TPR 2014: Slowly, the teacher prep mountain begins to move

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Ever so slowly, the United States is taking a harder look at how its teacher preparation schools are improving the quality of the teachers they produce. 

The signs are everywhere — from proposed federal action to state legislatures and school boards passing new oversight laws and regulations, to a newly marshaled push for stronger accreditation by the institutions themselves. The country is finally waking up to the critical importance of improving teacher preparation quality to produce more classroom-ready teachers.

But as NCTQ Teacher Prep Review 2014 shows, far more needs to be done to expand the pool of teachers properly prepared to meet the challenges of the contemporary American classroom. The graphic below shows the raw scores of the nearly 800 elementary programs fully evaluated in the Review. The mountain of low achievers on the left overshadows the sliver of high achievers on the right, making the distribution resemble a steep dive more than a bell curve. 

Still, there are signs of progress emerging.  It is good news indeed to be able to report some movement, however spotty, given the many attempts to improve teacher preparation that never even got off the ground.