State School Chiefs Offer ‘Playbook’ on Improving Teacher Preparation

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has released Transforming Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from Leading States, a playbook offering specific steps states can take to improve educator preparation.

In 2012, CCSSO released Our Responsibility, Our Promise, boldly challenging state education leaders to raise expectations and strengthen policies to better prepare teachers before they enter the classroom. The report found that change was urgently needed to ensure every teacher is prepared to meet the needs of all students on their first day in the classroom.

CCSSO supported this call to action by creating the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP), a multi-year collaborative of states committed to creating policies and taking steps to ensure teachers are “learner-ready” on day one in school.

States that joined NTEP committed to exploring multiple avenues to strengthen teacher preparation. States partnered with teachers, district administrators and institutions of higher education to improve how teachers are prepared, how teachers are licensed and how data is collected and used to inform decisions. Each state in NTEP received technical support as part of its participation in the network.

States that participated in NTEP include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

As a result of NTEP, these states worked with stakeholders across the education sector to create stronger standards for teacher preparation programs, better measure how prepared new teachers are to enter the classroom, and provide meaningful and timely data to continuously improve how teachers are prepared in the long-term.

While there is no single way to approach the change process for educator preparation, participating states learned that specific steps, outlined in the playbook, lead to the most significant progress. The steps include:

  • Understand where you are and where you want to go with data. First, states often had to determine what data was collected, by whom, and how it was used. Another key step was to determine what data should be collected in new systems
  • Understand your policy landscape and make sure to involve all of the agencies and actors involved in educator preparation. Assessing the policy and regulatory environment around educator preparation and involving all the necessary stakeholders is an essential early step that makes long-term success more likely.
  • Establish a process for managing your work. Participants need a process to guide the work that includes regular routines, accountability measures, and clear expectations for end products.
  • Designate a facilitator. Experts and facilitators can play an invaluable role to help tailor ideas, recommendations, and resources and to keep progress on track.
  • Keep students’ needs front and center. One of the most important questions states can ask is: “Have we done everything we can with our policy levers to get a learner-ready teacher in front of students and have a pathway to continued learning?”
  • Don’t go at this alone. States that embark on this essential work will find that it is rich with potential for improvement but also challenging.


For more information, download the full Transforming Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from Leading States.