After a radical reworking of their education program, the University Of Maryland’s College of Education is producing teachers who don’t know how to teach literacy, or manage a classroom.
Students enrolled in the University of Maryland’s bachelors of Elementary Education program are flooding Maryland public schools, but are not properly prepared to teach literacy, or even manage a classroom effectively. Instead, students are spending their time in “diversity training,” using syllabuses that confuse the instructors as much as the students.
Based off of leaked internal communications at the University of Maryland, we have discovered that several of the new “social Justice,” and “Diversity,” courses were developed and taught by the graduate students with almost little or no guidance by those with more experience in the field.
The plan was to reorganize the different five courses that are existing and convert them into a four-course block that would help “prepare our teacher candidates with the skills and knowledge to teach reading and language arts within the framework of a child’s background of experience, ethnicity, language, and culture,” as per to the initial proposal given in 2013.
The four new courses were supposedly labeled as EDCI 361, 362, 363, and 364, though ever since their creation, they have been listed under an ever-changing banner of titles and course numbers.
John O’ Flahavan from the COE’s Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL), was to lead the impending redesign.
Jennifer Albro, who would eventually be receiving her doctorate from the College of Education later this winter, said that she was among a small team of graduate students who were recruited by O’Flahavan in January 2016 to create syllabi for two of these courses, EDCI 362 and 363. They were to be the parts one and two of a course that was at that particular time called, “Promoting Skilled and Motivated Readers in Elementary Classrooms.”
Despite the proposal in the beginning, for the literacy redesign stated its first cohort would graduate in the spring of 2017, and another document asserted that the new program is now “effective” as of Fall 2015, this was apparently the very first time that these two courses were ever developed, said Albro.
Albro further said that she and her other doctoral fellow students were simultaneously designing and teaching the courses while receiving very little or no instruction from O’Flahavan.
Albro said that she was the only one assigned to the development of EDCI 362, and was told that she would be given a fully prepared syllabus from O’Flahavan for 363 before she started teaching the class in Fall 2016.
Around early August, Albro was then handed the same un-finalized outline that she was given almost eight months earlier.
“So, I planned the class on my own, and tried to make the two courses flow coherently,” she said.
The curriculum, that she was forced to form up for EDCI 363 has since been used by at least one other teacher in a subsequent semester, said Albro.
Albro also noted that she had elected to incorporate the assessment elements into the sections that she had taught, because she was worried for her students and would otherwise never learn how to collect, analyze, and effectively use the reading assessment data when a core class was devoted to the subject that had been suddenly closed off.
“You need assessment data to guide your teaching. Otherwise, how do you know where students are, or how plan for the future,” said Albro. “The course has been replaced with a diversity and community class, but the assessment is as important as teaching diversity.”
“Unless they took a class with me, there is no guarantee that anyone graduating in May 2017 would have been taught assessment,” she had said.