I'll have more to say about my incredibly interesting visit, but thought I'd begin by posting the response to a question I got from one of the program's extremely smart graduate students:
He asked, "With its reviews of teacher preparation, is NCTQ aiming to be the teacher ed version of Consumer Reports, the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?"
I could quickly rule out any similarity to the FTC. NCTQ is not a government entity, so we could never use standards in a regulatory mode. Nor would we ever provide the federal government with a set of standards that we have devised, no matter how much sense they make. (The feds got into enough trouble trying to set standards in the area of reading instruction, in spite of the evidence supporting them.)
I thought Consumer Reports was perhaps the best analogy, as our goal is to provide the public with much better information about ed schools, just as Consumer Reports does in the area of consumer products. However, I couldn't rule out some commonality with the Better Business Bureau either. The Bureau serves as a clearinghouse for good and bad practices so as to nudge business to do better -- and that does pretty well parallel our goals.
We continue to think that consumers (prospective teacher candidates and school districts) do want more information on teacher prep and will use it, and that the institution of teacher education can be improved and wants to do so. So Consumer Reports and Better Business Bureau it is.