Lynn M. Gangone and Renee A. Middleton advocate for education preparation in recent Ed Week articles
Don’t Blame Admissions Standards
To the Editor:
Marc Tucker has helped us better understand education systems around the world. Unfortunately, in his recent opinion blog post ("Teachers Colleges: The Weakest Link," November 1, 2018), he demonstrates less understanding of America’s teacher-preparation programs than he has about programs abroad.
The contention that educator-preparation programs (EPPs) have no admission standards is false. Since the 1990s, virtually every state and most accrediting agencies have required admission criteria for EPPs that are greater than those for university admission. Further, there are exit standards since EPPs are accountable for producing teachers who can meet state licensure requirements.
EPPs regularly counsel students to find another major who are not on track to meet those state requirements, since it is in neither the student’s nor the program’s best interest for anyone to graduate who cannot become licensed to teach. Colleges of education are working hard to ratchet up the intensity and quality of academic and clinical preparation. However, they exist in a broader ecosystem with powerful countervailing forces.
For example, low teacher compensation is making headlines and dissuading young people from choosing teaching as a profession. Enrollment in EPPs is on the decline, reducing resources for colleges of education and prompting states to lower program approval and licensure standards to meet school personnel needs. Three states no longer require a bachelor’s degree in order to become a licensed teacher.
Lower standards reinforce the notion that teaching is a low-status job that anyone can do with little preparation. In this post and throughout his career, Tucker has made forceful arguments for elevating the pay and stature of teachers. We hope that he will abandon attacks on educator preparation and work with us to strengthen our system of education.
Lynn M. Gangone
President and CEO
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
Ed. Colleges Provide Value
November 13, 2018
Ed. Colleges Provide Value
To the Editor:
In a critique of teacher education ("Teachers Colleges: The Weakest Link," November 1, 2018), Marc Tucker states that "schools of education are the weakest link in our public education system." He writes, "It is not clear to me what our future teachers learn in their schools of education that is of any value to them when they begin teaching."
I welcome constructive criticism but, I must say, I found little that was constructive or accurate in this blog post.
Community colleges and colleges of education provide immense value and opportunities for those who aspire to be teachers. As a dean of a college of education, I meet regularly with other deans of colleges of education from around the country through The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. I have witnessed firsthand how today’s colleges of education are preparing teachers quite differently than they did a decade ago. In a national strategy to prepare effective teachers, AACTE and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation continued to support a reimagined clinical model of educator preparation.
This clinical model requires students to co-teach with established professionals and complete sustained, yearlong clinical experiences in teaching. Instead of relying on course-based outcomes, teacher candidates and pre-K-12 teachers are actively and positively impacting their students’ learning. The clinical model can’t work without the support of teachers, principals, and superintendents. The Report of the AACTE Clinical Practice Commission frames the definition of clinical practice and offers several model protocols. This is a framework to build, maintain, and sustain a clinical partnership, which joins the needs of a college or university and local pre-K-12 schools in the preparation of highly effective educators to meet the needs of all learners.
AACTE features model teacher education programs in its Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series. The spotlight series aims to not only celebrate successful programs but also provide models of exemplary practice for other institutions in the nascent stages of partnership formation.
Tucker is right in recognizing the challenges that the entire system of education faces. Playing the blame game is easy, but it is also unproductive. I invite him to spend some time in today’s schools and colleges of education. I think he would find, as I do, there is a lot that has changed and much to be proud of.
Renée A. Middleton
Dean of the Patton College of Education
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President and CEO, AACTE