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When the 114th Congress convenes, on Tuesday, Republicans will control the Senate for the first time in eight years. In the House of Representatives, they’ll have their largest majority since 1928. What does that mean for higher education? In the spirit of the New Year, here are five predictions for 2015.
On its own, money is unlikely to spark a new idea. And giving professors money to do something they don’t already want to will fall flat, says Mr. Bernstein, of Kansas. If money can help "provide resources to enact something you’d like to do but can’t imagine fitting into your life," he says, "then it’s highly motivating."
Sharon P. Robinson writes: ast week, the U.S. Department of Education released for public comment proposed regulations concerning teacher preparation programs across the country. The proposed rules not only manifest federal overreach but also present an unfunded mandate that would result in a significant fiscal impact at the state and potentially even the local level. In addition, they will draw energy, funding and attention away from innovative programs and practices currently gaining steam in teacher preparation programs across the country.
Valerie Strauss writes: In the latest test-obsessed move by the department, Duncan late last month released draft regulations for colleges of education that call for evaluating these programs in part on how well the students of their graduates do on standardized tests. Yes, Duncan wants education schools to be rated on how well the students of their graduates do on standardized tests, and he is linking some federal aid if the graduates’ students don’t improve on their tests.
Teacher colleges aren’t feeling very thankful for new rules that could make some of their students ineligible for Teach Grants. The proposed rules, which the Education Department announced two days before Thanksgiving, would require states to evaluate teacher-training programs based, in part, on how many of their graduates get and keep jobs and how much their graduates’ future students learn. Only programs deemed effective by their states would be eligible to award Teach Grants, which provide students with up to $4,000 a year.
Some colleges say the National Council on Teacher Quality's latest report on weak teacher preparation programs, called "Easy A's and What's Behind Them," deserves an F. Yet the report's harsh assessment that too many education programs offer easy coursework and easy grades shouldn't be dismissed. Instead, it should act as a guide to create an even more vigorous teacher education program.
Education departments systematically award higher grades than do other academic departments at their universities, according to a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, which links those high grades with a certain type of low-caliber assignment commonly found on the syllabuses of education courses.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education has developed a new, online course on blended learning. Expected to launch this spring, the course is intended for teachers spanning preschool, K-12 and higher education. It comes at a time when a number of state boards of education and school districts are testing new methods of instruction that bring technology into the classroom alongside in-person instruction.
Holley Hamilton, a first-grade teacher in Charlotte, N.C., was considering going back to school for a master’s degree in education last year. Noticing that younger teachers were coming into classrooms armed with new ideas, she figured teacher-preparation programs had advanced significantly in the two decades since she graduated. But then the state government eliminated the automatic 10-percent pay raise given to teachers with master’s degrees. So Ms. Hamilton put her plans on hold. She’s not the only teacher forgoing a master’s degree. Enrollment is down in education schools across the country.
Andre Perry writes: If colleges want to reverse the declining number of teachers of color, create more STEM teachers, and calibrate teacher supply with district demand, then teacher preparation programs need to become less dependent on individuals’ tuition. The current tuition-driven system is incentivizing teacher preparation programs to prioritize quantity over districts’ needs.