Teacher Preparation in the United States
|Above figures captured from Teacher Prep Review 2013|
In the five "key" standards used to rate the schools, only the selection criteria has scores for more than 2000 schools in this survey. A large fraction were either not scored or not reported. It is important to take note of this before making a sweeping generalization regarding the quality of teaching schools in the United States. There is a recent post on Alexander Russo's This Week in Education written by Paola Sztajn and Michael Maher from North Carolina State College of Education that cautions against such generalizations. This warning is important especially for a study like the one above.
Maher: The Fallacy of Generalized Mediocrity
North Carolina State University received only two stars for its education programs.
In fairness to the the Teacher Prep Review, the following is highlighted in the report:
The meaning of program ratings in the Teacher Prep Review is so important and so easily misconstrued that we are going to convey it in bold text:
The NCTQ Teacher Prep Review evaluates what a program itself adds in the way of solid training—nothing more, nothing less. Low-performing programs can, and indeed often do, graduate teachers who end up being effective.The bottom line, however, is this: Not being able to apply all standards to the schools in the study justifies a great deal of doubt regarding the conclusions and findings of the study. How meaningful or representative the study is depends on the completeness of data. Only one standard (selection criteria) appears to be complete. This is the standard that measures the quality of students entering these schools of education. With this standard, only 26% of schools are accepting students who belong to the lower half of college students. 73% are taking the brighter half. Sztajn and Maher are correct.
Programs that earn three- or four-star ratings require coursework and clinical practice that make their teacher graduates better prepared to handle classroom responsibilities than they would have been without such preparation.
A program’s low rating does not suggest that many of its graduates don’t go on to become capable teachers. What the
low rating does suggest is that the program isn’t adding sufficient value, so that someone who wants to become a teacher would be better off investing time and tuition dollars elsewhere. In fact, there are undoubtedly plenty of great teachers who graduate from weak programs, perhaps because of innate capabilities, perhaps because they are lucky enough to be assigned to a talented classroom mentor during student teaching. But in weak programs, such positive outcomes are happenstance, not the norm. When positive outcomes are only happenstance, a teacher candidate’s path to competency is left largely to experience in the classroom, the help of teacher colleagues, and the interventions of the school district.
Many of them were among the top students in their high schools. Their average score on the SAT was above 1100 and they had an average weighted GPA of 4.4. Further, they have college GPAs above 3.0 and many graduate magna cum laude (GPA above 3.5).I have met teachers in the Annandale school where my son is enrolled who are only in their second year of teaching. And I am very impressed. Their knowledge of both content and pedagogy exceeds my expectations. These new teachers are so much aware of psychological, emotional, social, and physical disabilities in children. These new teachers know very well the challenges inside the classroom, challenges that decades ago when I was student, were not even imagined.
"After all, only those who can and know teach. And it takes those who produce knowledge to teach teaching."
I choose the latter, the one in bold....