OPINION | Education crisis affects more than teachers

Butler University administrators spend a lot of time talking about the Pharmacy program and the College of Business—and for good reason.

But the College of Education deserves some attention as well.

Maybe it’s just me—I’ve lived with and am friends with several education majors—but it seems that Butler’s COE does a lot for its students as well.

The COE fights for educational pedagogy in a country and state with reputations for coming down hard on teachers.

The university says that the College of Education has fantastic post-graduation employment rates.

But before education majors ever see their own teaching contract, they have to student teach.

To student teach, they need to be placed in a school.

In light of school takeovers, as well as changes in teacher and school evaluations and licensing, it can become more difficult to place student teachers.

Butler has a good reputation, and its prospective teachers carry themselves well.

Schools, even those facing problems, should take student teachers for their own and the student teachers’ benefit.

Our student teachers bring optimism, strong educational theory and open minds.

Students will soon be part of this world and could contribute to the solution.

In many situations, it seems, politicians see successful schools as the result of hard-working students.

In failing schools, we are almost always reminded of the teachers.

Very rarely—in either case—does anyone mention conditions outside the classroom.

The reality of the situation is a lot more complex than finding someone to blame.

Any real solution has to accept that fact.

Butler, in general, seems to be preparing its education students to fight the good fight while remaining employable.

Many of my friends in the program have a healthy dose of cynicism.

They know they will be asked to work long hours outside the classroom with little chance of recognition.

“Our professors do a good job of preparing us to defend our existence with cross-curriculum work,” said Katie Bolinger, a junior music education major. “They let us know what to expect as far as being held to sometimes ridiculous standards.”

They still retain their passion for the children, too.

“We’re really optimistic,” said Melissa Rangel, a junior secondary education and English literature major. “A lot of focus is on how we can be a force for change.”

But education majors will need more than just passion and pragmatism.

“I can read books about problems in the education system from 30 or 40 years ago, and they completely apply to things now,” said Rangel. “We basically have the same system we had a hundred years ago—and it’s still not working.”

The Indiana school system and our national education policy need a serious overhaul soon.

Otherwise, passionate, pragmatic teachers will be lost in the demanding system of testing.

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