Published Online:

Goodlad Gets $1.25 Million To Help Institute Reforms

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Washington--The Exxon Education Foundation last week presented the educational researcher John I. Goodlad with a five-year, $1.25-million grant to help schools, colleges, and universities reform teacher-education programs along the lines suggested in his new book, Teachers for Our Nation's Schools.

The grant was announced at a two-day forum here, attended by about 70 leaders in education, policymaking, and philanthropy, to discuss the book's findings and recommendations.

In addition to the grant from Exxon, which has contributed a total of more than $2.37 million toward Mr. Goodlad's work since 1984, the Southwestern Bell Foundation is underwriting a new, related project.

The Agenda for Teacher Education in a Democracy project brings together Mr. Goodlad's Center for Educational Renewal at the University of Washington, the Education Commission of the States, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education in an effort to involve states in improving the education of teachers.

Wyoming has been selected as the first pilot state for the program. Five more states will be chosen by June. Each will each receive $25,000 to begin carrying out Mr. Goodlad's recommendations.

In addition, 25 states will each receive $5,000 grants to stimulate dialogue about existing problems with teacher education and how they should be addressed. The states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.

Mr. Goodlad and his colleagues also plan to invite proposals from several universities and local schools willing to commit to restructuring teacher education. The Exxon grant will enable the Center for Educational Renewal to provide technical assistance to the partnerships.

The work will begin with the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of Wyoming in Laramie. By 1995, Mr. Goodlad said, he hopes to have between 30 and 50 such pilot sites, supported by local foundations, engaged in trying to fundamentally reconstruct teacher education.

It will take at least seven years, he predicted, before a school of education that embarks on reform will be able to prepare teachers who are "stewards of their schools."

"These sites aren't going to have an easy time of it," Mr. Goodlad told the forum participants. "There are deep, deep prejudices between the college of arts and sciences and the school of education. There are terrible walls between the universities and the schools, and these have to be broken down."

In his book, Mr. Goodlad documents what he calls the "second-hand Rose" status of teacher education and advocates that colleges and universities create "centers of pedagogy," with faculty members drawn from education and the arts and sciences, dedicated solely to the preparation of teachers. He also presents 19 conditions that he believes are essential in a high-quality preparation program. (See Education Week, Oct. 24, 1990.)

Some participants at the forum compared Mr. Goodlad's book to the work of Abraham Flexner, the educator whose 1910 report on the condition of medical colleges led to the creation of the modern method of medical education.

"This is education's Flexner report, there's no question about it," said Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers. But he added that the book does not address what he considers to be a critical problem: the fact that schools of education must draw their students from the nation's poorly educated pool of students.

"The question we've got to ask ourselves is, is it possible to squeeze 2.5 million people out of a nonexistent pool" of high achievers, Mr. Shanker added. "What we need is an interim game plan. If we were producing the number of graduates that Germany is who are literate and numerate, this is something that we could put in place tomorrow."

"I hope that this book does for teacher education what A Nation at Risk did for K-12 education," said Arthur E. Wise, president of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, "and that is to galvanize public interest in the quality of the enterprise."

Several participants said they especially welcomed the fact that Mr. Goodlad's arguments are based on moral grounds.

"I love his passion and sense of outrage, which I share as well," said Kati Haycock, vice president of the Children's Defense Fund.

Marsha Levine, co-director of the American Federation of Teachers'el10lCenter for Restructuring, said the book "has moved the conversation forward toward what it is you want a teacher to be"--away from the emphasis on achieving improvement through regulations.

Gov. Michael N. Castle of Delaware called the book's findings "very much on target."

"I find that a lot of governors should react favorably toward it," he said.

The question of what would motivate the university presidents and other top officials whose support would be critical to the creation of a center of pedagogy--and who have to date virtually ignored teacher education--arose several times.

Mr. Goodlad responded that the current concern over the quality of teaching is not limited to precollegiate education, adding that universities could benefit from centers of pedagogy by having their teaching assistants trained in them.

But, he conceded, until school districts demonstrate an unwillingness to hire poorly prepared teachers or those who have been through "alternate route" programs, it will be difficult to persuade schools of education to radically change their practices.

"That's one of the problems that worries me the most," Mr. Goodlad said. "We don't have a good answer to that."

Several participants said they would have liked the book to go into more detail on what kinds of incentives could be created to bring about the changes advocated by Mr. Goodlad.

"I'm not as optimistic as I think many people are if we don't have rewards and incentives, if we don't have funding, and if we don't develop the infrastructure" of teacher education, said Gary D. Fenstermacher, dean of the college of education at the Univerel10lsity of Arizona.

'Right Reform Agenda'

Russell Edgerton, president of the American Association for Higher Education, noted that the book makes an "organizational recommendation'' that is "the right reform agenda, given the interest in this country in this issue."

But he added that organizational change would not be sufficient without substantial thought being given to how each subject is taught and to how students and teachers interact.

"It can't go very far before the other agendas get put into place," Mr. Edgerton said. "I don't think that wholesale people around the country can get behind a center of pedagogy, because I'm not sure in those 1,300 schools we have the ideas to drive it."

"Whether reform needs to go through a device called a center of pedagogy, I think is arguable," agreed Frank Murray, dean of the college of education at the University of Delaware. But he expressed confidence that arts and sciences and education faculty members will be able to work together to improve teacher-education programs.

"When you get the subject onto intellectual matters, it works very well," he added.

Ronn Robinson, the assistant for education to Gov. Booth Gardner of Washington, noted that Mr. Goodlad and his researchers had only visited institutions in six states.

"I'd be very shocked if anybody sits down and says, 'We're going to do these 19 things,"' he said. "I don't look at them like the Ten Commandments."

Four booklets describing what state leaders, college and university leaders, business leaders, and school leaders can do to help change teacher education as suggested by Mr. Goodlad are available for $5 each, prepaid, from aacte Publications, One Dupont Circle, Suite 610, Washington, D.C. 20036-2412.

Web Only

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented