It's well known that education schools have some quality control problems--low admission and graduation standards, questionable coursework requirements--but maybe it takes one of their own to really call them on it. If the new State Commissioner of Education for New York, David Steiner (most recently dean of Hunter College's education school), has his way, aspiring teachers in that state will soon have to pass more rigorous content exams, demonstrate that they can perform in front of a class and use data to tailor their lessons to student needs. In order to earn permanent certification, teachers would have to show a demonstrated impact on student achievement.
In addition to changing how teachers are certified, Steiner also wants to link the performance of individual teachers with the ed schools that trained them and allow non-collegiate institutions, like Teach For America and The New Teacher Project, to train teachers without having to set foot in the door of higher education.
The need for New York to improve its positioning for a Race to the Top grant may provide Steiner's bold move with a future, but it's hardly surprising. Steiner's long been critical of teacher preparation to the detriment (at one time) of his career. Let's hope next on his to do list is to overturn the prohibition against using student test scores when deciding whether to award teachers tenure.