The Slow March

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This week the Department of Education released The Secretary?s Third Annual Report on Teacher Quality, which was a big-picture description of where teacher quality programs stand. While the more explanatory portions of the report rehashed old wisdom and evidence, the meat of the publication gave a significant helping of up-to-date data (through 2003). Here are a few highlights:

As of 2003 year-end, 8 additional states had added a requirement that all teachers earn a content degree for initial teacher certification, leaving 12 states and the District of Columbia still not requiring such a degree.

Less progress was made on the assessment front, though less progress was needed. Only Nevada added the requirement of some kind of licensing test, still leaving 7 states that do not require any form of a test (though Alabama just moved over to the plus column making the number of states now 6; see below).

Some slow progress was made on states adding academic content to their licensing tests. Since 2001, 4 states have added the requirement but there are still a whopping 18 states pretending that the NCLB deadline doesn't loom large on the horizon.

States continue to set their pass rates on tests so low that teacher preparation programs appear to be doing an incredible job. Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon and West Virginia all reported that 100% of their teacher candidates passed their licensing exams.

A number of states reported that they had no viable alt-cert program, including Alaska, Arizona, DC, Iowa, Rhode Island, West Virginia and most puzzling Pennsylvania, as the Keystone State was ostensibly the first state to adopt the American Board alt-cert route.