Tuesday letters: Let only top students become teachers

March 11, 2014 

I am not officially an educator, but I have been subjected to and interested in public education in three countries, languages and cultures. I have an master’s in engineering and an master of business administration, and I have taught from community college to post-graduate courses.

The current hot topic is teacher evaluation, but it’s not being discussed in a productive way.

We accept almost everyone who has the tuition money and desire to become a teacher. This renders a wide range of capabilities, knowledge and training, resulting in an equally wide range of quality and learning capacity per candidate. Only after students graduate from teaching institutions are they evaluated — after some damage already has been done, and without regard to what our children have been provided.

To me, the procedure is backwards. The Nordic countries discovered a simple truth 40 to 50 years ago, with excellent results: Only excellent teachers can develop excellent students. How to translate this to practice? Accept only the cream of the applicants, typically 5 percent to 15 percent, to enter training institutes.

But don’t let the selection stop there. Follow each student’s progress or necessity for weeding out. After a bachelor’s degree, insist on an extra year to get a master’s in the student’s chosen field, leading to a professional career and standing. Pay them well, typically $50,000 to $100,000 a year, since they provide the most important ingredient in a child’s development and growth. Result: world-renown success.

Auvo Kemppinen

Bonneau

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service