DR. SUE RESPONDS TO REGISTER'S FAILED TEACHER LEADERSHIP ARTICLE

11-13-17

Greetings Des Moines Register Editorial Board, Register Reporter Mackenzie Ryan and  all—

Mackenzie’s 450 word article in the 11-8-17 Register painted as rosy a picture as possible of the failed, $157 million-a-year, state-funded Teacher Leadership program, that was rolled out in 2014-2015!   The wasted $157 million annual funding should be returned to taxpayers as tax relief!!  And governor Reynolds ought to know that!  Continued funding of the failed program serves as further evidence Iowa educators and their ilk are stuck on stupid!!

Findings that Iowa’s Teacher Leadership program is a failure at improving student achievement echoes results in some other states.  Notice that the focus is on teacher retention, in the false belief the longer a teacher practices the profession the better they get.  THE TRUTH is that the length of time a teacher teaches is unrelated to the methods the teacher uses – as countries out-educating us and an increasing number of states already know.  According to the National Council for Teacher Quality, an assessment of Iowa’s teacher training programs finds them using the wrong materials for elementary reading, elementary classroom content, and for elementary math (except two programs connected to engineering schools) – thus producing less proficient students moving on to high school.

The ability to effectively remediate is dependent on the use of effective teaching methods, but since Iowa’s teacher training programs are failures, teachers lack knowledge of these.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) issued its assessment of elementary teacher training programs in December 2016 https://www.nctq.org/dmsStage/UE_2016_Landscape_653385_656245 , and of high school teacher training programs in May 2017 https://www.nctq.org/dmsStage/Landscapes_-_2017_UG_Secondary , indicating Iowa tends to continue using the wrong methods and the state has failed in its leadership role to properly set the standards.  https://www.nctq.org/statePolicy/2015/statePolicyFindings.do?stateId=13

Iowa’s continued use of low standards is another indicator of the lack of knowledge of effective teaching methods.

Iowa educators have been lying to the taxpaying public for years in the form of falsely blaming students for poor results – when they SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEVELOPING MORE EFFECTIVE TEACHING METHODS.   Iowa educators continue to lie by falsely blaming students (poor, non-English-speaking, and Special Ed) for achievement gaps when THE TRUTH IS THAT EFFECTIVE TEACHERS KNOW HOW TO EFFECTIVELY TEACH AND EFFECTIVELY REMEDIATE THESE STUDENTS.  The state ESSA plan clearly shows the lack of skills to close one of the widest achievement gaps in the country – it proposes continued use of low standards (that Iowa education has used for decades) in lieu of effectively remediating these students.

With the Supreme Court now on track with the legal position that ineffective teaching denies students their civil right to access education, Iowa is ripe for a class action law suit that would force Iowa educators to face up to the truth: their decades of lying to avoid accountability has come to an end.

The Register article is a feeble attempt to aid and abet educators with their lying by only telling a partial truth that even national reports have been saying for some time now (but the Register has completely failed to report):  Iowa teachers are not trained in effective teaching methods and the state has completely failed at requiring them to do so. 

Stay tuned for a report on how and why Iowa got into such a mess.

Is this Heaven?  NO!!  It’s Iowa.

Sue Atkinson, PhD

P. O. Box 301

Baxter IA 50028

641-227-3786

Sincerely,

Iowalive   A growing network of volunteer citizens and professionals for improving Iowa