Teacher Quality Takes Center Stage

July 1st, 2011

Category: News, Policy and Practice

Five United States Senators recently introduced the “Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act” – which would require teachers demonstrate the ability to lift student achievement before being allowed to graduate from their preparation program.

The legislation, if we decided to apply, would move Delaware in the right direction and aligns well with international best practice – with the initial groundwork already in place in various initiatives underway throughout the state.  Key components of participating programs would include:

  • Rigorous selection models that would admit only those with greatest potential for increasing student learning;
  • Emphasize hands-on clinical instruction;
  • Tie graduation to student achievement; and
  • Focus on preparing teachers in high-needs schools and/or subjects. 

While many teacher preparation programs in Delaware have bits and pieces of those components listed above, none implement them all simultaneously.  The two primary differences are that educator training would emphasize a more clinical approach (similar to doctors) and that teachers would be unable to graduate from their respective programs unless they demonstrate the ability to successfully lift student learning.  As the bill is currently written, the funds would be given to state selected teacher preparation programs (either higher education institutions or alternative-route programs) to train a specified number of teachers and hold them accountable for results.

This legislation parallels efforts currently underway through the National Council on Teacher Quality’s review of education schools – which seeks to provide the public transparent information on their ability to produce effective educators.  We look forward to watching the legislative process unfold and hope, if the legislation passes as is, to work with all interested stakeholders to help bring these international best practices to Delaware. 

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Brett Turner




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