October 24, 2016

Are new federal rules on teacher education the right approach to improving schools?

October 18, 2016

Dear Editors:

Your recent editorial, “Help Teachers Before They Get to Class,” (October 14, 2016) was disappointing in its lack of substantiated information. In questioning the rigor of teacher preparation programs you did not reference national standards for teacher education programs established by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which include high entry and selectivity standards as well as expect measurement of program impact on P-12 students’ learning. CAEP standards are almost a mirror image of the rules released by the US Department of Education. Disappointingly, the 2013 study by the National Council on Teacher Quality you cite used methods that would fail to meet standards for research in any institution of higher education and examined inputs not outcomes.

While the new US DOE rules will not change the broad picture of teacher preparation at many institutions, it remains to be seen if the rating of teacher preparation programs will generate the kind of useable and actionable information that most programs crave. Past efforts in New York State, have proved costly, faced numerous technical problems and been abandoned.

Your concern for high quality teacher preparation could have led you to cite the many teacher preparation programs that are working hard to recruit for shortage subject fields and promote diverse school placements for student teachers. There certainly are lessons to be learned from high performing international education systems such as Finland, but your paper would do well to undertake a more informed analysis of what is actually going on in the field than your editorial reflected.


Jane Ashdown, dean, Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, Adelphi University, NY

Dwight Manning, associate director, Office of Teacher Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY

Margaret Madden, vice president for academic affairs, Siena College, NY

Kathleen DaBoll-Lavoie, dean, School of Education, Nazareth College, NY

A. Lin Goodwin, vice dean and Evenden Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY

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