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As an occasional reader of your publication and one who is not a teacher or educational professional, I have a few questions after having read through Hugh B. Price's "Teacher Professional Development: It's About Time'' (Commentary, May 12, 1993).

  • Why are not young graduates of teaching institutions already learning all the stuff that Mr. Price says current teachers do not know?
  • Don't our teaching institutions already teach new teachers about "child-development theory, curriculum content and design, instructional and assessment strategies for instilling higher-order competencies, school culture and shared decisionmaking, and so forth''?
  • While conceding that new findings in pedagogy may be helpful, is the present dismal performance of American schools attributable to the fact that teachers do not know them? Indeed, is a knowledge of these pedagogical insights necessary to teach elementary school students how to read, write, figure, and find France on a map?
  • Instead of following Mr. Price's suggestion of a four-day class week, why not, instead, ask teachers to work eight hours a day? When not in classes, they can engage in collegial communication and do all the things they say they do at home.
  • Finally, did not teachers learn that education is a continuing process, one that takes place even when one is away from the desk or office or classroom? Why, in short, must teachers be paid to do what the rest of us do on our own time?

Lawrence Ragan
Chicago, Ill.

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