WASHINGTON – Maryland has already taken some of the steps to reform education that were recommended Thursday by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
The state has moved to make long-term improvements in teaching, which include having all teaching schools meet national educational standards and having all teachers be certified by the state, said Ronald Peiffer, assistant state superintendent for schools and community outreach.
The state also has based the hiring and retaining of teachers on their knowledge and skills, created professional development programs and changed the state teaching certificates from 10 years to five, he said.
And it has established federally funded teacher development sites where education students at Johns Hopkins University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Baltimore County work with professional teachers to improve skills, Peiffer said.
The commission Thursday issued a report on the way the nation prepares, recruits and rewards its teachers.
The report said the nation has made little progress toward achieving its education goals because of problems in teacher recruitment and development and because schools focus on managing students rather than educating them.
“The teachers are deprived because of a lack of standards,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, the commission’s executive director, who joined U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley and others to stress teaching reform.
The commission recommended that all students be taught by skilled teachers; that teaching programs meet professional standards or be closed; that teachers and principles be hired and retained based on their skills; that teachers’ salaries be based on their skills, and that quality teaching be the central investment of schools.
The commission includes educators, community leaders and public officials and is based in Teachers College at Columbia University. It is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corp. of New York.
The commission’s report listed by state the percentages of uncertified teachers. It said Maryland was second to worst, with 29 percent of its state teachers uncertified, behind the District of Columbia.
Peiffer said that percentage does not reflect reality.
He said for the past five years, 96 percent of teachers hired in Maryland had certificates from the state.
The commission said its information was compiled by the U.S. Department National Center for Education Statistics and is a random survey of school staffing from 1991. -30-