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John O. Harney, Executive Editor, Connection
Who Will Teach? New England Board of Higher Education’s Connection Magazine Explores Teacher Shortage
BOSTON – Facing a shortage of qualified teachers, New England school districts are staffing classrooms with teachers who lack certification and degrees in their fields, according to articles in the Fall 2001 issue of CONNECTION: NEW ENGLAND’S JOURNAL OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
“More than one-quarter of all secondary school teachers hired in Massachusetts last year lacked certification in their primary teaching area,” Northeastern University President Richard Freeland writes in Connection. “The problem was particularly acute among special education, foreign language and math and science teachers.”
The Fall 2001 Connection focuses on teacher preparation, high-stakes testing and other aspects of “P-16”-the name given to the range of issues surrounding integration of three historically disconnected education systems: preschool, K-12 and higher education.
Connection is the quarterly journal of the nonprofit New England Board of Higher Education (nebhe)-and America’s only regional journal on higher education and the economy.
Fall 2001 Connection articles also explore teaching white students black history and the media’s treatment of academics accused of intellectual dishonesty, including most recently Mount Holyoke College historian Joseph Ellis.
Following is a summary of articles in the Fall 2001 issue of Connection:
There is No Shortage of Teachers, Just Skilled Teachers — The current teacher skills deficit will worsen over the next five to seven years, according to a study by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies. “The much-discussed teacher shortage is not a classic labor shortage in which too many jobs chase too few qualified individuals,” writes Northeastern President Richard M. Freeland. “Rather, our predicament is the result of a recruitment and compensation system designed decades ago which has not kept pace with the contemporary economy.”
Who Will Teach? Data Files — Connection features the latest data on teacher shortages, teacher salaries and technology in the classroom.
Gathering Faculties — On most university campuses, a seemingly impenetrable wall divides education professors, with expertise in teaching, from arts and sciences professors, with expertise in specific content areas such as math, English, or science. Rhode Island Associate Commissioner for Academic Affairs Nancy Carriuolo explains how education and arts and science professors can work together to prepare good teachers who know their subjects.
Who Will Prepare Tomorrow’s Quality Teachers? Much has been said about the need to train and hire 2.2 million new classroom teachers over the next decade. Lesley University President Margaret McKenna warns that the for-profit companies, fast-track programs and on-line modules sprouting up to rapidly produce new teachers may compromise quality.
North Stars The challenge of recruiting teachers in especially tough in rural areas. Plymouth State College Associate Vice President Dennise M. Bartelo explains how a new apprenticeship and mentoring program aims to attract quality teachers to New Hampshire’s hardscrabble North Country.
Choosing to Be a Good Teacher When Debby Saintil stepped into her first teaching job in the Boston Public Schools, she quickly realized that her training had not prepared her for the classroom. “I was just a well-intentioned, mediocre teacher,” writes Saintil, now a teacher at Boston’s Roxbury Preparatory Charter School and Rockefeller Brothers Fund fellow. “But good teachers often start out that way. They need professional development to hone their craft.” Among other things, Saintil calls on school districts to provide elementary and secondary teachers with travel grants, sabbaticals and budgets to purchase books and attend conferences just as universities do.
Big School on Campus As part of a multimillion-dollar revitalization effort to clean up Worcester’s deteriorating Main South neighborhood, Clark University and partners opened the University Park Campus School in 1997 with Clark professors as teachers, Clark students as student teachers and mentors, and a promise to pupils that if they do well, Clark will admit them and cover tuition. Philippa Mulford of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation explains why “It has become the norm for these Worcester students see themselves working towards a very important goal-going to college.”
“No Good Deed” The controversial partnership between Boston University and the Chelsea Public Schools attracted much media attention following its inception in 1989, most of it negative. Former Chelsea Superintendent turned BU Associate Dean of Education Douglas Sears explains how BU endured the bad press, implemented new financial controls, helped build seven new schools, boosted test scores and added programs in art and music.
High-Stakes Sandwich “Policymakers fall into a dangerous trap if they insist that achieving the coveted ‘alignment’ of standards between schools and colleges depends on expanding the use of high-stakes tests,” writes journalist and author Peter Sacks. Noting that two-dozen states require or soon will require students to pass a standardized test to earn a high school diploma, Sacks writes: “One shudders to consider the pressure-cooker atmosphere that will consume schools in states that make those same tests a gatekeeper to higher education. Institutional urges to teach to such tests-and to abandon music, art and the in-depth study of history, science and humanities-will further degrade public schooling into a mean and nasty experience for many children.”
Teaching White Students Black History Vermont educators Leon F. Burrell and Robert L. Walsh explain the common racial misunderstandings that led them to co-author The Other America: The African-American Experience as a resource for students. “An understanding of African-American history is central to any effort to eliminate racism,” observe Burrell and Walsh. “This is particularly true in New England where most schools are predominantly white, and myths and stereotypes cannot be countered by exposure to a diverse community.”
Brain Gain With its lack of state income and sales taxes, New Hampshire has been able to attract college-educated workers and build a high-tech economy without having to invest heavily in higher education. University of New Hampshire economist Ross Gittell, public policy consultant Brian Gottlob, and University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Stephen Reno explain why the “free ride” may be over.
The Academy’s Fallen Idols Joseph Ellis’s class on The Vietnam War and American Culture was one of Mount Holyoke College’s most popular until the Boston Globe revealed that the historian’s vivid depictions of personal experiences in Vietnam were lies; the closest he had come to fighting in Vietnam was a history class at West Point. Connection explores some hard truths about the relationship between the media and academics in an age of edutainment.
An Exclusive Interview with the Boston Globe’s Walter V. Robinson The Boston Globe reporter who broke the Joseph Ellis story talks candidly about the Ellis story, Mount Holyoke College’s reaction to it and the general state of the relationship between the media and higher education.
College PR Is about People, Not Technology When the mercury approached 100 F this past August, the University of New Hampshire news office zapped education reporters around the region a hot story: “UNH Exercise Experts Offer Advice on How to Avoid Heat Illness.” In the old days, the heat wave might have been over by the time the story arrived in newsrooms. But email and other technologies have changed all that. Yet, with all the new technologies, PR is still a people business, according to education PR expert Soterios C. Zoulas.
New England/Old England How do New England’s colleges compare with their ancestors in Europe? A dozen Johnson and Wales University graduate doctoral students recently criss-crossed England to find out. Their professor, Cynthia V. L. Ward, describes what they saw.
Book Reviews Education Consultant, Carolyn Thornberry, reviews A Bend in the River: Voices from a Community College. Janice S. Green, a senior associate at the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, reviews Achieving Against the Odds: How Academics become Teachers of Diverse Students.
The New England Board of Higher Education (nebhe) is a nonprofit, congressionally authorized interstate agency whose mission is to foster cooperation and the efficient use of resources among New England’s approximately 270 colleges and universities. nebhe programs are principally focused on the relationship between New England higher education and regional economic development. nebhe operates a variety of programs for New England students, including the tuition-saving Regional Student Program, and advances regional discussion of critical issues through the quarterly journal, CONNECTION: NEW ENGLAND’S JOURNAL OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
To subscribe to Connection, send a check for $20 payable to the New England Board of Higher Education, 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111, call 617.357.9620 or visit CONNECTION on the World Wide Web at http://www.nebhe2.org.