States will be required to rate teacher training programs on job placement, retention rates and their graduates’ success in raising student achievement, under a new Education Department proposal. Low-rated programs’ students wouldn’t be able to get federal TEACH Grants to pay for their training.
Although the rules do not require tests, 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have agreed with the Department of Education to develop teacher performance ratings that include test scores.
Critics, including teachers’ unions, say such measures are unreliable and difficult to link to the quality of training.
“New teachers want to do a great job for their kids, but often, they struggle at the beginning of their careers” because they’re not well-prepared for the classroom, said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“After prolonged negotiations—with stakeholders including teachers’ unions and teacher colleges—failed to bear fruit, the Obama administration said it would move ahead on its own,” reports Emily Richmond in The Atlantic.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, criticized the regulations’ reliance on test scores. “Teacher preparation programs that send graduates to teach in high-need schools, where research shows the test scores are likely to be lower and the teacher turnover higher, will receive lower ratings and could lose funding,” Weingarten said.
Earlier this month the National Council on Teacher Quality lambasted teacher education programs a report titled Easy A’s. Would-be teachers can earn high grades for undemanding work, leaving them poorly prepared for classroom challenges, charges NCTQ.
The proposal is in line with the Obama administration’s “gainful employment” rule, which tries to regulates job training programs at for-profit career colleges (and community colleges), notes Stephen Sawchuk on Ed Week. “It signals the agency’s intent to try to hold higher education more accountable for outcomes.”