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SPSSI Policy News RSS Feed - July 30, 2010

Event Recap:

Center for American Progress Hosts "Measuring What Matters: Holding Teacher Preparation Programs Accountable for Results"

On July 29, 2010, the Center for American Progress held a public event entitled “Measuring What Matters: Holding Teacher Preparation Programs Accountable for Results.” The discussion was moderated by Cynthia Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress, and featured speakers Edward Crow, Jane West, and Kate Walsh. While the panelists agreed on the need for reform to the current teacher accountability system, their positions differed regarding the degree to which the system is currently “broken” and the best way to begin to implement changes.

At the event, Edward Crowe, independent consultant on teacher quality policy, introduced his recently published research report entitled, “Measuring What Matters: A Stronger Accountability Model for Teacher Education.” The paper examines the current system of teacher preparation programs, highlights its problems, and suggests a new accountability system to take its place. In order to improve teacher success, Crowe stresses the need for more feedback on teacher effectiveness and increased transparency of accountability findings. Crowe opened the discussion by explaining the that the concept of “teacher education” is not clearly defined, is marked by extreme variability and a wide variety of standards across the country, and the need to replace the current system with uniform, national educational standards that will improve teacher quality.

Jane West, Senior Vice President for Policy, Programs, and Professional Issues for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, followed up by explaining that the current system needs significantly more data to be collected, improved tracking of teacher progress, and an increased focus on capacity building. As more data is generated, the state and federal governments must determine how the public can easily access and follow teacher effectiveness.

The final speaker, Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, responded to Crowe and West’s comments and suggested that the current system is “completely chaotic.” Walsh emphasized the need to increase standards for admission to teacher education programs, to ensure that America’s youth are instructed by well-educated and bright teachers.

Despite a considerable degree of disagreement among panelists concerning the extent to which the current system needs to be overhauled, the panelists made clear that teacher preparation programs need to be revised. All three speakers highlighted the need for more research to be conducted on teacher effectiveness in order to begin to track teacher quality and to create a system with effective national standards.

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Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin