Monday, January 14, 2008

Failure to Add (Anything to the Debate) or Has Jay Greene Jumped the Shark?

Another swipe at education schools. Jay Greene and Catherine Shock tell us that ed schools supposedly teach twice as many diversity courses than math courses. Can one say bad research? Can one say it’s been done? Has Jay Greene jumped the shark?

Simply put, the research is shoddy. As Sherman Dorn has noted, it is more akin to the ACTA’s screed on Ward Churchill rather than proper syllabi analysis (such as Rick Hess’s on educational leadership analysis). (Eduwonkette takes a swipe at the research as well.)

I’ll focus only on the multiculturalism side, as that is the research I know.

The problem is that Greene and Shock fixate on what is listed in the catalog rather than on what is actually taught. In my own research I found that multiculturalism courses were required in just one of five education programs. The requirement of multicultural education courses, moreover, had no correlation to whether a program was NCATE accredited (which is a whole other research question). And I found that “inclusion,” which they subsume under the multiculturalism label, references special education courses, not “social justice.” Greene and Shock thus inflate their numbers, inaccurately swipe at NCATE, and undermine their own argument when they suggest that education schools are nothing but hotbeds of political correctness. They’re the ones doing the right-wing political correctness thing by jumping (too late and too weakly) on the bandwagon.

Now don’t get me wrong. Ed schools have lots of problems. But David Labaree has written about the current iteration of such problems for over a decade. Greene’s work offers us nothing new. It is sad that a scholar like Greene offers nothing more than a poor repetition of David Steiner’s attack dog work from three years ago, which itself was deeply flawed ($).

1 comment:

TeachMoore said...

Those of us over at Teacher Leader Network share your opinions on this so-called research. Wish I'd seen this before I made my own post (TeachMoore), but thanks so much for connecting the dots.