A month-long investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found the state has spent millions on teacher quality with marginal results.
Among the findings of the report, which appears in the Sunday AJC today:
— The state hasn’t figured out a way to identify and remove ineffective teachers. In 2011, only 628 of the state’s 114,248 received received unsatisfactory job evaluations.
— Georgia’s brightest students don’t become teachers. Education majors score about 50 points lower than the national average on the SAT, according to national data. Education majors at Valdosta State averaged 988 on the math and verbal SAT, while the college’s accounting majors posted 1,041, according to 2010 data.
— Teachers need continual training, but in 2003, the state cut funding earmarked for professional development by one-third and has yet to restore it.
— The 21 University System of Georgia colleges offering undergraduate teaching programs produce teachers of varying quality, according to passage rates on the GACE II teacher certification test.
Four colleges — University of Georgia, Georgia College & State University, Dalton State and Macon State colleges — saw 99 percent of graduates pass, according to 2009 scores, the most recent data available. Clayton State and Georgia Southwestern had 86 percent pass. The Fort Valley State University program was so weak — nearly two-thirds of the school’s prospective teachers routinely failed certification tests — that it lost its accreditation in 2005. (It regained it in May.)
An eighth-grade math teacher who graduated with a master’s degree in teaching from Georgia State in 2010 told the AJC that she wishes she had had more classroom management: “Classroom management is easy when you have a room full of students that understand the impact of poor behavior on their academics. However, this is usually not the case, and it would have been nice to have had an education course that provided me with the tools to help me become the best teacher possible for those students.”
The AJC is making this occasional series on teacher quality available only to subscribers. You can read the full article by picking up a copy of Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution or logging on to the paper’s iPad app. Here is a link to the AJC digital options, including an E-subscription, which gives you the actual paper online.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog