Following the release of the 2010 Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs
, concerns about traditional teacher preparation in Tennessee inspired the state develop the Ready2Teach
initiative. The initiative aims to ensure that the majority of the state's teacher candidates receive additional exposure to subject-area content over the first three years of college and then complete a yearlong student teaching residency.
While this type of state-level reform
is very encouraging and we hope that more states will follow Tennessee's
lead, it's important to get the fundamentals right. For example, as highlighted in our Student Teaching in the United States
report, the vast majority of teacher preparation programs do not play an active role in selecting mentor teachers who have two critical characteristics: proven effectiveness as instructors (as measured by student performance) and proven capability as mentors. In such circumstances, extending student teaching placements from one semester to two may be of little value in improving teacher prep.