The U.S. Education Department wants to grade ed schools and teacher training programs on performance, reports Sharon Noguchi in the San Jose Mercury News. Do graduates find and keep jobs? Do they do well on evaluations? And — most controversial — do their students’ test scores show academic progress? Would-be teachers in low-scoring training programs would lose eligibility for federal student aid, known as TEACH grants.
The proposal was announced in December and could be finalized by mid-year. Education schools hate it.
“Value-added” measures of student growth are unreliable, argues Deborah Stipek, dean of Stanford education school.
Regulations would penalize programs that prepare teachers for inner-city schools, said Kathy Schultz, dean of the Mills College School of Education in Oakland. Mills teachers often work in Oakland.
“The State Board of Education, California State University and others in the state education establishment” claim the regulations would cost California $233 million to develop new tests and about half a billion dollars a year to enforce, writes Noguchi.
But critics have trouble coming up with alternative ways to ensure new teachers are well prepared, writes Noguchi. “Schools of education have resisted measuring and releasing data about themselves.”
“The inability of California to name what an effective teacher is creates the conditions where we go round and round,” said Tony Smith, former superintendent in Oakland, Emeryville and San Francisco and a regulation backer. “One of the key components of effectiveness is that a child makes a year’s growth in a year’s time.”
“Teaching is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs there is,” says Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teaching Quality. “Yet for reasons that are hard to fathom, it appears to be one of the easiest majors both to get into and then to complete.”