UConn’s Neag School of Education aligns with faux “Educators 4 Excellence” reform group

A couple of weeks ago nearly 500 students were handed diplomas from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education.  Most were Connecticut residents and after spending years studying and paying tens of thousands of dollars to get a comprehensive education from a premier teacher preparation program, many are now out looking for teaching jobs in an incredibly difficult job market.

So whatever you do, don’t tell these new UConn graduates that rather than promoting the need for teachers who have acquired the depth of knowledge and skills that comes from attending a true teacher preparation program, their university has aligned itself with a corporate funded education reform front group that is overwhelming made up of teachers who have bypassed all that “teacher prep stuff.”

Although UConn’s Neag School of Education graduation ceremonies were held with great pomp and circumstance, the Neag School’s most profound message to its students and graduates actually came a couple of weeks before graduation day when the Neag School of Education hosted the following;

@NeagSchool alums/school teachers are working together with Educators for Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization that works to ensure that the voices of classroom teachers are included in the creation of policies that shape our classrooms and careers. They are having a happy hour to discuss the organization and to get feedback from current Hartford teachers. Share your feedback at the discussion: Hartford @WoodNTap, 4/23, 5 p.m.

Neag School and Educators 4 Excellence…

Wait, What?

Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) is the corporate funded education reform advocacy group that purports to be “working across the state to provide a more elevated teaching profession and improved student outcomes.”

With chapters in Connecticut, New York, California, Minnesota, New Jersey and Chicago, E4E has collected and spent approximately $20 million over the past three years, money it received from the Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation (Walmart) and other major anti-teacher education reform groups.  E4E’s mission is to make it seem like real teachers support the corporate education reform industry’s agenda that includes repealing teaching tenure, eliminating the teacher seniority process and promoting the use of the unfair and discriminatory Common Core testing scheme.

In fact, E4E is one of the leading organizations behind the push to use the unfair Common Core tests as part of the teacher evaluation system.

And perhaps most incredible of all, Educators 4 Excellence is primarily made up of people who simply sidestepped an undergraduate teacher training programing, choosing instead to grab a quick alternative certification before entering the classroom.

In Connecticut, E4E claims to have five teachers staffing their advocacy operation.

However, not a single one of the E4E “educators” attended an undergraduate teacher training program in Connecticut or in any other state.  Rather than actually take the time to attend a comprehensive teacher training programs these individuals used the five week Teach For America program to get their teaching certificates.

E4E’s operatives in other states followed a similar path.  While a couple picked up a Master’s degree in some education related field, few did the heaving lifting that provides the depth of knowledge that comes with attending a teacher preparation program.

Of the Educators 4 Excellence staff in New York, only two of thirteen bothered to attend an undergraduate teacher training programs.

In Minnesota, the number is zero out of seven.

In Chicago only one of the four E4E staffers attended a teacher training program and in Los Angeles none of the group’s ten staffers attended an undergraduate teacher preparation program.

The E4E message is that “excellence” does not require going to school to become a teacher.

And that is who UConn’s School of Education is joining with…

Yet according to 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings, the Neag School ranks among the top 25 public graduate schools of education in the nation and has three specialty programs ranked in the top 20 nationally: Special Education, Educational Psychology, and Educational Administration & Supervision.

As one of the nation’s “premier education programs,” you’d think UConn would be sending a clear and powerful message that while there is a time and place of alternative routes to certification, students who want to be teachers in the United States should attend a true teacher preparation program in order to get the comprehensive education they will need to succeed in today’s classrooms.

But no, for reasons beyond comprehension, while their own students were busy focused on their studies and taking exams to finish up the semester, UConn’s Neag School of Education was off sponsoring a “happy hour” with a corporate front group whose employees didn’t even bother to attend a teacher preparation program.

For more about E4E and this “work,” check out the following Wait, What? posts;

Educators 4 Excellence – Because teachers NEED their own “Education Reform” front group (4/22/15)

Teacher-led organization that gives teachers a meaningful voice in policy is expanding in CT! (5/23/13)

and Another faux pro-public education group targets Connecticut (12/18/12)

  • buygoldandprosper

    Neag School & Paul Vallas.
    Now this…
    Connecticut can boast about having NO standards at all.

  • elliew1234

    RI College THE teacher college that has educated teachers in Rhode Island for almost 100 years has partnered with Teach for America. RI College is a college for working class students who take out large loans to attend RIC. This is a huge betrayal of Rhode Island students.

  • Lauren Midgette

    ​Hello, Jonathan,

    My name is Lauren Midgette, and I am a teacher and a member of the E4E team here in Hartford. I am sorry that you were misinformed about the event that Educators 4 Excellence hosted and that you posted mainly based on assumptions from a single Facebook post. Our event was not sponsored by the Neag School of Education, nor did it align Neag “with a corporate funded education reform front group that is overwhelming made up of teachers who have bypassed all that ‘teacher prep stuff.​'” You posted false information​.​

    Either way, the meeting was held to talk about serving STUDENTS, as they’re what should be at the center of our collective work. I would also like to point out that I myself am a 2013 graduate of the Neag School of Education and can tell you from experience that Neag professors teach us to become leaders in our communities. We make our voices heard in order to ensure the best education possible for our students.

    The Hartford E4E team is comprised of many teachers from different backgrounds, ranging from second year to veterans to a teacher who was a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year; however, you did not indicate any of this in your post, nor did you contact any of the teachers involved​. ​Teacher voices are far too often unheard, and I believe you have successfully written a piece that has kept up with that tradition.

    ​I suggest that if you would like to learn more about the Hartford E4E team and what our recommendations and suggestions are, you can contact one of our E4E reps or the teacher that you got the post from directly.

    Sincerely,
    Ms. Midgette

    • Linda174

      Do you receive funding from the Gates foundation?

      Do you require members to sign an agreement?

      Do you favor aligning test scores to teacher evaluations?

      Do you believe teachers should have due process rights?

      Do you support common core and SBAC testing?

    • Linda174

      By the way Lauren, paragraph two, we all do that without E4E and Gates money.

      • Lauren Midgette

        Hello, Linda,

        I understand your concerns, and I also understand that all teachers have their own opinions on certain matters. I posted to point out that Neag did not sponsor the event hosted by E4E as Jonathan claimed, and it was merely a way for educators with a common background to come together and discuss their experiences. It is these experiences that bring us together and help us develop the most effective ways to make positive changes in education.

        I invite you to contact our E4E representatives in order to find out more information about the questions you posted below.

        Sincerely,
        Ms. Midgette