UNION LEADERS SPEAK
Report Calls for the Overhaul of Teacher Education Programs
Teacher education programs should provide more clinical experiences for teacher candidates, forge stronger partnerships with school districts, focus on both content knowledge and pedagogy, and improve candidate selection and placement, according to a report released by a panel of experts. The panel was convened by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The following is a statement made by the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten.
NCATE has used research, common sense and the experience of everyday educators to create a blueprint for thoughtful and dramatic improvements in the way America’s teachers are prepared for their careers. Rather than engage in a false choice about whether to continue the status quo or eliminate college-based teacher education programs altogether, NCATE wisely has focused on what is best for students.
The council’s call for prospective teachers to receive more clinical experience is a smart first step in a profession that sees nearly half of teachers exit in their first five years of teaching. The recommendation that teacher education programs work more collaboratively with school districts will help ensure that teacher preparation and hiring are more closely aligned to the needs of communities. Other recommendations — from establishing new research standards to revamping higher education staffing and instruction — also will help upgrade and update teacher education programs.
NCATE recognizes that improving teacher education programs will require a broad partnership that includes teachers unions, school districts and colleges of education. We urge all stakeholders to look past the ideological arguments and work collaboratively, as NCATE and the American Federation of Teachers have done, to improve public education. The AFT has taken this approach in our effort to revamp teacher development and evaluations, which is now moving forward in nearly 60 school districts. #
Randi Weingarten is the president of the American Federation of Teachers.