Expert panel says: Mike Goldstein's blog is soooo on target!

From today's Wall Street Journal (Hat tip to Kent Bottles) In an article entitled "Teacher Training Is Panned," WSJ reporter Stephanie Banchero writes:

A panel of education experts has called for an overhaul of U.S. teacher-preparation programs, including a greater emphasis on classroom training as well as tougher admission and graduation standards for those hoping to teach in elementary and secondary classrooms.

The panel's sweeping recommendations, released Tuesday, urge teacher-training programs to operate more like medical schools, which rely heavily on clinical experience.

Teacher candidates should spend more time in classrooms learning to teach—and proving that they can boost student achievement—before they earn a license to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade, the panel said.

"We need large, bold, systemic changes," said James Cibulka, president of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, the group that convened the expert panel. "As a nation, we are expecting all of our students to perform at high levels, so it follows that we need to expect more of our teachers as they enter the classroom."

Hmm. Exactly what our program does!

Rick Hess read the report and calls B.S. He thinks the NCATE folks duck every single real issue.

For example, Rick writes:

I couldn't find anything in the report acknowledging that, if clinical preparation is the key, it may make sense to increasingly cut colleges or universities out of the preparation equation--and allow sites to deal them in on an as-needed basis. After all, the "normal school" and programs of teacher preparation are 19th century innovations; isn't it possible that a "radical" 21st century rethinking might not want to presuppose that we rely on that machinery?


The report doesn't explain how to ensure that large-scale clinical programs aren't merely diluted versions of today's boutique efforts, bringing to mind far too many previous "seismic" edu-reforms that proved to be little more than fads. As someone who spent five years supervising student teachers, I've seen a whole lot of pretty awful practice-oriented teacher preparation. It's not clear to me from this report how preparation programs can be counted on to guard against that or keep their "clinical" training from simply meaning that their students are wasting time in K-12 schools instead of on the college campus.