The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

48° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    New Standards in Teacher-Training Programs

    Colleges that train teachers should raise academic standards for students andalter curriculums to emphasize content over pedagogical theory, the U.S. EducationDepartment said Tuesday in a report to Congress on the quality of teachers inthe United States.

    The secretary of education, Roderick R. Paige, released the report ‘#151; titled’Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary’#146;sAnnual Report on Teacher Quality’ ‘#151; at the department’#146;s TeacherQuality Evaluation Conference here.

    The report, which was required by Congress as part of the 1998 reauthorizationof the Higher Education Act, calls for a major transformation of the systemthat trains the nation’#146;s teachers, including the imposition of rigorousacademic standards in subject areas, the elimination of ‘cumbersome requirementsnot based on scientific evidence,’ and increased efforts to attract candidatesfrom different professions who have expertise in a subject area but do not meetthe traditional criteria for teacher certification.

    Current education approaches are overly focused on pedagogical style ratherthan on content, according to the report, allowing teachers without thoroughsubject knowledge to enter the classroom.

    Teachers should pass rigorous exams in the subjects they plan to teach beforethey begin their careers, the report says.

    ‘All states need to take a hard look at who is qualified to teach andwho is not,’ Mr. Paige said in a speech at the conference. He called forthe removal of barriers that prevent qualified candidates from becoming teachers.He urged states to increase teacher salaries and consider ‘alternate routes’of teacher certification, like the Teach for America and the Troops to Teachersprograms.

    The future of teacher training, according to the report, should follow theexample of these alternative programs rather than traditional education-schoolmethods. ‘There is little evidence that education-school coursework leadsto improved student achievement,’ the report says.
    The department’#146;s report was based on a wide range of data submitted bystates to the Department of Education last fall under Title II of the HigherEducation Act.

    The federal law called for states to rank colleges by the percentage of theirteacher-education students who pass certification exams, to describe state standards,and to identify those teacher-training programs considered ‘low performing.’The law required the Education Department to analyze the state data and reporton it to Congress.

    Both the federal report and the conference on teacher quality, which continuesthrough Thursday, are new this year and are intended to be repeated annually.

    The Education Trust, a Washington research and lobbying group, released itsown analysis of those state reports on Monday, concluding that the data providedby many states was ‘inconsistent, incomplete, and utterly incomprehensible.’

    The group’#146;s director, Kati Haycock, said its analysis ‘suggestedthat you can’#146;t really tell from the data that most states submitted whetherteacher ed is strong or weak.’

    The gaps in the state data, she said, are ‘at best misleading and at worstdownright whitewashing a serious problem.’ For instance, only one teacher-preparationprogram was classified as ‘low performing’ in the Title II data report,which Ms. Haycock called a drastic understatement.
    ‘Everybody knows there’#146;s more than one out there that’#146;s doinga pretty lousy job,’ she said.

    In a news briefing after his remarks at the conference, Mr. Paige said thatensuring that states supply clear and accurate data is a ‘source of deepconcern.’

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *