Teacher Prep News Round-Up: November 9

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By far the most thought-provoking piece on teacher prep in the past few weeks comes from the keyboard of Marc Tucker, executive director of the National Council on Education and the Economy (NCEE). Tucker has long argued that the US should follow the lead of high-performing countries and raise admissions standards and the overall rigor of teacher preparation.

Doing so, he acknowledges, might reduce the number of new teachers. But in the aggregate, the country is producing far more teachers than we need -- even with the retirement wave of baby-boomers.

On these points, we completely agree (see here and here).

What makes this particular piece stand out is Tucker's explanation for why we don't have the new teachers our students need. K12 education leaders very much want higher admissions standards for teacher candidates, but are loathe to raise the salaries of new teachers. Ed school deans by and large worry that raising admissions standards may reduce enrollment and force painful decisions about faculty size. Perhaps if states and districts did not provide automatic salary bumps for teachers with masters degrees -- which have zero impact on student learning on average -- they might be able to better compensate new teachers. And raising admissions standards would almost certainly raise the prestige of teacher education.

Teacher Quality: Who's on Which Side and Why (Education Week, 11/2/12)

We won a case in Minnesota last week which allows us to get the syllabi we need for our Teacher Prep Review while simultaneously affirming the intellectual property rights of the faculty who created them.

Minnesota Colleges Must Turn Over Education Syllabi to National Council on Teacher Quality, Allow for Duplication, Court Rules (Huffington Post, 11/2/12)

Tennessee's teacher prep report card (which uses a value-added model to determine the relative impact of teacher preparation programs on new teacher effectiveness) came out last week. Overall, the Memphis Teacher Residency program fared well, as did Teach for America. Still, given that so many programs either produce too few teachers to be accurately evaluated with this model or produce teachers very close to the average level of effectiveness, it's clear that holding teacher prep accountable, just like holding teachers accountable, is going to take observation of teacher training as well as the use of objective measures of the learning of students of new teachers.

Memphis Teacher Residency, Teach for America outshine many college programs (The Commercial Appeal, 11/1/12)

Strong training in classroom management could potentially make a difference in teacher effectiveness and retention -- not to mention student suspension rates. (We'll be looking closely at training in classroom management in our Teacher Prep Review.)

Classroom Management: A Suspension Alternative (Education Week, 10/30/12)

We missed this when it was announced: In September, Emory University decided to shutter its Division of Education Studies (i.e., the ed school) along with several other programs. All current students in these departments will be able to finish their degrees, but no new students will be accepted. Noting in a letter that the "foundation of a great college . . . [is] academic eminence," Dean of the College Robin Forman said these tough decisions would ensure that Emory would remain a top-flight institution.

Emory Shuts Down Departments (Emory Wheel, 9/14/12)

--Arthur McKee