Tag Archives: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Center for American Progress Report: Mayoral control of schools

24 Mar

As more and more question the effectiveness of the current school structure, some mayors have assumed control of their city schools. Frederick M. Hess writes in the American Enterprise Institute article, Assessing the Case for Mayoral Control of Urban Schools:

Are elected school boards equal to the challenges of twenty-first-century urban school governance? Eli Broad, founder of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, believes in “mayoral control of school boards or . . . no school board at all.”[1] Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, has called school boards “an aberration, an anachronism, an educational sinkhole,” urging, “put this dysfunctional arrangement out of its misery.”[2]

Aberration or not, the nation’s nearly fifteen thousand school boards are still charged with providing the leadership, policy direction, and oversight to drive school improvement. Nationally, 96 percent of districts have elected boards, including more than two-thirds of the twenty-five largest districts.[3] After decades of largely ineffectual reform, however, it is far from clear that school boards are equal to the challenge. The most popular alternative is replacing today’s boards with some form of mayoral control. Cities with a variation of this arrangement today include Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The take-no-prisoners leadership styles of school chancellors in New York City and Washington, D.C., have drawn particular interest.

Where It All Began

The irony is that today’s school boards took their contemporary shape about a century ago, when Progressive Era reformers launched a concerted effort to expunge “politics” from schooling in the name of efficiency, equity, and accountability. As James Cibulka, president of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, has noted, K–12 governance was “designed by political Progressives early in the twentieth century to give professional educators authority and insulate them from political abuses.”[4] Consequently, even strong mayors had little influence over the local schools.

Early nineteenth-century school boards had been local and informal, justified by the presumption that they kept schools connected to their neighborhoods. By the dawn of the twentieth century, however, Progressives–in language that sounds more than a little familiar–thought it necessary to “clean out” boards plagued by patronage and politics. In 1885, Boston reformer John Philbrick asserted that “unscrupulous politicians” had seized “every opportunity to sacrifice the interests of the schools to the purposes of the political machine.”[5]

As the twentieth century dawned, Progressives worked to streamline boards and render them more professional and accountable. University of Chicago political scientist William Howell explains: “The order of the day put rational control and expertise in the service of objectivity and efficiency; the result was the birth of the civil service, the exaltation of meritocracy and modernity, and the rise of Taylorism, the scientific management of industries and businesses.”[6] Seeking to insulate board politics from rough-and-tumble state and national elections, Progressives moved board elections “off-cycle” and made them nonpartisan.

Efforts to separate education from politics gave rise to concerns that school systems were not apolitical but rather consumed by undisciplined, petty, and ineffectual politics. Assessing Progressive Era reforms more than thirty years ago, historian Charles Beard observed, “Cities change from one [approach] to the other in the hope–usually vain–of taking the school affairs out of the spoils system.”[7]

Today, reformers worry that excising politics from school governance has also removed coherence and accountability. One popular solution: put the politics back in education by handing control of the schools to the mayor or empowering mayors to appoint local school boards. This is primarily debated in the nation’s large, urban school systems–those cities where educational challenges are more daunting, politics are especially complex, and the need for coherence is particularly pressing. Is it a promising idea? What does the research suggest?                                       http://www.aei.org/article/education/assessing-the-case-for-mayoral-control-of-urban-schools/

The Center for American Progress has completed the report, Mayoral Governance and Student Achievement: How Mayor-Led Districts Are Improving School and Student Performance by Kenneth K. Wong and Francis X. Shen

Here is a summary of the Center for American Progress Report about mayoral control:

Top 5 Things to Know About Mayoral Control of Schools

By Juliana Herman | March 22, 2013

In many cities across America, it’s not just schools that are failing—it’s the entire school district as well. Huge numbers—if not the majority—of students throughout these districts are not reading at grade level and lack basic math skills.

This is a problem greater than any one school. In response, some cities have shaken up the way their school districts are run, giving greater control to their mayors and implementing what is called “mayoral control” of schools. School districts are traditionally controlled by a locally elected school board, which makes decisions about how schools are run, including hiring and firing the school superintendent. Mayoral control, however, is a shift in the power structure wherein mayors are given a greater degree of authority over schools. Often, though not always, mayors are given the power to appoint members who will replace some or all members of the elected school board.

The move to mayoral control is one element in the larger discussion about who should run our schools, but it is also a significant and potentially impactful alternative to the traditional structure—and it comes at a time when schools and students are desperate for alternatives.

The Center for American Progress recently released a new report analyzing the impact of mayoral control. The report, titled “Mayoral Governance and Student Achievement: How Mayor-led Districts Are Improving School and Student Performance” by Kenneth K. Wong and Francis X. Shen, looks at the impact of mayoral control on resource management and student achievement in 11 different school districts across the country.

Based on CAP’s new report, here are the top five things to know about mayoral control of schools:

It’s been done all across the country in cities of all sizes

Some variation of mayoral control has been implemented in a geographically diverse range of urban cities, from New York City to Indianapolis to Los Angeles and many places in between. These cities have different student populations, structures, and histories, but empowering the mayor to make at least some of the decisions about schools has been tried in all of them….

Mayoral control comes in many shapes and sizes

Despite what the name might imply, there is no “one and only” type of mayoral control. Different cities have taken different approaches, and new formats are still being invented. There is a lot of room for variation depending on local priorities, decisions, cultures, and any number of other factors. The term “mayoral control” simply signifies that the mayor has more power now than he or she did before. What that means in practice is up to the city or state in question.

There are, however, a few common forms or degrees of control. Some cities have given their mayor the power to appoint the entire school board and the CEO, or superintendent, of the school district. Examples of where this has happened include Washington, D.C., and Chicago. In New York City the mayor appoints the CEO and the majority—though not the entirety—of the board. Together, these three cities have “very high” degrees of mayoral control. Cities that empower the mayor to appoint at least the majority of the school board, but give the boards the authority to appoint the CEOs, fall into the high degree of control classification. This category—also the most common—includes Boston, Massachusetts; Cleveland, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Trenton, New Jersey; and Yonkers, New York. Even within this category, there is variation: The mayors of Boston, Cleveland, and Providence must choose their board appointees from a list of nominees….

Mayor-led districts may use resources more strategically

There is evidence that districts operating under mayoral control may spend their money differently, more strategically, and with a greater focus on the classroom than districts governed by elected boards. For starters, mayoral-led districts have more resources per student overall than similar city districts, though the cause of this is hard to identify definitively. On average, districts under mayoral control also focus on teachers: A greater percentage of their total staff is teachers, producing lower student-to-teacher ratios. Relative to the largest city districts, mayor-led districts have less central office staff and administrators as a percent of their total staff. This prioritization on teaching and learning might be an important factor in contributing to higher student achievement…,

Mayor-controlled districts have seen increases in student achievement

Although other factors are important, the ultimate measure of any change in our education system is whether it improves student learning and achievement. In Boston, Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., and other cities, mayoral control is associated with just that. Students saw improvements—in some cases significant improvements—on both state assessments and on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a test administered nationally to fourth and eighth graders. Looking at the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, for example, the percentage of Bostonian fourth graders proficient in math went from 12 percent to 33 percent—an increase of 21 percentage points—under mayoral control. Similarly, the percentage of fourth graders in Washington, D.C. that were proficient in reading went from 10 percent to 20 percent—an increase of 10 percentage points—after the city moved to mayoral control….

It doesn’t work everywhere, but it can be a catalyst for reform

Mayoral control was less successful in cities such as Cleveland, Ohio, and Yonkers, New York. In Cleveland student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress improved just slightly, if at all, and the gap between the average among large cities and the district’s achievement widened—not narrowed—for almost every grade, subject, and student population. This is exactly the opposite of closing the achievement gap. To be clear, it’s impossible to know why achievement stagnated in these cities, and certainly numerous factors other than mayoral control are involved. But it is important to recognize that mayoral control may not be the right solution for all districts….


Mayoral control of schools can be effective. Mayor-controlled districts have seen improved student achievement across all subjects and student groups. Moving to a mayor-led district can also help spur innovation and advancement. In cities with lagging student achievement, getting more engagement from mayors or increasing their authority over schools could be part of the solution. But voters and policymakers should be sure to design a variation of mayoral control that works for their city and consider the possibility that a different “shake up” strategy might be a better fit.

Juliana Herman is an Education Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress. 

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, and health care)
202.741.6285 or kpeters1@americanprogress.org

Syracuse 2020 offers the concise pros and cons of mayoral school control:



  • Promote gains in accountability and efficiency through increased testing and control of personnel operations
  • Clear goals and accountability resting with the mayor as opposed to boards with differing positions.
  • Better coordination with other agencies in terms of child welfare, safety, public health, recreation, job training, economic development and overall community development strategies
  • Ability to hire chief executive officers from outside of educational systems
  • Increased fiscal stability
  • More political participation because of broader voter participation in elections
  • Promotes the  idea of a progressive community
  • Potential for gaining political capital


  • Business approach does not recognize differences in public personnel and public service systems
  • Mayor’s power is diluted through necessary delegation of authority,
  • Schools are intense people centered organizations quite unlike treating sewage and collecting garbage.
  • Too reliant on idiosyncrasies of individual mayor
  • Better public oversight due to open board meetings
  • Results of mayoral control are unimpressive when matched to NAEP tests
  • Results of outside CEO’s uneven


Moi wrote about school superintendents in Life expectancy of a superintendent: A lot of bullets and little glory:

Just about anyone in education has a tough job these days, from the building staff to the superintendent. There is pressure to perform in an environment of declining resources. Lately, the job of superintendent of large urban school districts has been characterized by turnover. Thomas E. Glass in The History of the Urban Superintendent writes:

The twenty-first century finds one-third of America’s public school children attending one of ten large urban (large-city) school districts. By 2020 approximately one-half of public school enrollment will be clustered in twenty districts. The educational stewardship of a majority of the nations youth rests uncomfortably on the shoulders of a very few large-city school superintendents. Their success and the success of their districts may very well determine the future of American democracy.

Urban districts are typically considered to be those located in the inner core of metropolitan areas having enrollments of more than 25,000 students. The research and literature about large-city school districts portray conditions of poverty, chronic academic underachievement, dropouts, crime, unstable school boards, reform policy churn, and high superintendent turnover.

The typical tenure of a superintendent in the largest large-city districts is two to three years. This brief tenure makes it unlikely a superintendent can develop and implement reform programs that can result in higher academic achievement–let alone re-build crumbling schools buildings, secure private sector assistance, and build a working relationship with the city’s political structure.

The large-city superintendency is a position defined by high expectations, intense stress, inadequate resources, and often a highly unstable politicized board of education.
Read more: Superintendent of Large-City School Systems – History of the Urban Superintendent, The Profession, School Boards,

Characteristics of the Large-City Superintendent http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2470/Superintendent-Large-City-School-Systems.html#ixzz0p6HySmU0

See, District Administration’s article, Superintendent Staying Power http://www.districtadministration.com/article/superintendent-staying-power

There is no one-size-fits all in education, there should be a variety of options.


Ravitch: Mayoral control means zero accountability                                        http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/education-secretary-duncan/ravitch-mayoral-control-means.html

Resist Mayoral Control                                                                                                     http://communityeducationtaskforce.rocus.org/?page_id=2

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Is classroom practice the missing ingredient in teacher training?

4 Oct

Moi wrote in Teacher credentials: ‘Teacher Performance Assessment’:

Because teacher training programs will be evaluated by the National Council on Teacher Quality, there is interest in examining how teachers are prepared. See, Building Better Teachers http://www.nctq.org/p/edschools/home.jsp Amy Hetzner and Becky Vevea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have written the article, How Best to Educate Future Teachers which is part of a series

Alverno College, the small women’s college on Milwaukee’s south side, has been widely cited as a national model for training teachers, thanks to its combination of clinical and classroom experience and use of video and other tools to evaluate whether graduates are meeting the standards for what makes a good teacher….

Key elements of an excellent teacher education program:

  • Strong content knowledge, teaching skills. Future teachers gain a solid grounding in the content to be taught as well as how to teach it.

  • Flexible methods. Emphasis is placed on teaching diverse learners – knowing how to differentiate teaching to reach a broad range of students.

  • Fieldwork. Coursework clearly is connected to fieldwork. The clinical experience, like in medical school, consists of intensive student-teaching, preferably for a semester or entire year, under the supervision of an experienced mentor.

  • Professional mentors. Mentors observe future teachers in the classroom – sometimes videotaping for later analysis – and work with them on everything from lesson-planning and creating assignments to monitoring student progress and grading.

  • Designated “learning schools.” Mentors and school sites for student-teaching are well-chosen. There are close relationships and a sense of joint responsibility among the school sites at which future teachers train, the local district and the teacher-education program.

  • Escalating teaching responsibilities. Future teachers gradually take over a full classroom, first teaching short segments on a single topic with a small group of students, then co-teaching with the mentor before assuming full responsibility for a class.

  • Feedback. Feedback from multiple sources (mentors, professors, peers) is routine.

  • Selective admission standards. Admission to the program is selective; not everyone has the necessary skills or demeanor to be an effective teacher.

Sources: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; faculty at Columbia University Teachers College, Stanford and Harvard Universities. Compiled by Justin Snider of The Hechinger Report

These are the elements that have made the graduates of Alverno College successful. https://drwilda.com/2012/07/31/teacher-credentials-teacher-performance-assessment/

Jay Mathews has written an interesting Washington Post article, Why teacher training fails our teachers:

American public elementary and secondary schools spend about $20 billion a year on what is called professional development — helping teachers do their jobs better. Many teachers will tell you much of that is a waste of time and money.

Now, three former teachers involved in training have discovered an important reason. Teachers are rarely given time and opportunity to practice what they have learned.

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better,” is the new book by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi exposing this flaw in teacher training and the way most of us learn any complex skill. Professional athletes know the value of repeating moves again and again before the game starts. Michael Jordan was famous for how much time he spent practicing in the gym, even after he became a superstar…

For teachers, the authors of “Practice Perfect” say, pre-game repetition is crucial. “If a teacher’s performance during a given class is less than what she wanted, she cannot get it back,” they say. “She cannot as, say, a lawyer working on a contract might do, stop in the middle of her work and call someone to ask for advice. She can’t give it her best shot and then, as we are doing as we write this book, go back and tinker and revise and have the luxury of being held accountable for a final product that reflects actions taken and reconsidered over an extended period….”

They learned this only recently after analyzing the results of a study of great teachers in high-poverty public schools, reported in Lemov’s previous best-selling book, “Teach Like a Champion.” The teachers with the best results “were often the most likely to focus on small and seemingly mundane aspects of their daily work.” The authors liken this to legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who went so far as to teach players how to put their socks on correctly. But the insight did not immediately illumine the importance of practice….

The authors realized that their trainees hadn’t practiced. It was the equivalent of trying to learn a new backhand in the middle of a match at center court Wimbledon.

They added repetitive exercises to their training workshops. Teachers played students so the situation would resemble a real classroom. Teachers still had trouble getting it right. The real world situation was too distracting, The authors dialed down the student disruption so their trainees had a chance to do the technique correctly several times. Once it became automatic, they could handle unpredictable moments….

In the future, schools will still often spend big money on training teachers in ineffective ways. Learning to practice, this book vividly illustrates, takes time and effort, trial and error. It won’t happen tomorrow. But even a small movement in the direction of more practice will reap benefits, in teaching and many other things we do. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-teacher-training-fails-our-teachers/2012/10/03/f88d470a-0c56-11e2-bb5e-492c0d30bff6_blog.html

Every child has a right to a good basic education. In order to ensure that every child has a good basic education, there must be a quality teacher in every classroom.


National Council on Teacher Quality

How I was evaluated as a first-year teacher – 10/04/2012

A first year teacher, ripe for feedback and improvement, gets none.

What’s the Latest on Teacher Evaluation? – 10/02/2012

We’ve got the skinny on what states are doing to evaluate their teachers and award them tenure. Read more

2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

January 2012

State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies

October 2011

State of the States 2012: Teacher Effectiveness Policies

October 2012

Center for Teaching Quality http://www.teachingquality.org/

The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality http://www.tqsource.org/


Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/linda-darling-hammond-on-teacher-evaluation/

Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

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The search for quality teachers goes on

28 Feb

Moi received the press release about improving teacher training standards from the Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting which is an outgrowth of he Teacher Education Accreditation Council, or TEAC, and the far larger and older National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE now called CAEP. Trip Gabriel has an article in the New York Times,Teachers Colleges Upset By Plans to Grade Them about the coming U.S. News Report on teacher colleges. This project is being underwritten in part by the Carnegie Corporation and Broad Foundation. A test of the proposed project was completed in Illinois. You can go here to get a copy of the report. The National Council on Teacher Quality has information about the project at their site.

Stephen Sawchuck is reporting in the Education Week article, Teacher-Prep Accreditor Names Standards-Setting Panel:

An external panel that includes several prominent critics of teacher education has been tapped to craft the performance standards for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the new organization’s leaders announced last week.

Among the standards under consideration: how programs ensure that candidates know their content; the programs’ ability to recruit an academically strong pool of candidates; their success in training teachers to use assessment data effectively; and the performance of their graduates in classrooms….

CAEP was created in late 2010 by the merger of two separate accreditors, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, or TEAC, and the far larger and older National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE. Both will operate until the merger is completed by the end of this year.

The commission tapped to write the new body’s standards will be chaired by Camilla Benbow, the dean of education and human development at Vanderbilt University, and Gene Harris, the superintendent of the Columbus, Ohio, public schools.

It is arguably a more diverse group than those currently serving in the governance structure of either of the preceding accrediting bodies. At press time, CAEP officials had confirmed 28 panelists on the commission and were working to secure several more—including individuals representing nontraditional preparation programs such as Teach For America and district-operated “residency” programs.

Its members also include math and reading scholars and two state education commissioners, along with a more traditional roster of teacher-educators.


Here is the committee roster:

Commission Members

These individuals have been confirmed as members of the CAEP Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting. More appointments are expected.

Camilla Benbow
Dean of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Peabody college

Gene Harris
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus, Ohio, Public Schools

Donna Wiseman
Dean, College of Education, University of Maryland

Patricia Manzanares-Gonzales
Dean, School of Education, Western New Mexico University

Susan Fuhrman
President, Teachers College, Columbia University

Rick Ginsberg
Dean, University of Kansas, School of Education

Tina Marshall Bradley
Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs, Paine College

David Steiner
Dean, Hunter College

Mary Brabeck
Dean, School of Education, New York University

Richard DeLisi
Dean and Professor, Rutgers University

Kurt Geisinger
Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Nebraska

Julie Underwood
Dean, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Susan Neuman
Professor in Educational Studies, Michigan State University, School of Education

Francis M. “Skip” Fennell
Professor of Education, McDaniels College, Md.

Jill Lederhause
Professor of Education, Wheaton College, Ill.

Paul Lingenfelter
President, State Higher Education, Executive Officers

Terry Holliday
Commissioner of Education, Kentucky Department of Education

Christopher Koch
State Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education

Arthur E. Levine
President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

Jennifer Stern
Executive Director, Janus Education Alliance, Denver Public Schools

Andrés Alonso
Chief Executive Officer, Baltimore Public Schools

Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers

Rebecca Pringle
Secretary/Treasurer, National Education Association

Gail Connelly
Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals

JoAnn Bartoletti
Executive Director, National Association of Secondary School Principals

Thomas W. Payzant
Professor of Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Jim Kohlmoos
Executive Director, National Association of State Boards of Education

Melissa Erickson
Parent Leader, Hillsborough, Fla., Public Schools

SOURCE: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

According to to the press release of CAEP:

The Commission is taking the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning to the next level. The Panel’s report, released a year ago, said it was time to “turn teacher education upside-down.” That Panel urged increased oversight and expectations for educator preparation and the expansion of new delivery models in which teacher candidates work more directly in clinically based settings from the beginning of their preparation as in medical education. The panel also called for preparation programs to operate in new types of partnerships between higher education and P-12 schools in which both systems share responsibility for preparation.

Strong Accountability Tied to New Data Systems, Assessments

The development of longitudinal data systems and of a new generation of performance assessments will dramatically improve the quantity and quality of evidence of student and teacher performance, allowing programs to study the impact of graduates on student outcomes within the accreditation process. New, more robust assessments, such as the TPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) being pilot tested in more than 25 states, and tools such as observational protocols and student feedback, will help identify effective teaching practices. Information from these assessments will inform preparation programs and will provide new data points previously unavailable….

CAEP will work with both states and individual institutions to help build their capacity to collect, analyze, and act on this data. By helping preparation programs learn how to use such data for internal improvement, CAEP can both address the need for accountability and help institutions improve. The development of the evidentiary base that CAEP will promote will help further define successful practice and foster transformation of educator preparation programs so that graduates can help improve all dimensions of P-12 student learning.

Through the development of the new standards and accompanying processes, CAEP’s quality assurance system will be characterized by the accreditor’s dual mission of accountability and improvement. CAEP’s decision-making will be transparent and will clearly recognize the qualities that matter in programs.

CAEP believes that all educator preparation providers should be subject to the same high standards of quality. To make this possible, one of the tasks of the Commission is to ensure accreditation standards are appropriate for all preparation providers. In the past, accreditation standards have been geared specifically to higher education institutions.

“To ensure the quality of teacher education the nation needs, accreditation must be bold and go beyond do no-harm measures to ensure excellence, said Arthur Levine, president, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, a CAEP board member, and a member of the standards commission. “Satisfactory performance just isn’t satisfactory anymore. If we do our work properly, preparation providers will demonstrate that they meet higher standards; our expectation is that they will be able to demonstrate their impact through evidence of candidate and graduate performance.”

Support in helping to underwrite the costs of the Commission is provided by Tk20, Inc., Pearson, and Educational Testing Service (ETS). Tk20, Inc. and ETS are providing support for Commission meetings, and Pearson is providing support for outreach.

For more information, see CAEP Updates at www.ncate.orgor http://www.ncate.org/Public/Newsroom/CAEPUpdates/tabid/788/Default.aspx. and also www.caepsite.org; and http://www.teac.org/news-events/caep/.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, to become operational in 2013, will accredit over 900 teacher education institutions across the nation, producing approximately 175,000 graduates annually.

Everyone is searching for the magic formula to produce a bumper crop of quality teachers.


The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/523/

Could newest teaching strategy be made in Japan? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/could-newest-teaching-strategy-be-made-in-japan/

New Harvard study about impact of teachers https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Is it true that the dumbest become teachers? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

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