Frontier Centre Backgrounder Calls for Higher Graduate Education Standards for Teachers and School Administrators

Commentary, Education, Frontier Centre

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released a background report calling into question the quality standards of graduate education for school teachers and school administrators and called on the provincial Faculty of Education and the University of Manitoba to eliminated watered-down summer programs, end the practice of offering off-site courses and raise the admissions standards for all graduate and P.B.D.E. students.

Questionable Graduate Programs for Teachers and Administrators, written by Rod Clifton and Michael Zwaagstra, states that

  • For every additional year of university education completed, Manitoba teachers and principals receive a salary increase from their school divisions. Surprisingly, the courses do not have to be relevant to their current jobs.
  • This type of economic incentive encourages teachers and principals who would otherwise not be pursuing graduate work to do so.
  • Almost 90 per cent of the graduate students in Education programs (M.Ed., Ph.D., and P.B.D.E.) are enrolled on a part-time basis. This means that most of them work full time, which leaves little time for in-depth academic work.
  • Two 6-credit-hour summer institutes offered by the Faculty of Education are evidence of the low academic standards since these courses are compressed into two weeks.
  • The Faculty of Education also offers a number of off-site courses to teachers and principals from individual school divisions. Courses offered away from the main campus are more likely to be of lower academic rigour.
  • Entrance requirements for the M.Ed. program need to be more rigorous because they are considerably below the standard for graduate programs in other faculties.
  • Since teachers are responsible for educating the next generation of citizens, the authors write, they hold an important position of responsibility in society. Thus, it is extremely important that those responsible for educating children are well educated themselves. This should be even more essential for those who assume positions of leadership in schools and divisions – notably principals and superintendents. As such, one would expect graduate programs for teachers and administrators to be rigorous, challenging and relevant to their working lives.

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