Posted by: James P Burke | August 18, 2009

Do Teachers Need Education Degrees

It seems like my first post to this blog should be something introductory, but I believe the idea is more to actually get conversation and posting going rather than dwell on what the heck this blog is about. Because (and correct me if I’m wrong) the blog is primarily about a discussion of intellectual topics centered on grad school, math, science, and education.

I’ll kick my participation off with a contribution of this NYT debate over education degrees. We all know that teachers are encouraged to further their education and are granted higher pay for their efforts. But are the returns of such efforts significant?

Do teachers need more knowledge of teaching, or more content knowledge? Check out the comments of the NYT experts and then weigh in yourself.



  1. By far, my favorite quote from that article:

    I have seen administrators who have had trouble writing clear letters home to parents and who murdered the English language in public go about brandishing their degrees and insisting on being called “Doctor.”

    It’s so unbelievably accurate.

    I think the requirements in the majority of states are set up to force teachers into getting widely varying degrees. I don’t see why there isn’t a single masters degree for those who want to be teachers? Currently (at least in MA) you need an MAT, but a MS or MA or even a PhD doesn’t qualify you for being a teacher – just a pay raise.

    And here in TX (like most states) if you want to teach at the college level (undergrads at community college, let’s say) you need 18 hours of content specific credits – which don’t come with MATs.

    Why can’t there be a marriage of the two ideas with one “longer” degree for teachers? Get 18 content specific credits – proving (on paper) you’re a master, and 18 education/teaching/psych credits – proving (on paper!) that you understand development and learning?

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