Delaware Leads the Nation for Teacher Preparation

May 2nd, 2014

Category: Policy and Practice

This past week marked two important developments in educator training and preparation – both at the federal and state levels.
First, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to produce a plan by this summer that will strengthen teacher preparation programs. The plan will:

  • Encourage states to identify high- and low-performing teacher preparation programs; both traditional and alternate route;
  • Ask states to streamline current data requirements, incorporate more meaningful outcomes, and improve transparency of teacher preparation programs; and
  • Rely on state-developed ratings of programs to determine, in part, program eligibility of TEACH grants, which provide aid to students planning to teach in high-need fields or schools.

In addition, the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) proposed regulations to implement the passage of last year’s Senate Bill 51 (SB 51) aimed at improving educator preparation. The regulations provide additional direction on the following requirements for approved programs:

  • Rigorous entry requirements as prerequisites for admission into an approved program;
  • A clinical residency component, supervised by high quality educators;
  • Instruction for teaching childhood literacy and age-appropriate mathematics content for programs preparing early childhood and elementary school teachers;
  • Ongoing evaluation of programs’ candidates, aligned to the state-wide educator evaluation system;
  • Increased exit requirements for approved programs, including achievement of passing scores on a content-readiness exam and a performance assessment; and
  • Collaboration with the Department to collect and report data, including data on performance and effectiveness of program graduates by student achievement.

Once again, Delaware is ahead of the game. Few states have the legislative and regulatory skeleton in place to support USED’s proposed plan, and many could find themselves scrambling to be ready to implement such changes. In contrast, Delaware has spent the last two years laying the groundwork necessary to implement improvements in educator training & preparation, including passage of SB 51, a DDOE-led work group inviting preparation programs to discuss the regulatory changes necessary to implement the law, and additional forthcoming guidance for educator preparation programs that will provide more information as to how to best implement these changes. However, we can’t rest on our laurels. Strong implementation of these new regulations, as well as any plan proposed by USED, will be critical.

As we continue to work together to make Delaware’s schools truly “world-class,” we can learn from other countries that have made significant investments in the recruitment, training, and ongoing development of educators. Professor Lee Sing Kong, former director of Singapore’s National Institute of Education, and a member of our International Advisory Group, will be in Delaware on May 13th to discuss lessons from Singapore, a country with some of the highest outcomes on PISA over the last several years. Professor Lee’s presentation will explain the education system in Singapore, centering on the teacher and school leader experiences. Following the presentation, he will answer audience questions in a discussion moderated Joanne Weiss, former Chief of Staff to Secretary Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education and current member of our International Advisory Group.

We hope that you will be able to join this conversation!

Mamie Doyle Mannella



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