Archive for the 'education schools' Category

June
19th 2013
NCTQ’s Report on Teacher Prep Programs Must Do More Than Rattle a Few Cages

Posted under Edublogging & education schools & Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & reading & Research & Teachers

Any large-scale effort at serious reform or innovation in K-12 education eventually leads to the vexing question of what to do about teacher preparation, ensuring there are enough effective instructors available. The consensus is fairly widespread that broadly speaking, today’s schools of education just aren’t getting the job done.

Released this week, the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Prep Review has been a long time in coming. The large-scale analysis of more than 1,100 teacher prep programs, in painting a bleak picture, has stirred up lots of debate and discussion. Here follow some of the highlights: Continue Reading »

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January
24th 2013
Yes, Colorado Has Lots of Room to Improve How We Prepare Teachers for Job

Posted under education schools & Grades and Standards & PPC & Research & Teachers

It sure seems like Colorado education policies are getting graded quite a bit these days. Last week we earned a B from the Center for Education Reform for the quality of our charter school law, which placed us in the top 10 among states. Two weeks ago Students First looked at a whole range of policies to rank us 9th nationally but give us only a C.

Another group not grading on the curve is the National Council on Teacher Quality — better known as NCTQ. The picture isn’t pretty at all. The release of the 2012 edition of the State Teacher Policy Yearbook focused in on a weak area for Colorado: teacher preparation.

Last year, rating states on a whole gamut of instructional policies — including the identification and retention of effective teachers — Colorado pulled down a modest C. Our state’s worst of the five areas was in how well we provide for preparing teachers to do the job: D-minus.

So I guess we should be mildly upbeat that a year later Colorado now has a D in teacher preparation policies? Not exactly. Some just seem to blame the group giving out the grades: Continue Reading »

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January
30th 2012
Colorado Has Made Some Progress, But a C for Teacher Policy Isn’t Good Enough

Posted under Denver & education schools & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & PPC & Research & Teachers

Now that School Choice Week is over, and I’m able to relax a bit after my manic phase of hyperactivity, it’s back to the (fun) edublogging grind. Right out of the gate, it’s time to tackle an important education reform item that emerged last week but falls a little bit outside the school choice arena. A January 25 Denver Post story by Yesenia Robles proclaimed that “Colorado gets a C for teacher policies”:

Colorado has developed good policy for dismissing unqualified teachers, but not for increasing the pool of well-prepared teachers entering the workforce, according to a report out today.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a national nonprofit, released the report today grading every state’s teacher policy. Colorado averaged a C letter grade, up from a D+ in 2009, but was ranked as No. 12 among the states making the most progress.

Yes, this is the same respected NCTQ I’ve talked about before regarding their study of teacher preparation programs. In fact, my Education Policy Center friends last year recorded an iVoices podcast with NCTQ’s Sandi Jacobs about the then-latest version of their State Teacher Policy Yearbook. Continue Reading »

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January
5th 2012
Rick Hess’ Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings Point to My Indirect Influence

Posted under Denver & education schools & Independence Institute & Just For Fun & PPC & Research & School Choice & School Finance & Teachers

From time to time you’ll see me write about or reference the work of scholars who research the nitty gritty of education policy. These are the high falutin’ number-crunchers with big degrees who work at universities. Well, the venerable Rick Hess has revealed his 2012 Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings to measure more than 100 American academics’ contributions to last year’s education policy public debates.

Some are better known than others, which the list helps to sort out. To build out his index, Hess used Google Scholar ratings, book and article contributions, mentions in the education press and newspaper, and even mention in blogs (!) to lay out the rankings. Many — for good or ill — have graced the postings of Ed Is Watching (listed in rank order): Continue Reading »

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October
4th 2011
Inquiring Minds: Is Major Education Reform About Ready to Give Iowa a Try?

Posted under education schools & Governor & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & PPC & School Accountability & Teachers

In this musical play my grandma told me about, called The Music Man, there’s a song that strongly suggests people from Iowa are stubborn, and (kinda tongue-in-cheek) tells listeners that “you really ought to give Iowa a try.” Back in January, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow noted how one-time Colorado education innovator Jason Glass had been hired to run Iowa’s state education department.

What’s the connection? The Des Moines Register reports today that Gov. Terry Branstad and his education man Glass have proposed “the most sweeping and comprehensive changes to Iowa’s education system in the state’s history.” Reported areas of major change include: Continue Reading »

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August
24th 2011
Rick Hess: Why Don’t Unions Stand Up for Effective Principals, Ed School Reform?

Posted under Education Politics & education schools & Innovation and Reform & PPC & Principals & School Finance & Teachers

Time is of the essence today, so one of my Education Policy Center friends will simply take a quick moment and point you to a very insightful blog passage about the dynamics of education reform. Take it away, Dr. Rick Hess:

…it strikes me as ludicrous for the unions to sit quietly by and share the blame for timid, tepid leadership, or when unions passively take the blame for weak teachers when teacher preparation programs produce graduates of dubious merit. In doing so, teachers and unions become complicit. The problem, I think, is a variation on Ted Sizer’s famed “Horace’s Compromise.” Teacher unions, superintendent and principal associations, schools of education, and school boards avoid calling each other out on such things, while focusing their energies on presenting a united front demanding more money and deference from taxpayers and policymakers. By the way, this phenomenon is part of what drives “reformers” to distraction. They can’t understand why so many supes and school boards seem to placidly accept onerous collective bargaining requirements, or why quality-conscious teachers don’t do more to call out feckless leadership.

Continue Reading »

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July
22nd 2011
NCTQ Student Teacher Study Raises Valid Questions for Colorado K-12 Education

Posted under education schools & PPC & Research & State Legislature & Teachers

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I have a great deal of respect for the work of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). As I pointed out a few months ago, NCTQ has been spearheading an important review of the university programs that prepare teachers for K-12 schools in the U.S.

Yesterday the organization released a report highlighting one phase of its research — namely, student teaching. Among the important standards examined were the amount of classroom time and commitment expected of student teachers, the role the program plays in matching students to cooperating teachers, as well as requirements that cooperating teachers have at least three years experience and a proven record of effectiveness at improving student learning.

NCTQ selected about 10 percent of the nation’s 1,400 teacher preparation programs to create a random sample across the USA. You may not be surprised to learn that the overall results are less than stellar. But as Education News Colorado’s Todd Engdahl reports, one of the three Colorado programs selected was one of only 10 nationwide to receive the highest mark from NCTQ: Colorado Christian University. The two other institutions from our state fared much worse: Continue Reading »

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April
21st 2011
Not the Time for Education Schools to Resist Transparent Review Process

Posted under education schools & math & PPC & reading & Research & Teachers

A few days ago I told you about the recent Denver visit from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)’s Sandi Jacobs, but I never really got to the interesting part: the main part of her presentation. She came to talk about the big project NCTQ and U.S. News and World Report have launched to evaluate the nation’s schools of education.

Now, naturally, I don’t write much about schools of education. At my age it’s really quite a bit trying to follow teachers and schools, without keeping frequent tabs on who’s teaching the teachers that teach in our schools. Still, it’s an important issue — a HUGE issue, really. Just as a major example, why is there such a large-scale problem with equipping elementary instructors in teaching literacy and math? It’s truly exciting to see NCTQ take on this large task.

Unsurprisingly, there has been some pushback. NCTQ explains that many education schools “do not intend to cooperate” with a national review process that — to its credit — is being conducted very transparently. Education Week Teacher Beat blogger Stephen Sawchuk has been covering the story of four states (Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Wisconsin) that have refused to “participate voluntarily” in the evaluation. The Eduwonk wisely notes that such obstruction represents “a remarkably counterproductive strategy.” Continue Reading »

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January
14th 2011
Ben DeGrow’s Latest School Reform News Story Tackles Teacher Prep Report

Posted under education schools & Independence Institute & PPC & Teachers

On a busy Friday, the easy and preferred course of action is for me to point you to the latest School Reform News article by my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow. The title of the story is “Teacher Training Overhaul Would Leave Ed Schools in Charge”:

Following a blue-ribbon panel’s lead, the nation’s largest accreditation agency for education schools has called for a fundamental overhaul of teacher preparation programs.

A report commissioned by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) advocates a clinical model for training public educators and stronger partnerships between local school districts and higher education preparation programs.

“The system we have now is far too uneven,” said NCATE president James G. Cibulka. “We have a cottage industry of innovative ideas and practices. We need to approach the problem as a systemic one.” [Link added]

Critics say some of the report’s recommendations are long overdue, while they also leave education schools too firmly in control of the teacher preparation process. For a fuller critique, read Mike Petrilli’s “Rearranging deck chairs on the ed school Titanic.” For historical background, read George Clowes’ 2002 School Reform News piece on the crumbling research behind teacher certification.

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October
5th 2010
The Ivory Tower May Be Cracking, But Education Professors Have a Ways to Go

Posted under education schools & Parents & PPC & Research & School Choice & Teachers

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about teachers and policies related to them. But what about those who teach teachers — at least those teachers who receive traditional certification from postsecondary schools of education?

Last week the Fordham Institute released the results of a survey of more than 700 education professors “to determine how they view their own roles and what they think of myriad K-12 policy developments that have taken place over the last decade.” The report Cracks in the Ivory Tower? sheds some light on education policy debates.

As Checker Finn points out, there are some modest signs of more education professors being open to reforms of teacher tenure, incentive pay and alternative certification. But overall, they still “see themselves as philosophers and evangelists, not as master craftsmen sharing tradecraft with apprentices and journeymen.”

Our own State Board of Education chairman Bob Schaffer, participating as one of the “Education Experts” on the National Journal blog, is not terribly impressed. Schaffer latches onto the finding that only 36 percent of education professors see teaching math facts as “absolutely essential” compared to a much higher percentage who believe in the critical importance of teaching 21st Century skills: Continue Reading »

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