The transparency imperative

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"Accountability and answerability lie at the heart of a fair public institution." 

This quote comes from the University of Missouri student newspaper editorial board, which published a piece recently about NCTQ's effort to get basic documents from their institution for the Teacher Prep Review. The Missouri Students Association had already long passed a resolution to create a syllabus repository, in response to NCTQ having to resort to legal action against their campus when the open records request we'd submitted was ignored.

If nothing else, having to battle publicly approved institutions for data about their teacher training programs has unearthed confusion and irritation on the part of the institution's students.  Here are some common refrains we've heard:

  • What do they have to hide?
  • I really wish I'd known more about my school's teacher prep program before signing up.
  • I don't understand their argument.
  • What a waste of money! (in response to university's litigation)
  • Even if they disagree with the findings, how in the world can they prevent access to these documents?

Talented and motivated aspiring teachers, in high school now or already on college campuses, are first in line for more information about teacher training programs. Schools of education that ensure program and course requirements are accessible will easily tap into this engaged group. Given rising college-debt fears and a growing understanding of the overproduction of teachers though, more guarded institutions, by comparison, may struggle.