Let the Sunshine In!

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Today, NCTQ announces the launch of a new feature on our web site: Transparency Central. As we proceed with our review of the nation's teacher preparation programs, we have pledged to be as transparent as possible. Our methodology is public. We've held webinars to discuss our approach and will continue to do so. We make public presentations. We answer questions from critics and post information to our web site. And when we've finished our review, we'll be hosting a clearinghouse where anything to do with the review will be posted: all the materials we've collected, specific ratings and the rationales behind them. Most importantly, we'll allow institutions to challenge ratings on our own site.

To do the review, we're asking teacher preparation programs to supply us with a range of basic materials, primarily student teaching manuals and course syllabi. This is the same information that these institutions routinely turn over to state regulators and accrediting bodies, but not publicly released. We think it ought to be, given what's at stake.

Unfortunately, a number of schools have decided not to provide us with this basic information. Many of these schools are public -- supported by taxpayer dollars and approved by state governments to prepare public school teachers. The schools are obligated by law to be transparent with the public about how taxpayer dollars are being spent to prepare teachers for the classroom. And in today's challenging economic times, what is more important than ensuring every dollar in the budget for education is spent efficiently?

After first sending requests for information, we began filing open records requests this month with teacher prep programs that have signaled they will not participate in Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. We'll be posting our requests and correspondence with the schools on the Transparency Central section of the web site so that the public can review our information gathering process.

This isn't Vegas. What happens in teacher prep is everyone's business. NCTQ will be as transparent as we think teacher prep ought to be. So check out the new section and tell us what you think.