Here at The Collaborateurs we look forward while working together. I always enjoy finding ways in which our differences have led us on different paths to a common ground. One of the key ways you and I differ is in our route to teaching. I went through an essentially classic teacher preparation graduate program. You entered the field as a New York City Teaching Fellow. My undergrad was in sculpture yours in computer science. I entered the field having been a substitute for 2 years and essentially taught myself, through hands on experience, how to manage classrooms. You entered the profession and learned on the ground with support from the NYC fellows. When I went into teacher preparation I had already spent more time in schools than any of my peers because I had completed two 3-month positions as a substitute Head Start teacher. I think that is why I took so much of my course work with a grain of salt. I knew that some of what I was learning would not be valuable. At the same time, there was content I learned during that time, especially in educational psychology, foundations of education, and ethics of teaching that grounded my practice in solid pedagogical theory. There was a great deal I learned that I didn’t know I needed. And yet we, are both effective teachers who have expanded the definition of teacher leader, in small ways, through Innovative Leadership.
The National Council on Teaching Quality Released a report today that essentially casts almost every teacher preparation program in the nation as less than adequate. There were no elementary programs that met the 4 star rating and only four universities (Furman, Lipscomb, Ohio State and Vanderbilt) received that rating for their secondary programs.
The methodology for the report uses documents to come to its conclusion.
From Institutions of Higher Education (IHE)
guidelines (including Teacher Performance
IHEs and/or individual faculty
Teacher candidates or other students at IHE
IHE– District correspondence
Graduate and employer surveys
State data on IHE performance
IHE demographic data
K-12 school districts
Websites and reports provided by K-12 school
districts, state and/or federal agencies
There was no direct observation, value-added measurement of graduates, or teacher retention statistics considered. It does not acknowledge the complex context of effective teacher preparation. I think the least helpful part of this report is that it addresses teacher preparation as it is currently implemented in comparison to the current educational landscape. I think what would be more helpful would be to define a vision for what teacher preparation could become and highlight some examples of institutions headed in that forward thinking direction. That’s what we did when we created the report, Teaching 2030: Leveraging Teacher Preparation 2.0. It acknowledges in it’s title that this is just the second generation of teacher prep reform. We go on to describe what could be a vision for teacher prep 3.0 and it is exciting. From MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to blended learning and from urban residencies to performance assessments it is a forward looking document. NCTQ whines in its report about the uncooperativeness of the majority of IHEs. It described in detail how it was frustrated by the ways in which IHEs boycotted their efforts. I suspect that this disagreeableness was brought on by the lack of focus on what matters in teacher preparation creating successful teachers who create student gains in their classrooms. To me this document is more of a way for those interested in de-professionalizing teaching to offer “evidence” that supports a bill in congress that would essentially open up teacher preparation to a charter school process in which any organization can create an academy for teacher preparation. As NCTQ looks back at teacher prepartion and finds fault CTQ (THE Center for Teaching Quality) looks forward to a stronger profession.