Letter to Editor: Teacher Preparation Programs Are Effective and Accountable
The following letter to the editor was published in the Washington Post February 23, in response to the February 20 commentary by the University of Virginia’s Robert C. Pianta, “Teacher Prep Programs Need to Be Accountable, Too.”
Robert C. Pianta vastly oversimplified the narrative about accountability among those who prepare educators.
Educator preparation programs should indeed be accountable, and the profession has been busy creating data tools and processes for accountability. States such as Louisiana, California, and Georgia are working to determine the best ways to use data collected through existing assessments and surveys to document program impact. These systems rely on access to K-12 student achievement data as one indicator.
We support efforts such as the Teacher Quality Partnership grants that create tighter collaboration between K-12 and higher education partners, deeper clinical experiences using the residency model, improved response to workforce needs, induction support for at least two years after program completion, and a 100% financial match.
Teachers and teacher educators want to be part of defining accountability so that their best thinking will serve the public’s interest. Stronger accreditation standards and performance assessments have been designed to answer the essential question of whether new teachers are ready for the job. There’s no more direct measure than one that shows the capacity of candidates to do the work of teaching.
Our work to create accountability metrics continues as we engage with policy makers to assure that those completing educator preparation are ready for the challenges on Day One.
Sharon P. Robinson, Washington