|Kindergarten in session / Woodley Wonderworks CC BY 2.0|
In Oregon, all newly licensed teachers (who already completed an accredited teacher education program, in addition to whatever subject matter course work might be required for teaching an academic subject in grades six through twelve) have six to nine years in which to earn a Master's degree (or complete a comparable quantity of graduate education) if they wish to retain their teaching license. This is true from Kindergarten through grade twelve.
After reviewing a number of non-licensure graduate programs in education in the Portland, Oregon area, I began wondering about the following:
1. Are such requirements necessary? What is an elementary school teacher going to glean from a Master's in Ed program that will be worth the $18,000-40,000 cost (not to mention the opportunity cost of losing a year of income, if undertaken full-time) in terms of teaching efficacy and/or financial return? If the accredited teacher-prep programs don't provide adequate preparation in pedagogy, why aren't those being scrutinized for revision instead, so that new teachers have the tools they need when they first enter the classroom?
2. Are such requirements sensible in terms of national fiscal policy? With Direct Loan balance forgiveness available after 10 years of public service work post-degree, is the return on a teacher's Master's worth the cost to tax-payers?