All licensure area programs should be held accountable
for the performance of their graduates
--from the report
The Council of Chief State School Officers issued a report on teacher preparation this week. The report, from the Task Force on Educator Preparation and Entry into the Profession, which was co-chaired by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, calls for all state chief state school officers and leaders of the education systems in their respective states to commit to taking ten actions the committee believes will ensure an education workforce prepared to enter the profession ready to teach and ready to lead.
Titled, "Our Responsibility, Our Promise..." the report is intended to be a public policy crowbar for state school chiefs which focuses on "levers for change" and advocates "highly selective admissions and exit criteria" for teacher candidates along with a set of multi-tiered licensure standards and tests which are designed to lead to the closing of the lowest rated programs. The idea is to use policies on licensure, program approval, and the use of beginning teacher performance data to pound malleable institutions into submission, or oblivion. This is what Commissioner Holliday has referred to when he says that teacher preparation institutions "ought to have some skin in the game."
The report also promises "clear and fair performance rating(s)" for teacher preparation institutions. Clear, I don't doubt. Fair, I greatly doubt. The very idea assumes that colleges can continue to control some meaningful amount of what teachers do in the field. Convince me that's true, and I'll reconsider my position.
I was thinking back to when I was a principal...and imagined a conversation between a newly-hired young teacher and a hard-charging school reformer - just the kind advocated by the report:
Teacher: "Mrs Goodschool, I understand that you want us to do X...but I learned at UK, that that's not the best approach. Dr Bigbrain taught us another way, so instead, I'm going to do Y."
Principal: "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That's a good one. Remind me. Do all UK professors advocate the same approaches?"
Teacher: "Well, no... "
Principal: "Have I asked you to do anything illegal?"
Teacher: "Of course not."
Principal: "Is there some law that requires us to do anything UK says?"
Teacher: "Well, no, but...."
Principal: "Will UK be conducting your evaluation this year? "
Principal: "Well then, perhaps you don't have all of the information you need to make a sound decision about this. Let me mention one more reason why doing X is a good idea. If you follow MY directions, even if it's the opposite of whatever you were taught in college, you get to keep your job. How's that sound?"While some useful ideas are presented, the overall approach is typical of the corporate school reform tactics going on in the P-12 world - applied to teachers and teacher preparation institutions.
It seems pretty clear to me that Teach for America does not, and could not, meet the suggested standards, but something tells me they will get a pass, anyway. Whether or not they are good teachers, TFA kids are good test-takers and that's apparently good enough for quantitatively-obsessed policy leaders these days.
This from the CCSSO
Transforming Educator Preparation and Entry into the Profession
We believe the entry point on the continuum of development for teachers and leaders is the foundation for the remainder of their career, and we must set a level of expectation that will ensure they are ready on day one. We feel strongly that, individually and collectively, chiefs should commit to the following state actions:
1. States will revise and enforce their licensure standards for teachers and principals
to support the teaching of more demanding content aligned to college- and career readiness
and critical thinking skills to a diverse range of students.
2. States will work together to influence the development of innovative licensure
performance assessments that are aligned to the revised licensure standards and
include multiple measures of educators’ ability to perform, including the potential to
impact student achievement and growth.
3. States will create multi-tiered licensure systems aligned to a coherent developmental
continuum that reflects new performance expectations for educators and their
implementation in the learning environment and to assessments that are linked to
evidence of student achievement and growth.
4. States will reform current state licensure systems so they are more efficient, have true
reciprocity across states, and so that their credentialing structures support effective
teaching and leading toward student college- and career-readiness.
5. States will hold preparation programs accountable by exercising the state’s authority
to determine which programs should operate and recommend candidates for licensure
in the state, including establishing a clear and fair performance rating system to guide
continuous improvement. States will act to close programs that continually receive
the lowest rating and will provide incentives for programs whose ratings indicate
6. States will adopt and implement rigorous program approval standards to assure that
educator preparation programs recruit candidates based on supply and demand data,
have highly selective admissions and exit criteria including mastery of content, provide
high quality clinical practice throughout a candidate’s preparation that includes
experiences with the responsibilities of a school year from beginning to end, and that
produce quality candidates capable of positively impacting student achievement.
7. States will require alignment of preparation content standards to PK-12 student
standards for all licensure areas.
8. States will provide feedback, data, support, and resources to preparation programs
to assist them with continuous improvement and to act on any program approval or
national accreditation recommendations.
Data Collection, Analysis, and Reporting
9. States will develop and support state-level governance structures to guide
confidential and secure data collection, analysis, and reporting of PK-20 data and how
it informs educator preparation programs, hiring practices, and professional learning.
Using stakeholder input, states will address and take appropriate action, individually
and collectively, on the need for unique educator identifiers, links to non-traditional
preparation providers, and the sharing of candidate data among organizations and
10. States will use data collection, analysis, and reporting of multiple measures for
continuous improvement and accountability of preparation programs.