That's Kate Walsh. She runs the National Council For Teacher Quality.* She visited our team last fall (though not in a red dress) and we had a grand old time. More recently, she and her colleague Julie Greenberg wrote a gem:
We know we're not cool for saying so, but teacher preparation, if it were done right, should make a big difference.
Like many of our fellow ed reformers, we happen to believe that the teaching profession needs to recruit more smart people....
However, unlike many of our policy friends, we also think that once having persuaded smart people to enter the profession, even they would benefit greatly from solid preparation, especially at the elementary level.
Though it's clear we're no apologists for the current quality of teacher prep in the vast majority of education schools, our plug for a newly envisioned quality of preparation puts us out of step. Many reformers put their faith solely in the transformative power of elite teacher candidates.
This approach is misguided on two counts.
You can read the rest of their thoughts here.
I wholehearted agree.
My two quibbles:
1. "Especially at the elementary level." I see no evidence that the potential of elementary teacher prep exceeds the potential of middle and high school teacher prep.
2. "Solid" to describe the training we need. I realize they're trying to displace the "often lame" status quo with "solid." That makes sense.
But we can exceed solid. We could actually create training experiences that are friggin'** good!
Of course, to do that, we'd need a ton of experimentation.
*Disclosure - I'm on NCTQ advisory board.
**Disclosure 2 - I realize I've been dropping F bombs like crazy lately. Why? That's an MCAS question.
A) My Mom is visiting my brother in Israel, and therefore not reading the blog.
B) I'm following this fake Rahm Emmanuel Twitter feed which is off the hook.
C) I have been majorly jacked up on coffee lately. Two friggin' espresso bars moved within a block of our high school. I hold all my meetings there now. Come visit.
D) All of the above.