Plans to Improve Teacher Preparation Programs Unveiled
The Obama administration unveiled a plan this week to regulate how the U.S. prepares teachers, stating that too many new K-12 educators are not trained properly or ready for the classroom.
Under the proposal, the government would require states to issue report cards for teacher preparation programs at public universities and private colleges. Alternative programs run by school districts and nonprofits would not be exempt.
For the first time, the rating systems would reflect on how teacher candidates perform after graduation. The system would consider whether they accept jobs in their subject field, how long they stay and how their students perform academically.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters, ”Nothing in school matters as much as the quality of teaching our students receive. We owe it to our children to give them the best-prepared teachers possible.”
The proposed changes will not take effect immediately; states would not be required to issue report cards for teacher programs until April of 2019.
Under the proposal, states would rate programs as “low-performing,” “at-risk,” “effective” or “exceptional.”
Programs receiving ratings of “low-performing” or “at-risk” for two consecutive years will lose federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grants, which give up to $4,000 a year to teacher preparation candidates who consent to work full time for four academic years in high-need fields and struggling schools.
While there is no evidence these regulations will lead to improvement, the proposed plan does seem to be on the right track to prepare our country’s teachers for the reality of the modern day U.S. classroom. It is in everyone’s best interest to train teachers right from the start to ensure our students are getting the best instruction possible from the get go.