Right to Know: An ad campaign for transparency

See all posts
Yesterday NCTQ began placing the following ads in selected college newspapers across the country:

We are launching this ad campaign for exactly the reasons stated: The public has the right to know how publicly approved teacher prep programs (in both public and private institutions), many of whom receive public tax dollars, are preparing public school teachers.

Not to mention that aspiring teachers facing big tuition bills have the right to know if they are going to be well trained.

And let's not forget school districts needing to hire new teachers. They have the right to know which institutions are training teachers to be classroom ready on Day 1 -- and not leaving important training up to the school district.

Many institutions have declined to provide NCTQ with basic information about their teacher prep programs because they don't want this first-of-its-kind review to happen. In response to our open records requests, some public institutions are forcing NCTQ, a nonprofit organization, to buy basic documents like course syllabi and student teaching handbooks, charging fees that far exceed any reasonable expense (sometimes as high as thousands of dollars per hour for collecting the documents). In a few states, we have had to turn to the legal system to force institutions to comply with their own state's sunshine law.

Some college students are also objecting to the non-cooperation of their institutions. The Missouri Students Association Academic Affairs chairman proposed legislation to create a "syllabus repository," responding to the University of Missouri's refusal to turn over syllabi to NCTQ. That resolution was approved on October 11th at a Joint Session Meeting of the Missouri Students Association, the Residence Halls Association, the Legion of Black Collegians and the Graduate Professional Council.

A similar resolution from the University of Maryland Student Government Association was passed by the full faculty Senate with a 58-14 vote this September, and approved by UMD president Wallace D. Loh on September 27th.

Through NCTQ's ad campaign, we are appealing to students on public and private campuses to help by sharing these basic materials in order that we can produce a fair and valid rating of teacher prep programs. We are paying stipends of $25 to $200 for the materials we need (much less than what many institutions are effectively charging).

This important evaluation has been endorsed by 16 state school chiefs, dozens of school superintendents and over 50 education, children, business, and civil rights advocacy groups across 38 states so far -- all committed to improving the nation's public education system and the teaching profession. It is funded by 58 local and national foundations spanning the political spectrum, but also sharing a vision for strong public education. We're keeping no secrets: everything you might want to know about the review can be found on our website.

Please help us spread the word: 

Like us on Facebook.
Tweet using the hashtag #teacherprep.
Send this posting to three college students in your address book.

Kate Walsh