In their new report, New Colleges of Education – A Path for Going from Concept to Reality, Education Reform Now (ERN) proposes that a new type of teacher education accreditor, not dependent on schools of education and their personnel but instead on the employers of graduates from schools of education and teacher preparation programs, should be created. The authors suggest that chief state school officers, urban superintendents of schools, and charter school network leaders should band together to form an accreditor focused on: (i) the learning gains of elementary and secondary school students taught by the graduates of teacher preparation programs seeking accreditation, and (ii) the assessments of employers of whether the graduates of teacher preparation programs are adequately prepared for classroom service.
The report offers three main take-aways:
The current accreditor and gatekeeper to federal financial aid eligibility for teacher preparation programs either cannot or will not reform itself to make rigorous quality assessments based on teacher candidate outcomes.
State and local superintendents and charter school leaders, independently or backed by philanthropy, can relatively quickly and at a low cost form a new accreditor of teacher education programs driven by student learning gains and job outcomes associated with teacher preparation program graduates rather than a checklist of program inputs.
A new, outcome-oriented accreditor of teacher preparation programs operating with the support of the U.S. Department of Education capable of waiving current federal regulations restricting access to financial aid could spur the creation of a wave of new colleges of education that could revolutionize teacher education nationally.
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