Q&A – Are Florida Teacher’s Qualified To Teach Civics?

Hillsborough County Florida Teachers Protest Reopening Schools As School Board Meets To Vote On Decision

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Today’s entry: How many teachers are qualified to teach the new Florida civics curriculum?

Bottom Line: After all, if Florida’s teachers were adequately informed regarding civics, why was the Florida Education Association fighting the state over the rule change to ban critical race theory? If one’s informed regarding American history, they would know the basis of CRT is untrue. I’ve not been able to find any accredited information pointing to answers regarding the level of civics proficiency of teachers, however, I did find two other subjects that help provide a view of the likely as it pertains to our public-school teachers. Two subjects where credible research exists regarding teacher proficiency are financial literacy and English proficiency. 

First up, financial literacy. FINRA produces the official financial literacy test. While we don’t know the results of teachers, who’ve taken the exam, a University of Wisconsin study of teachers revealed that only 20% of teachers were confident in their ability to teach financial literacy when introduced to it. Now granted, not all teachers are tasked with doing so but it’s instructive when only 1 in five of our educators feels confident in the ability to teach something as fundamental. There was another study of teachers which was more transparent. This one conducted by teachers regarding their command of the English language. The study, which put teachers through a series of exercises to determine English proficiency, ranked on a scale of 1-5 showed that in grammar they tested at a 2.42, vocabulary at a 2.44, and fluency at a 2.65.

Again, everyone isn’t an English teacher but that our teachers would generally have mediocre, at best, command of the language doesn’t instill confidence. Also, it’s fair to say that the more effective a communicator one is the more likely one is to effectively teach. If the average teacher is only about 50% proficient in the English language and about 20% confident in financial literacy, the question becomes what other potential weaknesses or even blind spots are there?

My goal in sharing this information isn’t as simple as the condemnation of wide swaths of teachers, but the realization that generally our educators may not be sufficiently educated. When speaking of education issues generally, I’ve pointed to the straight-line decline the United States has suffered from education since the incarnation of the Department of Education in 1980.

It’s not fair to say we could be in a situation in which the blind are leading the blind, there are truly standout teachers and to ubiquitously indict the profession is wrong. The original question was how many teachers are qualified to teach Florida’s new civics curriculum? I wish that weren’t a good question, but it is. And based on what I’ve shared with you...what do you think?

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

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