NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Unqualified Teachers Accused Of "Malpractice"

October 25, 1999

The largest association of America's colleges and universities is issuing a harsh report on the nation's teachers, accusing unqualified teachers of "publicly sanctioned malpractice." College presidents are urged in the report to place the education of teachers at the top of their agendas.

Here are some of the charges against current teachers being leveled by the American Council on Education in its new report, "To Touch the Future: Transforming the Way Teachers are Taught."

  • Nationwide, more than half of students in 7th through 12th grade were recently taught physical science by unqualified teachers.
  • Only one in five teachers feels prepared to integrate technology into the classroom.
  • When they were students, elementary school teachers typically took less challenging courses and performed less well on standardized tests than their peers.
  • The report recommends an outside agency audit of all 1,300 teacher-education programs in the country -- such as is required now for medical and law schools.

Less than half those programs receive independent accreditation at present, the report said.

The report calls teacher training the responsibility of the entire university. The council's president, Stanley O. Ikenberry, commented that for most colleges and universities, and for most presidents, "the education of teachers has not been on their radar screens."

An official of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education commented that his members might be skittish about outside auditors, but would appreciate the call for a campus-wide approach to their work.

Source: Jodi Wilgoren, "Harsh Critique of Teachers Urges Attention to Training," New York Times, October 25, 1999.


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