Education Letter to the Editor

Master’s Degrees Create Master Teachers, Specialists

September 17, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In “The National Board: Challenged by Success?” (Aug. 15, 2007), you report that some observers believe that “links between master’s degrees and teacher effectiveness may once have existed but for the most part no longer do.”

A master’s degree in education should be the minimum standard for career educators, especially those in fields such as special education where a high degree of professional knowledge is crucial. Just the process of getting into graduate school eliminates the airheads who went to college simply to collect a spouse.

You also write of this degree work that “few who take courses flunk.” But poor-quality coursework was not my experience when I earned my master’s in severe disabilities in 1983, and it is certainly not my experience now, as I work on my doctorate. Graduate students are not successful because their courses are easy, but because they are:

• Likely to be more mature and serious than the average undergraduate. (Most of my fellow students have spouses, children, or even grandchildren.)

• Likely to be working as educators while in school.

• In school voluntarily, not to please their parents.

• Taking motivating, relevant courses taught by experts in the field.

• Driven to succeed, with high expectations of themselves. (Most graduate students have a choice of two grades to stay in school: an A or a B. One C often can put them on academic probation.)

Earning certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and earning a graduate degree have different objectives, but the same goal: the pursuit of excellence. National-board certification is won by demonstrating what a teacher knows; greater knowledge of the field is a byproduct of the process. With a graduate degree, a teacher enhances his or her knowledge, adds a certification, and/or develops an educational specialty that cannot be accomplished in an undergraduate program.

Both pursuits create master teachers. One is as good as the other, and it is probably best to get both.

Rhonda Browning

Gonzales, La.


Student Well-Being Webinar After-School Learning Top Priority: Academics or Fun?
Join our expert panel to discuss how after-school programs and schools can work together to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.
Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: May 3, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 26, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 29, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Quiz Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Trending Education News
How well do you know the trending news in education? Test your knowledge by taking our quiz.