Daniel Buck is right: Schools of education have long suffered from academic mediocrity (“Woke Activism Is Flooding American Classrooms,” Cross Country, Aug. 20). Research demonstrates little if any connection between teacher certification conferred by colleges of education and a teacher’s effect on student academic outcomes.
Yet states maintain teacher-certification requirements. In so doing, they push aspiring teachers into colleges of education that are captive to the Marxist tenets of critical theory, frequently assigning Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” while lecturing about postcolonial theory, queer theory, “QuantCrit” and intersectionality, rather than foundational pedagogical concepts, lesson-plan design and classroom management.
As the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess and I recently found, among the colleges of education that produce the most teachers, an estimated 40% of faculty list diversity as a research interest. Between a quarter and a third of the faculty who study race do so as critical theorists.
Rather than make sure graduates are well-grounded in teaching methods, colleges of education mold social-justice warriors, sending them into K-12 schools where they’ll be greeted by a chief diversity officer.
States should end teacher-certification requirements and allow professionals with content-matter expertise to put their skills to work in the classroom. Gov. Ron DeSantis recently began allowing veterans and active service members to hold temporary teaching certificates. More states should follow Florida’s lead. Ending licensure requirements would address purported teacher shortages, with the added benefit of weakening the power of ineffective and woke colleges of education.
This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal on 08/24/2022