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In a stark about-face from just a few years ago, school districts have gone from handing out pink slips to scrambling to hire teachers. Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.
Cory Koedel & Matthew Di Carlo write: In the long term, we are very receptive to, and indeed optimistic about, the idea of outcomes-based accountability for teacher preparation programs (TPPs). In the short to medium term, however, we contend that the evidence base underlying the Education Department’s regulations is nowhere near sufficient to guide a national effort toward high-stakes TPP accountability.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, headed by one of the most visible critics of teacher-education programs, is creating its own graduate school and research center in the field in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Pasi Sahlberg writes: When the going gets tough in our wealthy societies, the powers-that-be often choose quick fixes. In search of a silver bullet instead of sustained systemic improvement, politicians turn their eyes on teachers, believing that asking them to do more with less can compensate for inconvenient reductions in school resources. With super teachers, some of them say, the quality of education will improve even with lesser budgets.
National University officials and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford have announced a collaborative of universities that will help disseminate free programs about student development and achievement to classrooms around the country. National University President Michael Cunningham said the school will work in collaboration with Long Island University and seven other schools to implement the Sanford Harmony program for students and Sanford Inspire program for teachers.
They say it’s a model that has never been tried before in education: A private college, Concordia University, partnering with an impoverished public school, Faubion School (PK-8), to build a joint state-of-the-art facility that will house both. It’s called the 3 to PhD Initiative, and it’s happening in Northeast Portland. A new $43 million, three-story building will weave the two organizations together so tightly that the college dean and the school principal will share an office wall.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed major changes to teacher evaluations in New York. The changes emphasize student scores on standardized tests as a way to rate a teacher’s performance. It is a trend that is popping up across the country, raising concerns among teachers, administrators and public school parents, some of whom are refusing to let their children take the exams. If this approach is not the way to go and yet American students are still academically behind their peers in other countries, how do we ensure and improve teacher quality such that student success is a given? Read this New York Times debae on improving teacher quality.
The Baker College teacher preparation program has earned national initial accreditation for five years by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This endorsement is based on principles set by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) that support the preparation of competent, caring and qualified professional educators.
Kevin Basmadjian writes: As a nation and a state, we have clearly failed to address the inequalities that disproportionally impact many urban school districts where kids are poor and segregated. Sadly, for the first time in 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students now come from low-income families. But instead of addressing this crisis, we have demonized teachers for failing to solve problems our government cannot, or will not, solve.
On January 30, NAICU submitted comments to the Department of Education on the proposed regulations for teacher preparation programs. NAICU’s comments reflect its concerns about federal over-reach into state and institutional responsibilities to prepare, certify, and license teachers for our nation’s K-12 schools.