The Union Recorder


June 29, 2013

COLUMN: If going the wrong direction, the last thing we need is to get there faster

MILLEDGEVILLE — U.S. News and World Report recently released rankings for teacher preparation programs as determined by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not really read the report in its entirety or study exactly how the rankings were determined. Research is not really my thing.

I did, however, notice that the various college programs across the country were labeled using a star ranking system. I guess that approach would be something akin to the way users of the Internet rank various products with stars — the more stars meaning higher satisfaction. How scientific!

That being the case, a school that received three-and-a-half stars would not be as good as a school that received four stars. A two-star school would be the pits. One would hope that a one star school would probably be on the verge of closure. I don’t r remember seeing a five-star school, but I remind you that I really didn’t look that carefully.

I have been thinking about this for a long time, and I really think I have the answer to the teacher preparation program quality woes in this country.  I found it a number of years ago in the Navy.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, I had the opportunity as a young high school principal to attend a Navy Educator Orientation Visit at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville.  The purpose of the visit was to introduce high school principals and counselors to opportunities available to high school graduates through the Navy.

If I remember correctly, at the time NAS, Jacksonville was a training center for FA-18 fighter pilots. On one particular day, I got to meet with a young top gun pilot. When I say young, I think this guy was probably about 30 years old.

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