Who's the mark?

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Our first take on this week's EdWeek commentary by Mark Alter and Gordon Pradl (teacher educators at New York University): It's a refreshingly open-minded challenge to all teacher preparation programs to end their "three-card Monte" -- dealer-programs luring in unsuspecting prospective teacher- marks. On the face of it, they've written a sensible call to conduct empirical research on the exact aspects of programs that lead to teacher effectiveness. And they propose a truce with programs like the Relay School of Education, the new kid on the teacher preparation block, if it joins the crowd on this research.

Our second take? This is not a Kumbaya moment. Nowhere do the authors disclose that Relay, unlike other programs, is not hiding the Red Queen of effective teaching: Relay requires that teacher candidates demonstrate their effectiveness in order to earn a degree and already has a track record of success. Makes us wonder if this seemingly magnanimous proposal aims to undermine Relay by demanding that it connect all the dots between its preparation and its teachers' efficacy. Makes us wonder if they want to make Relay the mark instead of the dealer in a whole new type of teacher preparation game.