Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Teacher Prep Programs

A new review of America's teacher preparation programs has been released by the National Council on Teacher Quality - an organization that advocates for reform in "how we recruit, prepare, retain, and compensate teachers."  To see the report go to:

According to a Washington Post article on the NCTQ report, "Education secretaries in 21 states have endorsed the report, but some universities and education experts quickly assailed the review as incomplete and inaccurate."

The Post's article, written by Lyndsey Layton, goes on to note that, "...there is broad agreement among educators and public officials - from US Education Secretary Arne Duncan to governors to unions - that the country is failing to adequately train the 200,000 people who become teachers every year."

The report criticizes schools of education for:
~ Having low admission standards
~ Having little connection between clinical work and academic work
~ Having education faculty members who haven't been in a public school for years

 Many have argued that teacher quality is the most important factor that impacts student learning. Because there is a movement to improve teacher preparation and teacher accountability, some allege that there is a war against teachers. However, the movement ("war") is not against teachers, it is against poor teacher preparation (not the fault of teachers), little to no meaningful mentoring of teachers once they are hired (not the fault of teachers), and lack of action to remove incompetent teachers (the fault of blind union support & weak, uninformed, and/or political administrators/Boards).

 In addition, the tying of teacher evaluation to student performance on state-mandated tests was abruptly thrust upon teachers with insufficient time to prepare. Arne Duncan must agree. He just recently delayed the requirement to tie personnel decisions to teacher evaluations (which are directly tied to student performance on state-mandated tests).

     "In what some see as a tacit recognition of the Obama administration's overreach into nitty-gritty management of America's schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will give states a reprieve from certain aspects of teacher evaluations' consequences and the new wave of testing tied to the Common Core.
      Duncan said Tuesday that he will allow the first two groups of states that received waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to seek an extra year, until the academic year 2016-2017, before they give their teacher evaluations teeth by applying them to personnel decisions." See:


Many schools of education are floundering. Some are working on reforming their schools so students are much better prepared for the profession. However, another significant problem is on the shoulders of both schools of education and public schools themselves. Teachers are often given perfunctory "mentoring" that is rarely connected to improving their performance and to supporting their efforts to grapple with the many demands placed on novice teachers. Developing teachers are at great risk of leaving the profession. http://www.nea.org/tools/17054.htm
"The statistics for teacher turnover among new teachers are startling. Some 20 percent of all new hires leave the classroom within three years. In urban districts, the numbers are worse. Close to 50 percent of newcomers leave the profession during their first five years of teaching."

One of the greatest responsibilities facing our country is to provide the next generation with a good education. It is time for entrenched parties to stop digging in and to start acting on an exciting idea...making public education in the US a model for other countries. Let's focus on what students need -not on what self-interested adults want.

For further information see:

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