I talk to Professor Ken Zeichner about how the push to deregulate teacher preparation fits into our privatized, for-profit times…
JenniferBerkshire: You’ve been leading a one-man crusade to expose what you say are false claims being made by the Relay Graduate School of Education and other startup teacher training programs. How’s it going?
Ken Zeichner: Not well. Although the state of Pennsylvania recently denied Relay’s application to offer a graduate degree upon completion of its program in the state on the grounds that it isn’t actually a graduate school, Relay has just signed a contract with the Philadelphia schools to run a teacher residency in Philly with the goal of increasing teacher diversity in the city. The issue of diversifying the teaching force is extremely important, but if you’re going to place your resources somewhere in order to reach this goal, the research suggests that you would invest in grow-your-own programs,high-quality teacher residency programs (which Relay is not), induction and mentoring, and improving working conditions and access to high quality professional learning opportunities in the high-poverty schools in which many teachers of color work. You wouldn’t bring in a program like Relay that can provide no evidence at all that their teachers stay, even though they’ve been in existence since 2007. What good is it if you bring in teachers but aren’t able to retain them?
Berkshire: You wrote a paper called Apocryphal Claims, Illusory Evidence, charging that the case for the rapid expansion of independent teacher education programs like Relay and Match in Boston has ideology behind it but not actual evidence. Elaborate, sir.
Zeichner: I looked at five of the most visible independent programs not associated with colleges and universities and I tried to find the evidence for the claims that they and their supporters make about how great they are. There is absolutely no credible evidence that programs like Relay have accomplished even the goals they say they’ve accomplished. In the paper and in the testimony I’ve been providing to states where Relay is seeking to expand, I’ve tried to force them to defend their claims, which they haven’t been able to do. When Relay was asked in California to provide evidence about the claims they keep making, that their graduates have to demonstrate Private Practice – Have You Heard:
In episode #15, Have You Heard talks to tax policy expert Carl Davis about the scam known as tax credit scholarships or *neo vouchers*…
In this episode of Have You Heard, we explore the the complex, controversial craze that’s sweeping the land: tax credit scholarships. These *neo-vouchers* send taxpayer dollars to private religious schools, while allowing wealthy donors and corporations to make money in the process. If it sounds rotten, that’s because it is, says tax policy expert Carl Davis. As Davis explains, tax credit scholarships have more in common with money laundering than with traditional charitable giving. And he instructs listeners on what to keep an eye on when one of these schemes pop up in your state. The full transcript of our interview is available here.