National Review Myth Buster #1: No bias on the basis of state regulations

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Our National Review of Teacher Prep is well under way.  We've been working hard to coordinate with colleges, universities, and other state-based stakeholders to advance the review.  In spite of this outreach, myths and misrepresentations about our standards, methodology and motivations persist. Here we will be setting the record straight— beginning with institutions' concerns about possibly getting a lower rating only because they are complying with a state law or reg that runs counter to our standards. 

For the record:  Institutions will NOT be penalized in the review for complying with any state laws or regs that may conflict with our standards.  We understand that institutions are required to comply with these state parameters.

Here's an example: Connecticut law states that school principals and not teacher preparation programs must have full authority over selecting the cooperating teacher for student teachers.  One of NCTQ's indicators on the student teacher standard requires that the program plays an active role in selecting cooperating teachers.

How do we reconcile these conflicting statements?  In an institution's rating, we would note that Connecticut institutions do not have the final say in the selection of their cooperating teacher BUT we will also make it clear that the source of the problem is the state, not the institution.  In Connecticut, we would not factor performance against that standard in the institution's overall grade.

Does that mean we're giving the state of Connecticut a pass for this policy?  Absolutely not.  Our annually published State Teacher Policy Yearbook identifies where states have gone in the wrong direction.  But institutions themselves won't be punished for a policy that is out of their hands.

Another example comes from our Ed School Essentials: a Review of Illinois Teacher Preparation.  One of the standards in that review was based on institutions' collection and use of output data, including graduates' feedback or principals' assessment of an institution's graduates.  Although we rated institutions on their data collection policy, we did not factor their low performance in any of the final scores. 

Bottom line: We do not penalize institutions for policies that come from the statehouse or department of education.