EDUCATING SCHOOL TEACHERS
September 26, 2006
The vast majority of the nation's teachers are prepared in programs that have low admission and graduation standards and cling to an outdated vision of teacher education, says Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and former president of Teachers College, Columbia University.
In his report, Educating School Teachers, Levine finds that most education schools have curriculums in disarray and faculty disconnected from classrooms and colleagues.
- About 60 percent of teacher education alumni reported that schools of education did not prepare graduates well to cope with the realities of today's classrooms.
- Less than one-third of principals reported that schools of education prepare teachers very well or moderately well to address the needs of students with disabilities, a diverse cultural background or limited English proficiency.
- Further, fewer than half of principals say education school alumni are very well or moderately well prepared to use technology in instruction, use student performance assessment techniques, or implement curriculum and performance standards.
Levine also lays out a comprehensive action plan to improve teacher education in the United States. Recommendations include:
- Transforming education schools into professional schools focused on classroom practice.
- Closing failing programs, expanding quality programs, and creating the equivalent of a Rhodes Scholarship to attract the best and brightest to teaching.
- Making student achievement the primary measure of the success of teacher education programs.
- Making five-year teacher education programs the norm and designing them to ensure that students have an enriched major in an academic subject area rather than a watered-down version of the traditional undergraduate concentration.
- Shifting the training of a significant percentage of new teachers from master's degree granting-institutions to research universities.
- Strengthening quality control by redesigning accreditation and by encouraging states to establish common, outcomes based requirements for certification and licensure.
Source: Arthur Levine, "Educating School Teachers," The Education Schools Project, September 2006.
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