Jill Biden (sorry, Dr. Jill Biden) is just the tip of a giant wasteful iceberg. Schools afloat with MAs and even PhDs on the faculty can’t seem to manage to convey even the most basic skills to their students.
Here’s a breakdown at the most basic level where teachers with MAs can’t teach children to read.
JoLynn Aldinger has taught kindergarten through 2nd grade for 20 years. But for much of that time, she hasn’t felt adequately prepared to teach reading.
She ended up taking the job. “I used whatever basal reader they had,” Aldinger said. “I just basically followed that. It was what I now know was balanced literacy. I kept chugging along using the district-provided curriculum, trying to find my way.”
Aldinger said she assumed that when she returned to school to earn her master’s degree in elementary reading and writing, she’d develop the mastery she felt was missing. It didn’t happen. She recalls learning a spelling program while earning her degree that, she said, had many “holes” in it.
“I never learned about the syllable types,” she said. “I didn’t get an understanding of all the phonics rules.”
The grim joke here is that she had an MA in elementary reading and writing, but didn’t have the basic skill set of the old one-room schoolhouse or mothers from time immemorial.
Betty Jane Mitchell, a teacher at South Hancock Elementary in Hawesville, Ky., had a similar experience. Despite earning a teaching certificate and a master’s degree in education, she took only one course in reading instruction.
Mitchell describes the literacy instruction she was expected to teach at the beginning of her decade-long career as leaning toward the balanced approach, with students encouraged to use context to figure out words and read for meaning.
“It was a hodgepodge of methods, Mitchell said. “I did my best for three or four years, then stopped teaching reading for a few years because I didn’t feel confident.”
Schools and taxpayers have been wasting a ton of money on the notion that more degrees make for better teachers. It quite clearly does not. Academic degrees very loosely overlap with teaching skills, if at all.
Worse still, the entire education industrial complex overcomplicates simple things, building jargons, specialized abstractions, and all sorts of cultish theories around what should be fairly simple. Many teachers are unable to teach students on a human level, all they know is the theory, not the actual education.
Fixing our educational system begins with getting rid of incentives for degrees. They are at best useless and at worst turn education into a hamster wheel based around fashionable theories (many of them leftist ones) rather than results. The education industrial complex pushes its theories and when they fail, claims that it’s because students and teachers are being too stressed, and that the answer is to get rid of testing.
When teachers with MAs can’t figure out how to teach children to read, that’s a devastating indictment of a failed system. If we want more kids reading, we need fewer MAs.