Michigan Education Report invites readers to comment on selected articles by visiting our forum page. Here are some comments we received in response to our Winter 2007 issue.
An article about union influence on local school board elections brought this response ...
"It has been quite obvious in our community who pays for school board campaigns. The ‘chosen ones’ who will maintain the employee status quo are supported in so many ways it is impossible to track …Much of the hard monetary support can be tracked to MEA PACs … and local employee union PACs, but so much of the soft support is in the form of phone banks, mailers, poll workers, materials, facilites, supplies... right down to the donuts and coffee for the out of town union personnel ..."
Two guest columnists presented opposing viewpoints on this question: "Do teacher preparation programs spend too much time on methods and too little on content?" Their commentary generated a number of responses, including these ...
"I think teachers need both an excellent understanding of content, as well as effective methodology. Our best teachers have both. But I doubt if teacher prep got them to this point of excellence. I think these folks tend to be "naturals." I do think improved teacher prep could get more teachers in this effective "zone," however. We need more specialized content classes (content math classes distinct for elementary vs. secondary, for example). We also need methodology classes that are specific to the content area."
"There are too many active teachers and too many student teachers who just don’t have the teaching gene. ... That’s not a matter of teaching them how to teach or teaching them the content. ... it’s a matter of them not having the innate skills and desire to teach."
"I tend to support alternative pathways to teacher certification. Rock-solid content knowledge plus some meaningful practical work on the ground is just as capable of producing a good teacher as all the theory in the world."
In his review of a new environmental curriculum, Dr. Charles Bacon, Ph.D., a professor of physics and chemistry at Ferris State University, said he found the material lacking balance. His review brought these responses ...
“I recommend that Dr. Bacon write an Op Ed based on his analysis and share it with all major newspapers in Michigan as well as with our two Michigan senators and all representatives in Washington. It is insanity to believe that anything good and meaningful will emerge in the environmental debate by propagandizing with a “green curriculum” within our public school system ...”
“I think teachers should always stress that science and scientists question everything, but when and where do we draw the line in including minority scientific opinion? Do we say that some scientist think the Earth is 6,000 years old when teaching geology?”