The nation's back pages are putting teacher prep on the front burner

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It's not often that the topic of teacher prep gets a full-scale editorial, so when two get published in the space of a few days we sit up and take notice.

Last Friday, The Oklahoman weighed in on our upcoming Teacher Prep Review. The editorial board supports our call for higher admissions standards for teacher prep, a key factor in the success of high-performing countries, and found it troubling that many programs seem to let new teachers "figure it out as they go along." We're particularly keen on the editorial's bottom line: Raising standards "could . . . ensure that higher-quality applicants enter those schools [of education] and then get better training before entering classrooms and affecting children across Oklahoma."

On Sunday, the editorial board of the Santa Fe New Mexican heralded the effort -- called a "five- to 10-year plan" by the University of New Mexico's provost -- to transform its College of Education. The state's flagship institution is embarking on a national search for a dean, looking to strengthen student teaching and seeking input from the community (which presumably includes its main customers, New Mexico's school districts) on what new teachers should be able to do. The editorial board suggests the school seek out what's already working across the country. We hope the exemplars that we will identify in the Review will prove useful to the University of New Mexico as it moves ahead with its effort.

More and more people are affirming the central importance good teacher preparation plays in supporting teachers and the profession as a whole. The Santa Fe New Mexican editorial puts it well: "Countries where children excel in learning respect teaching, putting educators up there with doctors, lawyers and engineers. That means better pay but also comprehensive standards and professional training."