When states as different as Massachusetts and Iowa both move to reform teacher prep, you know that the issue has really begun to take wing.
Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville recently announced the establishment of a special advisory group to design "21st century" teacher preparation for the Bay State. And today we hear word that Iowa's Governor Branstad wants the state board of education to work on the issue as well.
There are some fairly straightforward steps that each state could take to shore up their pipelines of new teachers. Massachusetts should follow the example of Illinois by establishing high admissions standards for aspiring teachers. And it should make sure student teachers learn from real pros by placing them with teachers who are actually effective. As for Iowa, the state should strongly consider requiring all teachers to take rigorous subject-matter licensing tests.
In his comments to the state board, Governor Branstad noted that there's "some fear and trepidation" about teacher prep reform. But it also seems to have come into vogue, with the Council of the Chief State School Officers, the U.S. Department of Education and the newly formed teacher preparation accrediting body, CAEP, all looking at ways of raising the bar of quality. Here's hoping that failing to address teacher prep becomes as unfashionable as wearing white after Labor Day.