Enlightened ramblings of a minarchist libertarian with Objectivist tendencies

Monday, August 02, 2004

Education Majors

I recently made a comment concerning the quality of students coming out of college as Education Majors over at Dave Shearon. As it turns out, the person that I directed the comment towards, was not an education major. However, that is neither here nor there.

What I wish to discuss here is Dave's response:

As such, he's probably operating just a little on the commonly-accepted wisdom that teachers "come from the lowest quartile of entering SAT scores." Or, as an even older and more well-known meme goes, "those who can't, teach."

His implication is obviously that these things are not true. With a little research, I located this report, from which I was able to construct this table:

Education majors do not fair well

By looking at the table, it is clear to see that the poor scores of Education Majors is not some myth perpetrated by those of us who are anti public education, but rather a fact. Granted, there is inevitably some changing of majors once these students get to college and work to refine what they wish to do with their lives. However, I doubt there is enough realignment in and out of the "Education" major to significantly affect these numbers.

He then follows up with this:

Teachers are smart, educated professionals whose altruism puts them ahead of most... According to a recent College Board study, their writing skills are better than engineers and their math skills are better than lawyers, and they're not far behind when you switch the comparison areas!

First, he says "teachers" rather than "education majors." Since not all teachers are education majors, I am sure that those who are not help raise the average. I was unable to locate the study from which he gathered this information since he cited no source. However, if you take a look at the above table I have created, you can see that those choosing "Engineering" as a major score 43 points higher on the Verbal section of the SAT and 91 points higher on the "Math" section than do those choosing "Education" as a major.

What does all of this tell us? It tells me that I would much rather have schools hire teachers with subject area degrees than Education Majors who are hardly the cream of the crop.


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