A Measured Approach to Improving Teacher Preparation
Teacher preparation programs are pumping out 300,000 teachers a year, many of whom enter classrooms ill-prepared and ineffective. This Education Sector policy brief outlines the major criticisms of the current teacher-prep system: It doesn’t heed the labor needs of states and districts, nor does it offer sufficient focus on practical skills or rigor in selecting candidates and conferring degrees. The brief then outlines a three-part strategy to improve teacher preparation—with each of the recommendations pointed directly to the federal government. While the authors readily admit that the “legal and political capacity of the U.S. Department of Education to force all 50 states to simultaneously build strong accountability systems…has been limited,” they believe their outlined “new paradigm” will extricate federal policy from its current muddle. First, create a new federal framework for evaluating and enhancing teacher preparation programs. Second, establish a revised set of competitive grants to encourage states to assess and revamp their programs by building off the Teacher Quality Partnership Grants and School Improvement Grants programs. And third, streamline financial aid programs to improve quality of the teacher workforce. While the authors’ push for outcomes-based accountability requirements and their recommendations for collecting and using data are admirable, their naive faith in Uncle Sam’s ability to cause these policy changes to occur is disheartening, to say the least.
Chad Aldeman, Kevin Carey, Erin Dillon, Ben Miller, and Elena Silva, “A Measured Approach to Improving Teacher Preparation,” (Washington, D.C.: Education Sector, 2011).
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