Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Suspension of elementary MAT track was uninformed

Friday, March 2, 2018

To the editor:

A recent letter to the editor by Provost Richard Locke P’18 inadvertently sheds light on the problem with the decision to suspend the elementary Masters of Arts in Teaching track: The people who made this decision were not adequately informed.

Locke wrote: “Ultimately, we want to ensure that we are preparing teachers with the knowledge and skills to understand social contexts and how they impact students, meet the needs of diverse learners and promote greater equity in our schools.”

Locke’s statement suggests that the program is not already doing this. This could not be further from the truth. If anyone who oversaw this decision had done their research, they would have seen that the elementary track is a model of what Locke claims it is lacking. This can be seen in any elementary course or in any of the classrooms where degree candidates student teach. Did anyone involved in the decision actually attend an elementary track course?

The elementary program teaches “responsive classroom,” a pedagogical approach that connects social-emotional learning to the academic curriculum. It uses Rethinking Schools, which looks at issues facing schools through the lens of equality for all. Differentiated instruction is a hallmark of our work, allowing us to reach the wide-ranging arc of learners in our care. We do not believe in the deficit perspective. Instead, we believe in the “not yet” principle of the growth mindset approach. We recognize students as whole people and celebrate what each child contributes to our classroom communities.

Effective educators are already in too-short supply. The elementary track produces them. So with this great need, why is Brown suspending the elementary MAT track? Brown needs to invest in our country’s future. It’s worth it.

Margot Miller MAT ’11