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Department of Education Releases Teacher Prep Regulations
posted by: Alana | October 13, 2016, 07:13 PM   

As former U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan claimed "the system we have for training teachers lacks rigor, is out of step with the times, and is given to extreme grade inflation that leaves teachers unprepared and their future students at risk."

That's why, before he stepped down, Duncan set out to overhaul teacher preparation regulations.

This week, the USDE released new teacher preparation regulations that have generated a lot of buzz in teachers' lounges from coast to coast.

According to the USDE, the regulations aim to bring transparency to the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs, provide programs with ongoing feedback to help them improve continuously, and respond to educators across the country who do not feel ready to enter the classroom after graduation.

More specidically, these regulations aim to provide such transparency around the effectiveness of all preparation programs (traditional, alternative routes, and distance) by requiring states to report annually—at the program level—on the following measures:
  • Placement and retention rates of graduates in their first three years of teaching, including placement and retention in high-need schools;
  • Feedback from graduates and their employers on the effectiveness of program preparation;
  • Student learning outcomes measured by novice teachers' student growth, teacher evaluation results, and/or another state-determined measure that is relevant to students' outcomes, including academic performance, and meaningfully differentiates amongst teachers; and
  • Other program characteristics, including assurances that the program has specialized accreditation or graduates candidates with content and pedagogical knowledge, and quality clinical preparation, who have met rigorous exit requirements.
Here are some of the initial reactions we're seeing trickle out:
John B. King Jr, U.S. Secretary of Education - "As an educator, I know that one of the strongest in-school influences on students is the teacher in front of the classroom. These regulations will help strengthen teacher preparation so that prospective teachers get off to the best start they can, and preparation programs can meet the needs of students and schools for great educators."

Terry Hartle, the American Council on Education - "Teacher quality is absolutely critical to improving student performance in the classroom. The central question, however, is whether or not these regulations will help — and the answer is no. They are costly, complex, burdensome and based on only tenuous evidence that they will work.”

Autumn A. Arnett of - "For the higher education programs which graduate these future teachers, the focus on outcomes might feel a lot like other higher ed accountability efforts, including the college scorecard. A focus on outcomes and ROI tied to teacher performance could be a sticky path, as a number of factors beyond the classroom often account for student achievement."

Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality - “I’m very much opposed to anything that would lower the bar for entry, for a simple reason: It’s already about as low as you can go. In many institutions in the United States, there are lower bars for entry than playing college athletics. We do a tremendous disservice to think that the way to diversify the teaching profession is to lower the bar.” She added, “It’s such a tremendously insulting move to African-Americans and Latinos to say we want you to come into the profession so badly and the only way we can make that happen is if we have no standards. I can’t imagine what that does to someone’s psyche.”

Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education - "There’s been a chorus out there saying that if you just raise the GPA for entry you’re going to get better qualified teachers. We’ve been looking at that for the past five years. The reality is that the GPA for candidates has already gone up. I don’t know what these folks are talking about frankly."

What do you think? Will these new regulations help or harm the teaching profession?

Tell us in the comments below!

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