NAICU Washington Update

A Teacher Ed Bill That Starts to Make Sense

September 25, 2012

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) have introduced the Educator Preparation Reform Act of 2012 to improve quality and accountability for educator preparation programs.  NAICU, as a member of the Higher Education Task Force on Teacher Preparation, supports this legislation. 

The association has worked closely with Reed to ensure that institutions of higher education continue to play a strong role in providing high quality content, pedagogy and clinical practice in our teacher preparation programs.  The bill would also provide both appropriate accountability and the assistance that low-performing programs need in order to improve.  Introduced September 20, S.3582 ensures that colleges' teacher preparation experts will have a voice in reform conversations likely to take place next year, as part of the Higher Education Act reauthorization.  

In improving accountability, the bill reflects emerging professional reforms.  It calls for entities and states to report on admissions standards, clinical preparation requirements, and outcome measures such as job placement, retention and student achievement, where available.   Teacher Quality Partnership Grants would be expanded to include residency programs for teachers and principals, and allow for the professional development of other educators in a school. 

The bill also amends the TEACH grant program.  Eligibility would be limited to juniors, seniors, and master’s degree candidates.  The bill also would restrict TEACH grant eligibility at institutions with teacher preparation programs designated low-performing or at-risk.

The Reed-Honda bill recognizes the improvements teacher preparation programs have made in content, pedagogy, and clinical practice; the increase rigor required to be accepted into teacher preparation programs; and the increased standards that have been established for the profession as a whole.  The bill also recognizes that programs, institutions and states find data useful for program improvement purposes; that multiple measures go into assessing student learning outcomes; and that not all states have the capacity to collect the same type or quantity of data.

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