Teacher Education — A lifeline in an imperfect world

Flaming M&Ms offer chemistry lessons

The children at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School in Warren County, Va., have seen a 50 to 61 percent improvement in their reading skills after teacher Rheannon Sorrells ('04, '11M) enlisted education professor Allison Kretlow to help implement a new instruction program.

Today teacher education remains the inspiration for JMU's commitment to serve the public good by providing the No. 1 thing society needs most: excellent teachers.

Back in 1908, Madison was founded on the principle that teachers are the primary instruments for helping the nation's children aspire to a brighter future. That philosophy has intensified at JMU as today's test scores, academic progress and educator accountability command attention nationwide. Yet JMU students still enter the profession fully equipped with the knowledge that teacher caring — which can't be tested, according to College of Education Dean Phil Wishon — can be a lifeline for a child in an imperfect world.

During the Rose presidency, 3,802 Madison students answered the call to teach, as JMU as a whole and the College of Education in particular prepared them for teacher licensure. With each of those alumni teaching an average of 24 students per year during an average career of 20 years, a little extrapolation reveals that the potential impact of Madison teachers runs toward 2 million children's lives positively affected.

Today there are approximately 1,500 students in all of JMU's teacher education programs. Madison continues to produce the highest number of teachers in Virginia each year, qualified both in their content disciplines as well as pedagogy. This year, JMU educators anticipate another 370 teachers will leave JMU prepared to educate America's children.

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