CHICAGO • After years of negotiations and input from education interest groups, teachers and their unions, the U.S. Department of Education recently released its revised Teacher Preparation Regulations, designed to help ensure that students get the best new teachers possible.
The idea is that if teacher-preparation programs transparently report on a variety of performance metrics — such as placement and retention rates of teachers in their first three years in the classroom (including in high-needs schools) as well as feedback from new teachers and their employers on the effectiveness of their training — the data will help improve the efficacy of these programs.
And there's no question that they need improvement.
In 2013, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) put out a seminal report that found only 10 percent of 1,200 teacher-preparation programs nationwide were adequately training people to succeed in the classroom. More recently, a 2015 NCTQ report found that standards for training new teachers are inconsistent — even within the same prep programs.
After investigating 13 institutions that offered both undergraduate and graduate degrees in education, the NCTQ found that even on the same campus, some programs allow certain students to graduate with glaring omissions in their training, such as not taking a single course in classroom management or introductory special ed.