Dear Commons Community,
President Obama and Arnie Duncan unveiled a proposal yesterday to regulate teacher preparation progams, saying that too many new K-12 educators are not ready for the classroom.
Under the plan, the federal government would require states to issue report cards for teacher preparation programs within their borders, including those at public universities and private colleges, as well as alternative programs such as those run by school districts and nonprofits such as Teach for America.
The rating systems, which would need approval by the Education Department, would for the first time consider how teacher candidates perform after graduation: whether they land jobs in their subject field, how long they stay and how their students perform on standardized tests and other measures of academic achievement. As reported by the Associated Press:
“Under the rules proposed Tuesday, only training programs deemed to be working well would be eligible to receive money from federal TEACH grants given to prospective teachers who agree to teach in disadvantaged schools. Factors considered include a training program’s success in placing its graduates in jobs, and the success of a teacher’s students on standardized tests.
The TEACH grant program pays up to $4,000 a year to students, and about $100 million is awarded nationwide each year.
“New teachers want to do a great job for their kids, but often they struggle at the beginning of their careers and have to figure out too much for themselves,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.
Schools complain that linking the performance of graduates and their students to the teacher’s alma mater is unfair, and teachers’ unions say it could potentially make it harder to place teachers in schools in high-poverty areas.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the rules use a “test-and-punish” model instead of offering a sustainable solution that raises the bar for the teaching profession.”
Arnie Duncan continues to push an education agenda which has been one based strictly on “do it my way and I give you money” otherwise you get nothing. Weingarten is absolutely right, Duncan has provided little in the way of sustained solutions only carrots and sticks.