Press Release

WASHINGTON (November 25, 2014) — The Education Trust issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rule to improve teacher preparation programs announced today.

“Research shows teachers have the greatest in-school influence on student achievement. But we have been slower than many other countries to focus energy and resources on assuring the quality of our teacher preparation programs. As a result, large majorities of new teachers say they were ill-prepared for the demands they faced in the classroom, and many school districts find teacher preparation programs utterly oblivious to their needs. These failings are unfair to teachers and devastating to students, especially the low-income students and students of color who are most likely to be taught by newly minted teachers.

“In light of this, we’re encouraged by the department’s proposal to reduce the collection of reams of unnecessary information and focus on a more limited, but useful set of indicators on preparation programs, including measures of graduate effectiveness in the classroom, teacher and employer survey results, and employment outcomes. These measures will provide valuable information to prospective teacher candidates and hiring districts, and it will reduce the current burden on institutions to report on more than 400 indicators, many of which are not useful.

“We are also pleased to see the department propose that states follow the lead of pioneering states to create accountability systems for all of their preparation programs based on at least these measures. We are pleased, too, that the department requires consequences for the worst-of-the-worst. Right now, even the lowest performing programs are able to award TEACH Grants, federal dollars for teacher candidates who commit to teaching in high-need schools. The proposed rules would end this harmful practice.

“Preparation programs that fail their graduates also fail students and ultimately our country. As our schools work toward ensuring all students graduate high school college- and career-ready, we must ensure these programs are producing effective teachers and leaders. We look forward to working with the department to make these regulations an even stronger tool for improving preparation.”

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Read Ed Trust’s recommendations for improving educator preparation programs through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Click to view our infographic.