Industry Outlook-Myths


Certain widely-shared myths and lies about education are destructive for all of us as educators, and destructive for our educational institutions. The first three myths are extracted from 50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education, a new book by David Berliner and Gene Glass, two of the country’s most highly respected educational researchers.

Source: Mark Phillips, Teacher and Educational Journalist, Edutopia

Myth #1: Teachers Are the Most Important Influence on a Child’s Education

Of course teachers are extremely important. Good teachers make a significant difference in achievement. But research indicates that less than 30 percent of a student’s academic success is attributable to schools and teachers. The most significant variable is socioeconomic status, followed by the neighborhood, the psychological quality of the home environment, and the support of physical health provided. There are others, but the bottom line is that teachers have far less power to improve student achievement than do varied outside factors.

Myth #2: A Successful Program Works Everywhere

There is significant evidence against the idea that a program successful in one school or district should be imported elsewhere and expected to work well. Context is the key variable. Programs must be related to the makeup of the school district and/or the specific school. Approaches to education that are marketed for nationwide use may be excellent yet totally inappropriate for some districts. A program has to fit the specific needs of the schools and classrooms in the district, and a careful needs assessment coupled with a thorough examination should determine whether to adopt a program, not the success of the program elsewhere.

Myth #3: Merit Pay for Teachers Improves Student Performance

The full argument is that merit pay is a good way to increase teacher performance, because teachers should be evaluated on the basis of student performance, and rewarding or punishing schools for student performance will improve our nation’s schools. However, evidence suggests that competition between teachers is counterproductive and interferes with collaboration. Measuring teacher effectiveness is very difficult, and no simple measures effectively do this. There is no evidence that merit pay correlates with improved student achievement, but there is strong evidence that basing teacher salaries on student performance is counterproductive and ethically wrong — it frequently punishes teachers and schools for socioeconomic factors over which they have no control.
Source: Meghan Werft is an Editorial Coordinator at Global Citizen. After studying International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound she hopped coasts to New York. She is a firm believer that education and awareness on global issues has the power to create a more sustainable, equal world where poverty does not exist.

Myth #4: Teachers DON’T work during the summer

If you want to become a teacher because you want summers off, then teaching might not be the right career for you. This is one of the biggest myths about teachers.

Many teachers spend their summers teaching summer school, running summer programs, or working other jobs to account for the fact that they are underpaid. Additionally, summer is often the only time for teachers to participate in teacher training and professional development programs and to plan lessons for the entire school year.

This is even truer in poorer countries where teachers have low incomes and work multiple jobs during the summer or even throughout the year.

Myth #5: Teachers are done working at 3PM

Teachers don’t even have to work 9AM to 5PM, they only work until 3PM and have afternoons and evenings free. Wrong.

Teachers work well past 3PM or the end of the school day. There is often little time during the school day to plan lessons, review papers, and grade tests. This means that many teachers spend hours after each school day working on tasks that are part of the job. In the UK teachers spend an average of 23 percent of their work hours doing work outside the classroom.

Globally, teachers spend an average of 17.5 hours per week teaching classes. Salaries for teachers often account for just the hours spent teaching, but they should include the extra time that teachers spend after the final bell rings.

Disclaimer–this varies by country too. Teachers in the US average 32 hours per week while teachers in Greece average about 10 hours per week.

Source: Some myths and facts about the Praxis Series provided by our friends at Educational Testing Services

Myth #6: There is one test, called Praxis, which is used for all teacher licensure.

The Praxis Series comprises more than 140 different tests in more than 70 different subject areas.

Myth #7: The content in The Praxis Series tests does not reflect the subject area knowledge that is needed for effective teaching.

More than 90 percent of the tests in The Praxis Series measure subject area knowledge.

Myth #8: Passing scores for the Praxis tests, set by ETS, are not high enough.

ETS does not set the passing scores for any of the Praxis tests. Each state sets its own scores.