Teacher Prep Review 2014: Overcoming the Capacity Gap

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With all the big education stories coming out in the past few weeks, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees: the country now expects a lot more of its teachers.

In spite of recent legislation in South Carolina and Oklahoma rejecting the Common Core State Standards, 42 states and the District of Columbia are moving ahead.

Further, 35 states now require that student achievement be a significant or the most significant factor in teacher evaluation. 20 states require that student achievement be factored into tenure decisions.

It’s these heightened expectations that make the Teacher Prep Reviewwhose second edition will be released this Tuesday, June 17 – all the more imperative. The training that teachers receive has to set them up for success.

Last year’s edition of the Review revealed a troubling “capacity gap” between what teachers were being expected to do and what their training equipped them to do. Most new teachers weren’t getting the preparation in reading instruction, math and content that the new student learning standards demand. Indeed, new teachers don’t feel like they can even get to the business of teaching and learning because they haven’t been taught the most basic classroom management techniques.

This year’s edition of the Review encompasses a lot more programs. We’ve moved to a system of ranking programs to make it easier to find the best bets in teacher preparation. We’re also taking a look at some of the largest alternative certification programs in the country to get a sense if this sector does any better by its candidates.

Is the capacity gap closing? Stay tuned on Tuesday to find out.