Heartland Teachers Get Graded

Heartland Teachers Get Graded
By: Holly Brantley

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- A new report says teachers need better training, but local administrators and parents feel that's not the case in the Heartland.
The report from the National Council on Teacher Quality hands out some bad grades to Heartland states.
Missouri and Kentucky Get D's, while Illinois and Tennessee receive a C grade.
The study deals with things like the quality of classroom teachers including licensing, evaluation, preparation, certification, and preparedness of special education teachers.
Overall, parents Heartland News spoke with are happy with their child's school and teachers.
"No school's perfect," said Denise Hendershott, a Cape Girardeau parent.  "But they're not failing.  My kids get all A's so they must be doing something right.  I'm happy with it."
"Those grades surprise me," said Sondra Rhodes. Her kids go to school in Delta. "I'm really happy with the school system."
Equally surprised by the grades are administrators like Dr. Sue Shepard.  Shepard is the Dean of Education at Southeast Missouri State University.
"Some programs will far exceed," said Shepard. "We do.  Others may not.  You put those programs together and they average out."
Shepard said students who major in education at SEMO receive training that goes above and beyond state standards.  Many of those graduates decide to teach at Heartland schools.
"We graduate 350 to 375 teachers a year," said Dr. Shepard. "Most of them stay fairly close."
Kimber Parks is one of those graduates.  She teaches in Jackson.
"Being a teacher I take pride in my job," said Parks. "I feel Southeast prepared me for that. The field experience was the most valuable."
Local superintendents also felt Missouri's results don't necessarily reflect the value of teachers in our local schools.  They say most teachers are prepared to be in the classroom.  They also use programs like the Regional Professional Development Center at Southeast to keep training fresh.