Given that one of NCTQ’s staff members was actually a founding member of Young Education Professionals in the late 1990s, it should come as no surprise that we’re quite simpatico with its membership. But even we were taken aback at the degree of alignment in our views revealed by this survey on what has become a defining issue for us: YEP members think that teacher prep reform is second to only universal pre-k in terms of leverage.
We part ways, however, with YEP’s members in how much hope we hold out for actually effecting reform of teacher preparation. While we’re quite bullish, the 400 YEP members surveyed think it’s unlikely. Indeed, the difference between the perceived impact teacher prep reform could have and the probability members see of it actually occurring – what YEP calls the “potential gap” – was the largest of any of the reforms they surveyed their members about.
There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of work to do. In the first edition of the Review, only 10 percent of the programs we rated made our honor roll, while 78 percent got fewer than two stars on a four star scale. We’re assiduously looking for bright spots as we expand the sample of institutions by more than a third and examine materials 116 institutions sent to us about improvements they have made to their programs since last year. More to come on these trends in June.
We do know, however, that we are moving the needle when it comes to policy change in teacher preparation. For the first time, grades in the teacher prep policy area showed a marked improvement. The graphic below shows that while most states earned a D in policies in the area of teacher preparation in 2009 and 2011, the data from 2013 shows a shift to the B and C grade range. With better state policies in place, institutions of higher education will be forced to improve their teacher prep programs.
[from 2013 State Teacher Policy Yearbook National Summary “Delivering Well-Prepared Teachers State Grade Trends 2009-2013”, p.6]
So don’t give up hope, YEP members. The reform you rightly think will bring us among the biggest bang for the buck is already underway.