The report from Arthur Levine described in the excerpt below is a good example of the thoughtful scrutiny implied by what I've labeled "program accountability" -- one of six higher education performance obligations addressed in this blog. Teacher education should be a high priority for many colleges and universities -- an obligation for most public institutions. But higher education is producing neither enough teacher graduates nor, according to Levine's report, adequately prepared graduates. Is the issue inattention, capacity, poor learning models, inflexibility of access, or some combination of these?
Teacher training is chaotic, study says
From the Associated Press, post by CNN.com on September 19, 2006
Aspiring teachers emerge from college woefully unprepared for their jobs, according to a study that depicts most teacher education programs as deeply flawed. The damning review comes from Arthur Levine, former president of Teachers College at Columbia University. His report, released Monday, comes as public schools are under federal orders to have a qualified teacher for every class. It casts doubts on the most basic aspects of how teachers are taught. Teacher quality has a huge influence on whether students pass or fail. The coursework in teacher education programs is in disarray nationwide, the report says. Unlike other professions such as law and medicine, there is no common length of study or set of required skills. Then there are a host of other problems: low admissions standards, disengaged college faculty, insufficient classroom practice and poor oversight, according to Levine's study. "Teacher education right now is the Dodge City of education: unruly and chaotic," said Levine, who now heads the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. "There's a chasm between what goes on in the university and what goes on in the classroom." Read more ...