The United States
First, the U.S. has 1,206 schools, colleges and departments of education that trains teachers, and they exist in 78% of all universities and colleges. There is no standard method of how teachers are trained as there are in most of the top 8 countries.
It’s also worth mentioning again that Fair Test.org reports “The U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to rely heavily on multiple-choice tests. Other nations use performance-based assessment to evaluate students on the basis of real work such as essays, projects and activities. Ironically, because these nations do not focus on teaching to multiple-choice and short-answer tests, they score higher on international exams.”
Unlike most countries that rank high on the International PISA test, teacher training in the United States is all over the place from TFA (Teach for America)—that’s probably the worst teacher training program in the country if not the world— with a few weeks of lecture/study and little or no actual experience working with children in addition to little/no follow up support.
Let’s compare TFA to the highest rated teacher training program in the United States: a yearlong residency where teachers work full time in a master teacher’s classroom for one full school year that includes follow up support after they start teaching their own students, and this seems more in line with what most of the eight highest ranked countries train and support teachers.
The AUSL Chicago Teacher Residency is a year-long urban teacher training program in Chicago’s Public Schools. This intensive 12-month, full-time, paid training program combines teacher preparation, certification, and a Master’s degree to give Residents the tools they need to dramatically improve student achievement in Chicago’s Public Schools.
If you haven’t figured it yet what’s missing in the United States, I’ll tell you. The main ingredients that are missing are respect and support. In the United States, teachers have been scapegoated and blamed for just about everything for decades, and teachers get little to no support unless it is from other teachers.
In addition, based on survey responses, 53 percent of (U.S.) public schools need to spend money on repairs, renovations, and modernizations to put the school’s onsite buildings in good overall condition. The total amount needed was estimated to be approximately $197 billion, and the average dollar amount for schools needing to spend money was about $4.5 million per school. – nces.ed.gov
A few last thoughts: The top eight highest ranked countries on the 2012 PISA test have almost 36.5 million people living below the poverty line compared to 46.5 million in the United States. In addition, a January 15, 2013 Stanford Report revealed, “There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.
“Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.”
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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