Needed: an overhaul of teacher prep
At a speech to Columbia University's Teachers College, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for a broad overhaul of the nation's teacher colleges. Duncan, as reported by the Associated Press, explained that prep programs are lucrative for the institutions that offered them, but fail to adequately prepare teachers for the classroom. Large enrollment and low overhead make them "cash cows" for universities, but profits are diverted to smaller, more prestigious departments rather than invested in research and training for would-be teachers. Duncan also faulted state governments for overly easy licensing that does not gauge classroom readiness and for failing to track which programs turn out effective teachers and which do not. If the country is to reach the president's global goal of the most college graduates by 2020, "both our K-12 system and our teacher preparation programs have to get dramatically better," said Duncan. He pointed to the administration's use of stimulus dollars to reward states that tie student achievement data to their education schools and to the demand to pay for an expansion of teacher residency programs in high-needs schools. Duncan stressed that timing is crucial. A third of veteran teachers are poised to retire, which could create a million new teaching positions over the next four years.
Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091022/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_teachers
See the secretary's speech: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2009/10/10222009.html