State & National
|Feds to grade teachers’ performance|
|U.S. Ed Dept. to launch initiative|
|Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014 10:03 am|
WASHINGTON – Teachers have always graded students. The Obama administration feels the time has come for someone to grade teachers.
Teacher training programs—from colleges and universities, to for-profit certification courses and non-profit preparatory programs—have few, if any, external evaluation systems to check for and improve quality. In fact, only five states (Tennessee, Ohio, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida) gather data on quality among their in-state programs.
“We have about 1,400 schools of education and hundreds and hundreds of alternative certification paths, and nobody in this country can tell anybody which one is more effective than the other,” said Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said when announcing the new federal initiative.
The Department of Education plans to build upon existing strategies, and guide every state to develop its own evaluation systems. The plan also intends to create a “feedback loop” by making the information gathered available to aspiring teachers, schools and districts, and the public.
Teachers beginning their careers feel especially ill-equipped.
Darryl Green worked as a salesman before coming a teacher in Baltimore County 16 years ago – and he is glad that he did.
“I was not prepared at all,” he recounted. “My content analysis was fine, but…entering the classroom setting is totally different than portrayed in the books. It was my first career that really helped me with my second. With sales you have to educate a person, then you can sell them on something. With teaching it’s the other way around.”
Green was not alone.
Newly-released data from the Department of Education show 62 percent of new teachers don’t feel prepared when they enter the field. Yet, 96 percent of teaching candidates pass their licensing exams.
And the students who suffer from teachers without proper training are the students who need the very best instructors.
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