Friday, September 28

Math coaches: are they good at math? coaching?

The DOE touts math coaches as an effective way for one "expert" to provide instructional support to many schools. But just how good are the city's 400 math coaches? That's the question CCNY dean Alfred Posamentier frets about in a guest column in yesterday's Daily News. There are no clear standards for what's required to become a coach, and coaches are hired at principals' discretion. So while CCNY has a privately-funded training program for teachers that builds on what Posamentier terms their "proper mathematics background," it's possible that many coaches don't have the math skills -- or even the teaching skills -- to be telling others how to teach math.

When I graduated from college, the DOE's Teaching Fellows program offered me a position as a high school math teacher. If they'd let me teach math, chances are there are math-deficient teachers making their way toward coachhood. Now that's scary.

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