September 3, 1997

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Vol. 17, Issue 01
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Reading experts and policymakers appreciate that Mr. Clinton has highlighted the problem that almost 40 percent of American children are not learning to read at the basic level, as identified by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But most educators agree that his two proposed interventions--volunteer tutoring and parental training--do not address the central issue of proper classroom instruction and the related issue of teacher preparation and training.
Given the expense and time required to follow due process to fire incompetent teachers, a more stringent procedure for acquiring tenure would seem to be warranted.
Every teacher education program in every college and university should create a course called "Other," where the syllabus would examine the axioms of what all the present programs forget to tell candidates. These are what every new teacher learns in that first tedious and traumatic year where, in the best of circumstances, the excitement, engagement, passion, and challenge of learning the traditions of teaching unfold.
September is a new beginning, a time for fresh starts. Consider, then, a resolution that you and your colleagues might make for this school year: From now on, we will stop referring to what students do in school as "work".
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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