Every teacher must first be a student, and the U.S. News rankings of education programs can help you find the right classroom.
That's how US News & World Reports bills its Ed School rankings. For would-be teachers.
But look at their methodology. Almost none of it explores any factors that affect undergrad and masters programs for teachers.
Instead, it's all about doctoral students. Most of whom have nothing to do with k-12 teaching. # of doctoral degrees granted. GRE scores of doctoral students only -- no GRE data of the teachers they're training. Ratio of faculty to doctoral students, but nothing about ratio of faculty to those preparing to be schoolteachers.
Deans and superintendents ratings. Do you think a single dean in America could accurately describe any difference between teacher prep at, say, Penn State and Ohio State (in front of recent grads of those programs)? No way! Same with superintendents. Most supes don't hire any teachers. Principals do.
Now I'm a fan of US News and their rankings. (Full disclosure: I once played a small role in a different rankings project).
I'm sure they'd say "Listen, if any achievement data existed that connected teacher results and the Ed Schools that trained them, we'd include that! And maybe if Secretary Duncan succeeds in getting those numbers out there, this could happen in the near future. But in the meantime, what should we measure? We don't have the resources to actually track down schoolteachers and watch them in action, as a way to gauge their preparation. We need data."
Fair enough. But US News should clear things up. Something like: "These are rankings for doctoral programs, not for any teacher prep programs."
There's just one problem. Sales. The market of would-be teachers who might want to know about rankings is about 200,000/year.
Future education PhDs and EdDs? About 6,000/year.