Calling the States to Action

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The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has issued a clear call to action on a subject near and dear to our hearts--teacher preparation. A new report outlines a set of state policy recommendations to help ensure that all teachers are "learner-ready" from day one of their careers, focusing on licensure, program approval and data collection, analysis and reporting.

CCSSO calls out states for the huge discrepancy in passing scores on licensure tests. For example, on the Praxis II exams, which use a 100-point scale, the range between the state with the most demanding cut score and the state with the least demanding cut score is 20-30 points. Whether content tests or performance assessments, passing won't be meaningful unless states commit to consistently holding the bar higher.

The report also points out that teacher preparation needs to better align its supply of new teachers to the demands of districts. This means not only developing strategies to address shortages in areas like the STEM fields, but also looking at areas of oversupply (especially in elementary teachers). Action on this front has significant implications, only one of which is the quality of student teaching experiences.

Twenty-five states have already committed to advancing these recommendations, and we'd like to help. Next month, we'll release the latest edition of our State Teacher Policy Yearbook, which will provide each state with a road map to improving its teacher preparation policies. And, of course, in the spring we will release our national Teacher Prep Review. It looks like teacher preparation is going to be a hot topic in 2013.  

N.B: In the interest of full disclosure, NCTQ's Vice President served on the CCSSO Task Force's Expert Advisory Group.