In Tennessee and a few other states, teacher effectiveness can be assessed on the basis of the student achievement gains of their students. Although there are exceptions like the reports that were undertaken by the Los Angeles Times,…Read more →
Disconnected and Unaccountable Teacher Training is at the Heart of Schooling Failure
Evidence from the few states where such data is collected indicates that many elementary and secondary school students fail to make adequate progress because they too frequently encounter ineffective teachers, i.e., teachers whose students’ achievement growth is significantly less than one year of achievement gain per school year. Part of the problem is that many school districts are only now beginning to systematically monitor or address the problem of ineffective teaching. They often lack both the teacher performance data and the will to insist on improvement.
The larger problem, however, is that the preservice training given teachers is often inadequate and in some cases detrimental. Teaching practices founded on theory and craft knowledge, not experimental evidence, are typical fare. Worse, proven practices that are contrary to favored theory may be denigrated as boring or emotionally damaging.
Inservice professional development can be equally problematic. Teaching innovations that are as little tested as the practices they replace are commonly touted as breakthroughs in pedagogy. The educational fads that have become an unfortunate hallmark of public schooling often originate in schools of education.
Teacher preparation programs are most often housed in colleges of education and, like other professional training programs, they are accountable for meeting the broad standards set by accrediting bodies and professional societies. With the exception of a few states, however, they are not accountable for the effectiveness of the practices taught to their graduates. Only recently have states begun to report on the effectiveness of teachers by school district and on the linkage between the effectiveness of new teachers and their training.
Recent studies have made it clear that significant differences in ability to improve student achievement exist among fully trained and experienced teachers. J. E. Stone’s paper argues that these differences reflect the education community’s view that student achievement…Read more →
NCATE’s standards for teacher training programs have been a national standard for the last 25 or so years. Despite their widespread adoption by states, legislators and state agencies have very little understanding of what those…Read more →