I’ve been doing some work recently on national and regional qualifications frameworks. A big thing, for me, is what I’m calling “horizontal mobility.” I see nearly all around me, and in my own life, people trying moving between careers as much as they’re trying to move up careers. How we frame “qualifications”, in my mind, is deeply flawed and often serve as pointless barriers. In a few months, I’ll be qualified to teach and develop teacher training courses but not qualified to teach in my school system.
Second, I’m increasingly of the belief that problems we see in work performance are related to the systems themselves far more than a lack of specific skills. Does the US have an shortage of engineers or a shortage of engineers willing to work for a low price? Are service sector employees rude because they’re not paid well and their managers are rude to them or because they simply don’t know how to be empathetic? Is there an entrepreneurialism crises because people don’t know how to start businesses or because competing with Wal Mart is impossible and the police would chase most unlicensed, unregistered vendors off the street?
Getting back to teacher education specifically, I found myself mostly agreeing with the claim by Bill Keller in today’s New York Times that teacher training programs in most universities “have treated education programs as ‘cash cows.'” Why?
… they have plenty of applicants willing to pay full tuition, the programs are relatively cheap to run, and they are accountable to no one except accrediting agencies run by, you guessed it, education schools. It’s a contented cartel.