Atttracting Talent to the Classroom – 3

To wrap up the year and the discussion on positive trends in teacher preparation, the final question is:  What is happening at the national level to attract top talent to the teaching profession?

  • The Obama administration has fueled the efforts to raise the quality of teaching with plans to revamp reporting requirements for schools of education and hold them accountable for the effectiveness of their graduates in the classroom (see Ed Week’s description of the initiative here). The administration also proposes to competitively fund national, non-traditional teacher preparation programs that have a track record of success (e.g., TFA), through a new SEED (Supporting Effective Educator Development) grant program (details in this Ed Week article).
  • Major reports from national research organizations have called for revamping teacher preparation to require more extensive practical training, and for increased accountability for their graduates’ performance.  See, for example, the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) report, Transforming Teacher Education through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers (2010), which calls for “the education of teachers in the United States to be turned upside down.”

Recently, the largest teacher preparation program in the country did just that.  Arizona State completely revamped its undergraduate teacher education program to require a yearlong apprenticeship, supported by mentor teachers and coursework that complements their classroom experiences. (Read more here).

These promising developments reflect a new commitment – led by the education reform community- to raise the quality of teaching in our public schools. There will be no overnight fixes,  but as the current successful programs expand, we can expect pressure to mount on policy makers to change the way we recruit, prepare and support our teachers. State legislatures, school districts, teachers unions, and institutions of higher education must all play a role in creating the culture that will attract our nation’s very best to our most critical profession.

Here’s to a 2012 full of good things for kids and continued progress in getting great talent into our nation’s classrooms.

Happy New Year!

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