Supporting Great Teaching Through Better Teacher Preparation

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Great teachers matter enormously to the learning and the lives of children. Every parent knows it, and study after study proves it.

Unfortunately, teachers, principals and researchers have made clear: too many teacher preparation programs today aren’t equipping teachers with the skills they need to be successful. Teaching is one of the most important and challenging careers, yet new research shows that many teacher preparation programs offer easy A’s instead of rigorous learning

That’s why ED today announced new regulations that will build on momentum to improve teacher training. The proposed regulations will be different than current reporting requirements – which focus almost exclusively on inputs – by establishing meaningful outcome indicators, like employment outcomes, teacher and employee feedback, and student learning outcomes.

The proposed regulations will also:

  • Encourage states to develop meaningful systems to identify high- and low-performing teacher preparation programs across all kinds of programs, not just those based in colleges and universities;
  • Reward only those programs determined to be effective or better by states with eligibility for TEACH grants, which are available to students who are planning to become teachers in a high-need field and in a low-income school, to ensure that these limited federal dollars support high-quality teacher education and preparation; and
  • Offer transparency into the performance of teacher preparation programs, creating a feedback loop among programs and prospective teachers, employers, and the public, and empower programs with information to facilitate continuous improvement.

The regulations would provide significant flexibility for states, allowing them to set performance thresholds and additional performance categories or indicators. Programs would be assessed using a minimum of four performance levels: exceptional, effective, at-risk, or low-performing.

These changes will not only create a new feedback loop among programs and prospective teachers, employers, and the public, but it will also empower programs with better information to facilitate continuous improvement.

Final regulations will be published in Summer 2015. You can learn more about the proposed regulations on our teacher preparation web page, which includes a printable fact sheet and PowerPoint presentation.

Update: The Proposed Rule on Teacher Preparation Issues was published in the Federal Register. Formal comments are due February 2, 2015.

4 Comments

  1. I really like the idea of preparing our teachers better, so that when they walk into their classroom they are ready and able to teach. There are so many different variables to each school district and school expectations. One item that I found when first teaching (awhile ago) was that I had no idea about how to teach the curriculum. In college we were not exposed to various curriculums out there except when doing our student teaching. With the Common Core Standards being adopted by many states it will help a little when first preparing lesson plans. However, I have found that school districts are using the CCSS but also teachers must meet the districts curriculum as well. If the Federal Government wants to dictate what and how teachers deliver lessons then they should provide money for all teachers to be trained in the same way and with the same set of CCSS. When teaching in one district I had the very low of lowest students, the Principal was pleased that he had a body in the classroom but I had no knowledge of their curriculum. I loved the school, students and the administration but the way we were to deliver the curriculum was preplanned by two first year teachers. I was told that lesson planners were no longer used and we were to teacher off the paper we were handed each day that had the daily lessons. They went so far as to tell me what to say, how to say it and the response I was to get from the students. This came directly from their college days when having to write a lesson plan. Colleges need to teach students about the CCSS and how to correctly write lesson plans that can show how students are going to learn and what the outcome hopefully will be. I would love to teach our new students the reality of what they will find when walking into their first or second classroom. I cannot wait to hear what is being proposed for our colleges when preparing teachers.

  2. I have been in higher education for over 30 years. I’ve taught at state universities and private colleges, and I have NEVER seen professors who did not have a degree in education teaching in education departments. We have to stop this finger pointing in education and realize that the negativity surrounding accountability standards is demoralizing and dangerous to the future of education in our country. The new federal standards will do little to improve EPP’s and instead will serve to devalue current programs that are turning out well-prepared and dedicated teachers. Making EPP’s accountable for the standardized test scores of their graduates’ students is ridiculous. Those of us who are trying to encourage our candidates to teach in high needs schools in urban, high-poverty areas will be discredited because the scores will not be as high as those in wealthier districts. If the testing system were more fair, it wouldn’t be a problem. But until we can get politicians and business people who fancy themselves as experts in education to leave the assessments to teachers, none of these so-called reform measures will make a difference. We are looking at the fall of public education, the rise of privatization, and the only people who will benefit will be the wealthy and powerful, as always.

  3. The bottom line is……until the teaching profession is treated as a profession, with much higher salaries….you will not persuade top notch candidates to enter the profession.

  4. It is exciting to see the proposed changes to the teacher prep programs for our future teachers. As an adjunct instructor who teaches in teacher prep programs at two universities and a parent of a student who is now enrolled in a teacher
    prep program at a state university, we should also be focusing our efforts on the quality of our college instructors and professors. Those who are teaching our content/general education courses rarely have education degrees, yet they are preparing our teachers using outdated methodologies such as lectures, grading on a curve, and misaligned curriculum, instruction, and assessment (to name just a few my own student has experienced). Our students who enter our institutions of higher ed are coming from high schools where teachers have received high quality professional learning in how to teach in a two-three hour block of time and while maintaining students’ attention. When they enter a higher ed system where many students are actually paying for their instuction (using their own hard earned summer job funds, I might add) and the methodologies are far worse than what they experienced in high school, they are shocked and disappointed… then the instructor labels the student/s as unmotivated or lazy. The philosophy of a content-driven college professor is that it is the student’s responsibility to stay interested in the course content, even if the instructor has not been schooled in the best practices to keep students engaged. I respectfully ask that you consider imposing on all college instructors who teach future teachers a requirement that all college instructors are highly effective, and that all college instructors understand, know and are able to teach (with proficiency) using high impact instructional strategies consistently and persuasively. Not only would our future teachers benefit from this, but the rest of our students attending our higher education institutions would achieve, too.

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