Taking Action to Improve Teacher Preparation

edProviding all children in America with the opportunity to obtain a world-class education is critical for their success and the success of our nation, and there is no more important factor in successful schools than having a great teacher in every classroom.

However, the vast majority of new teachers – almost two-thirds – reports that their teacher preparation program left them unprepared for the realities of the classroom. Moreover, for decades, institutions that prepare teachers have lacked direct feedback from districts needed to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and have not had access to information on where program graduates go to teach, how long they stay, and how they perform in the classroom.

Recently, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Education to lay out a plan to strengthen America’s teacher preparation programs for public discussion by this summer, and to move forward on schedule to publish a final rule within the next year. The Administration will encourage and support states in developing systems that recognize excellence and provide all programs with information to help them improve, while holding them accountable for how well they prepare teachers to succeed in today’s classrooms and throughout their careers.

The Administration’s plans will:

  • Build on state systems and efforts and the progress in the field to encourage all states to develop their own meaningful systems to identify high- and low-performing teacher preparation programs across all kinds of programs, not just those based in colleges and universities.
  • Ask states to move away from current input-focused reporting requirements, streamline the current data requirements, incorporate more meaningful outcomes, and improve the availability of relevant information on teacher preparation.
  • Rely on state-developed program ratings of preparation programs – in part – to determine program eligibility for TEACH grants, which are available to students who are planning to become teachers in a high-need field in a low-income school, to ensure that these limited federal dollars support high-quality teacher education and preparation.

These critical changes will help to increase recognition for high-performing teacher preparation programs, create a much-needed feedback loop to provide information to prospective teachers, schools and districts, and the general public, and drive improvement across programs. They will help to improve systems-level accountability for supporting the high-quality instruction all students deserve. Moreover, strengthened preparation and support will help to make teaching an increasingly desirable and rewarding career.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/04/taking-action-to-improve-teacher-preparation/