A Measured Approach to Improving Teacher Preparation


A Measured Approach to Teacher PreparationTeacher preparation programs are pumping out 300,000
teachers a year, many of whom enter classrooms ill-prepared and ineffective. This
Education Sector policy brief outlines the major criticisms of the current
teacher-prep system: It doesn’t heed the labor needs of states and districts,
nor does it offer sufficient focus on practical skills or rigor in selecting
candidates and conferring degrees. The brief then outlines a three-part
strategy to improve teacher preparation—with each of the recommendations
pointed directly to the federal government. While the authors readily admit
that the “legal and political capacity of the U.S. Department of Education to
force all 50 states to simultaneously build strong accountability systems…has
been limited,” they believe their outlined “new paradigm” will extricate
federal policy from its current muddle. First, create a new federal framework
for evaluating and enhancing teacher preparation programs. Second, establish a
revised set of competitive grants to encourage states to assess and revamp
their programs by building off the Teacher Quality Partnership Grants and
School Improvement Grants programs. And third, streamline financial aid
programs to improve quality of the teacher workforce. While the authors’ push
for outcomes-based accountability requirements and their recommendations for
collecting and using data are admirable, their naive faith in Uncle Sam’s
ability to cause these policy changes to occur is disheartening, to say the

Chad Aldeman, Kevin Carey, Erin Dillon, Ben
Miller, and Elena Silva, “A
Measured Approach to Improving Teacher Preparation
,” (Washington, D.C.: Education
Sector, 2011).