Training and Recruitment

Teacher Prep

Since 2004, NCTQ has been examining the nation’s teacher preparation programs, not just making recommendations for improvement, but shining a spotlight on the best.

This work is challenging, as it follows on the heels of many failed attempts to improve this industry going back many decades. The benefits strengthen our resolve. Can you imagine a hundred thousand new teachers starting the school year really ready to teach? We do each day.

A Word from Kate Walsh

Well prepared teachers know their subjects and can apply instructional strategies that are well grounded in research, not folklore or unproven theory. Currently, there are too few programs in the U.S. imparting these basic requirements to new teachers. The programs that do are cause for optimism.


Our inspiration for transforming teacher prep programs dates back a century.

In 1910, Abraham Flexner rated each of the nation’s medical schools, finding merit in only one program in the country. The American Medical Association did not shrink from this challenge, pushing hard to transform U.S. doctors' training into the best in the world. We seek a similarly happy ending for teacher preparation.

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Study after study finds that formally prepared teachers are no more effective than teachers with almost no preparation. Why would teaching be the only profession where preparation adds so little value? It's time to go back to the drawing board.

Applying the best evidence available, our Teacher Prep Review provides programs with a blueprint for adding value.

Teacher Prep Review

Like any sports team, teacher prep programs need to recruit the best available raw talent. Yet many programs admit anyone who applies—a turnoff for higher achieving college students. Coursework is also too easy, with many programs handing out more A's than other majors on campus.

Programs need to signal that teaching is an honor and that it is a very hard job. That's not happening.

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In too many places, the quality of the student teaching experience is left to chance

For student teaching to work, teacher prep programs and schools both must exercise quality control. Only those teacher candidates who have real potential and a genuine interest in teaching should be placed in a real classroom. Only classroom teachers who are themselves great teachers should mentor student teachers. It's not complicated.

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Visit the Teacher Prep Review to see the complete list of the best prep programs across the country.

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