The year of teacher prep

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As we gear up for tomorrow's release of the next edition of the State Teacher Policy Yearbook, which focuses on state policies impacting teacher preparation, we're really glad to be able to announce some important new endorsements of our Teacher Prep Review.

Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced its support of our effort. In a statement accompanying the endorsement, Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education and now a senior counselor to the Chamber, wrote: 

"NCTQ's effort to shine a light on the best practices around the country -- and to use those best practices to help other programs improve, is exactly the approach we need to ensure that future teachers are getting exactly the training they need to be successful leaders in the classroom."

But that's not all. Last week we also received word that Mark Murphy, Delaware's Secretary of Education, and Michael Williams, Texas Commissioner of Education, also endorsed the Review. And the new Florida Commissioner of Education, Dr. Tony Bennett, "re-upped" his endorsement, having done so previously as Indiana's state chief. That brings us up to 20 current and former state school chiefs in support of our effort to bring transparency to the programs preparing tomorrow's teachers.

More of the main customers of teacher prep, the district superintendents who hire their graduates, have also come on board:

Thomas Ahart, Des Moines Public Schools
Dr. Jim Browder, Anchorage Public Schools
MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Dr. Bernadeia Johnson, Minneapolis Public Schools
Mr. Dwight D. Jones, Clark County School District
William Kowba, San Diego Unified School District
Dr. Linda Lane, Pittsburgh Public Schools
Mary Ronan, Cincinnati Public Schools
Dr. Anthony Smith, Oakland Unified School District

All told, we now have 82 district superintendents endorsing the project.

Two nonprofit organizations working to improve public education recently joined 64 others across the country who have endorsed the Review:

Children's Education Alliance of Missouri
Better Education for Kids (New Jersey)

With the release of the Yearbook tomorrow and the Review in a few months, policymakers and the public will have a wealth of information about the institutions that train most of the new teachers in the country and the policies that regulate them. There are definitely some good things happening, but there's also a lot of work to do. And now that teachers are increasingly being held accountable for how much their children learn, it's become even more urgent to equip them to be classroom ready from day one. Here's hoping that 2013 turns out to be the year of teacher prep.