings based in rigorous peer-reviewed research.

Geez! Every day it gets harder and harder to know your enemy.

Follow Timothy D. Slekar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/slekar

About these ads


  1. All I can say is education week has degraded its quality over the time, and I would brace myself if it’s just because of money reasons.

  2. Stephen Sawchuk says:

    I don’t agree with you that there is consensus about just who/what comprises “corporate ed reformers with an agenda,” and I think the issues about research and peer review are more complex than you make out here. Again, happy to engage in a productive dialogue, but when you start with the personal attacks about EW being biased etc., that’s when I stop listening.

    • There is nothing “personal” going on here and just because you “don’t agree” and you “think issues about peer review are more complex” doesn’t make it so. In fact, by you admitting that you think there is debate concerning peer evaluated research and advocacy/think tank propaganda just proves my point–EdWeek is printing stories and crediting think tank propaganda as if it were the same as peer reviewed research. This is why EdWeek’s stories should be considered questionable when it comes to any standards of journalistic integrity. Look. It’s not really your fault. You’re trying to make a living as a writer and EdWeek hired you for your writing skills. I get it. However, when you or any form of media engages in spewing propaganda as if it were the same as or even remotely similar to peer reviewed research it is our job (those with real education credentials and experience) to point it out so that the damage you and EdWeek are causing can be minimized at the very least.

      • Michael Paul Goldenberg says:

        The fact that a fellow like Rick Hess gets a soapbox on EdWeek is disturbing. But enough stories appear regularly that are written as if any position paper that comes from some right-wing think tank is tantamount to unquestionable research does tend to raise some serious questions about the level of objectivity and fair-minded journalism being practiced by EdWeek. Couple that with the credulous puff-pieces about the wonders of Common Core and the flood of miracle seminars, workshops, books, and consultants who are ready to whip your district into apple-pie order for a hefty fee really tells the story. After all, a lot of the same folks advertise on EdWeek. Can’t piss off the folks who pay the bills, can we?

      • Stephen Sawchuk says:

        Tim, this is an honest attempt to respond to your post. I may regret it, given the way you seemed to twist my words around before, but I really hope you’ll give it consideration.

        My point, which I should have fleshed out, is merely that scholarly peer review is not itself a sign of research quality or applicability: witness the number of descriptive, theoretical, or anecdotal studies that are published in peer-reviewed teacher education journals. While interesting, thought-provoking, and often suggestive, the design of some of them limits their applicability.

        I agree that reporters need to be cognizant of, and disclose to the extent possible, biases/connections of think tanks. Frankly, any source of information should be considered and tested this way. My point here is that NCTQ puts out some non-ideological work (in addition to its ratings and such) that can be useful, such as its databases of state certification requirements and collective-bargaining contracts. In my story, Sandi Jacobs was quoted on a factual matter: that there are a variety of state authorities regulating teacher preparation.

        Whether you agree with the CCSSO’s report and its conclusions, policymakers are likely to act on it, and it it does readers no favors to pretend it doesn’t exist. You’re correct on the thin research base, but consider also what the 2005 AERA volume or the 2010 National Research Council have concluded: There is little empirical evidence supporting ANY particular, specific teacher training approach, other than broad agreement that 1) candidate selection, 2) content knowledge/coursework 3) clinical experiences all probably matter. That is a big obstacle for writing about teacher preparation, and I imagine for practicing it as well.

  3. Stephen Sawchuk says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Skelar’s assertion that “corporate education reformers get to say whatever the hell they want” in the pages of Education Week. In fact, earlier in 2012, we published a series of over 13,000 words taking a critical look at advocacy organizations. You can find it here. http://www.edweek.org/ew/collections/education-advocacy/index.html

    • Stephen,

      A piece that takes a “critical look at advocacy organizations” is honorable. However, divorcing those organizations in the context of other articles such as the one I referenced above is the problem. You can’t be critical in vacuum. NCTQ and CCSSO as cited in the article referenced above come across as reputable school policy organizations. They are not and EdWeek should state that they are advocacy groups and not reputable research outlets.


      • Stephen Sawchuk says:

        We should probably continue this conversation in another forum without space limits, perhaps in a phone call. In essence, I think where you and I are stumbling is on the definition of “reputable school policy organizations” and “reputable research outlets.” There is clearly room for discussion and debate here. I’m always happy to hear from readers, so ring me or email me to set up a time. ssawchuk@epe.org

        • Michael Paul Goldenberg says:

          As an interested reader, I hope you keep it here. And my views are very much like TIm’s on this. There are way too many advocacy groups in the Education Deform movement masquerading as research/policy neutrals. They’re not, not by a long shot.

        • I understand the differences here. For me this is really not that complicated. In the article you authored above you cite NCTQ and CCSSO as if the concerns they have are even remotely valid given the research that clearly demonstrates their concerns have no foundation. They are corporate ed reformers with an agenda and EdWeek should state that up front when citing the issues that they “advocate.” Readers assume that EdWeek is presenting unbiased reporting. Nothing can be further from the truth. Also not saying anything about these group’s connections to corporate ed reform is the same as endorsing them. AREA and NCTQ are not remotely similar organizations and when NCTQ has a problem with teacher education EdWeek should state up front that their concerns with teacher education are ideologically driven and not supported by any peer reviewed literature. EdWeek gives them credibility when the reality is they are hacks.

  4. Michael Paul Goldenberg says:

    Best guess on EdWeek: no real principled position on anything. They go where the political influence and $$ tell them they need to go. Like a lot of publishers, by the way.


  1. [...] EdWeek’s so called “news” is nothing more than propaganda for the corporate reformers. I pointed it out before, EdWeek and its reporters either are clueless about the difference between advocacy organizations [...]

  2. [...] so called “news” is nothing more than propaganda for the corporate reformers. I pointed it out before, EdWeek and its reporters either are clueless about the difference between advocacy organizations [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,851 other followers

%d bloggers like this: