Monday, November 02, 2009

Arne Duncan and PACT

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:
See the secretary's speech:


It uses the popular approach of citing a number of "excellent" programs, which happen to be those that Duncan has visited. 
Perhaps he should visit more.  It contains many of the usual problems, such as quoting an anonymous student who reported to E.D. Hirsch why he thought students did not take his course.  There is a great deal of self interest here. Hirsch thinks everyone should take his course.
he uses as evidence hearsay.

Typical, and troubling to me was this;
This is self reported success:

Under the leadership of Sharon Robinson, the AACTE and its 800 colleges and universities have made it a core mission to have pre-service education lead to substantial increases in student achievement. AACTE has also recently launched a series of new programs and initiatives designed to improve teacher effectiveness. One of their most promising initiatives to date is the development of the first nationally accessible assessment of teacher candidate readiness. Under this performance-based assessment, supervising teachers and faculty would evaluate student teachers in the classroom. And student teachers and interns would be required to plan and teach a week-long stint of instruction mapped to state standards and provide commentaries on videotapes of their instruction and classroom management.
AACTE's project is based on PACT, California's Performance Assessment for Teachers, which Linda Darling-Hammond and a wide-ranging consortium of teacher preparation programs in California have done so much to pioneer. Already 14 states have signed up to pilot the performance assessment.

So. AACTE is adopting this "model".   BTW. There is no objective data showing that this model works. 
Here is an examination of its problems by those of us who have used it.

Those who report its success almost universally do not visit student teachers in schools. They are encamped in the university.
It looks good from there.
And, it costs California some $9 million per year for an invalid, unreliable measure.

Duane Campbell

Post a Comment
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.