RELEASE: TeachStrong Coalition Calls for Bold Ideas to Strengthen Teacher Preparation
Second policy proposal from TeachStrong coalition provides solutions to make teacher preparation more rooted in classroom practice and a professional knowledge base, with universal high standards for all candidates.
The TeachStrong campaign brings together 60 teachers unions, teacher voice organizations, and education reform, civil rights, and education policy leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of 2016.
Washington, D.C. — A diverse coalition of groups, including key stakeholders involved in the future of teacher preparation programs, released a major policy proposal today focusing on strengthening such programs. The TeachStrong coalition’s policy proposal recommends that states, school districts, and teacher preparation programs enact key policy changes including instituting rigorous admission requirements, fully integrating theory and practice, and providing sufficiently rich clinical preparation.
“In our research on the teaching continuum, we have learned that, more than anything, preservice teachers need more than theory to prepare them for the classroom. They need high-quality clinical experiences that contribute to their effectiveness,” said Katherine Bassett, president and CEO of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. “The second policy proposal from the TeachStrong coalition unites diverse education groups to call for the kind of clinical preparation that all teachers—including State Teachers of the Year—want and need.”
The TeachStrong campaign is a coalition of leading education groups aimed at making modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority in 2016 so that students, especially those from low-income families, can be taught by great teachers. To accomplish this goal, TeachStrong believes that the United States must invest in and develop policies that better recruit, prepare, support, and compensate teachers through all stages of their careers.
TeachStrong’s second policy proposal offers the following policy recommendations in order to reimagine the way we prepare teachers:
- States and teacher preparation programs should maintain a high bar for entry and use data to improve.
- States, school districts, and teacher preparation programs should work together to provide teachers-in-training with high-quality clinical preparation, including residency experiences.
- Teacher preparation programs should provide students with rigorous coursework and use models of excellent teaching.
- States, school districts, and teacher preparation programs should work together to collect and connect data on the performance of graduates, teacher vacancies, graduate retention, teacher salaries, and principal satisfaction of teacher preparation program graduates.
- States should link new program accreditation to labor market demand.
Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, said, “The second TeachStrong policy proposal reflects the necessary collaboration between teacher preparation programs and policymakers to ensure that all teachers are prepared for the classroom from day one.”
“Teach For America is proud to be part of TeachStrong, and we were glad to contribute ideas to the campaign’s policy proposal on teacher preparation,” said Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO of Teach For America. “This proposal is particularly strong because it recognizes that, in order to build a diverse force of educators, we must have multiple pathways into the classroom. It is essential that traditional and alternative programs share a commitment to creating the thriving, diverse, high-quality teachers our nation’s students deserve.”
“This policy proposal underscores the importance of collaboration between states, districts, and teacher preparation programs to raise the bar for our educator-preparation system,” said Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. “We must work together to ensure that every teacher is prepared for success on day one. This means building data systems that allow us to track our graduates into the classroom and building strong and effective residency programs to provide opportunities for training focused on practice.”
Today, TeachStrong also released a new video—part of its Story Project—in which TeachStrong ambassadors David O’Hara of New York, Shakera Oliver of Washington, D.C., and Tonia Holmes-Sutton of Las Vegas discuss the need to strengthen the way we prepare teachers for the classroom, emphasizing the importance of supporting new teachers. Click here to watch the video.
This is the second proposal unveiled by the TeachStrong campaign. The campaign’s first policy proposal, released last month, focuses on identifying and recruiting more teacher candidates with great potential to succeed, with a deliberate emphasis on diversifying the teacher workforce. Throughout 2016, TeachStrong will release the rest of its nine policy proposals as part of the effort to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority of 2016.
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