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Since its founding in 1989, critics both from within and outside the tight-knit Teach for America family have called for the group to reassess its model of recruiting elite young college graduates and career-changers to teach for two years in low-income schools after a brief summer crash course. They have argued that teaching is a complex skill that cannot be adequately taught in such a short period of time. They have said that asking young people to commit just two years to the job sends the wrong message: that teaching is temporary missionary work, not a respectable, lifelong profession.
Andre Perry writes: It’s time to move teacher-training programs to where they belong – the schools. Teachers in training simply don’t spend enough time developing the relationships and skills required to become effective, persisting professionals. Accordingly, teacher-training programs must adjust to give aspiring teachers more time in the actual settings candidates aspire to work in.
Public debate about education often focuses on what children and adolescents are learning, possibly because of education’s formative role in turning young people into adults. A new book, however, calls us to pay more attention to how we teach the teachers. In Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone), out this month from W. W. Norton, Elizabeth Green, editor in chief of the education news organization Chalkbeat, takes aim at one of the education world’s most cherished myths. She attacks the idea that teachers are born, not made.
Stephen Mucher writes: Can teaching be taught? Or are some teachers just born with “the gift” -- an inherent ability to connect with young people and inspire learning? Should we devote resources to training teachers? Or should we simply encourage public policies that identify undergraduates who already posses the knack for teaching?
An education think tank says its comprehensive survey of college teacher preparation programs shows they rarely provide new teachers with solid skills for the classroom. The National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington group that advocates tougher teacher evaluations, said its second annual evaluation of teacher preparation programs, released on Tuesday, found that only 7 percent performed well enough to achieve "top status."
For the third year in a row, education deans from historically Black colleges and universities across the nation gathered at Rutgers University to strategize on how best to strengthen teacher education programs at their respective institutions.
When Endicott College shutters its Center for Teaching Excellence this summer, it will be the latest in a string of such post-recession closures that have rattled the close-knit online community of teaching and learning center directors and employees. But even as each closure reminds instructional specialists that their profession is one in flux -- and that not all centers will survive an era of smaller budgets and the perception among some that technology can stand in for good teaching -- leaders in the field say that it is growing over all, and that many centers are thriving.
The U. S. Department of Education announced in the Federal Register that $35 million will be available for Teacher Quality Partnership Grants focused on STEM educator preparation. An estimated 20 grants will be awarded between $1 and $2 million each. There is a 100% match expected from the partnership.
Data that can be harmful, however, are data that don’t reflect the actual work of teachers and/or programs and that are used punitively rather than for improvement. An example of this kind of accountability practice that is not only unhelpful but also harmful is the Obama administration’s proposal to withhold TEACH grants from students in particular universities on the basis of test scores of students who are taught by their graduates.
The Obama administration is planning to move ahead this summer with a proposal that would tie federal grants for teacher preparation programs, in part, to how well their graduates perform as teachers. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday that his agency would, in the coming months, propose new rules governing teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities.