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Teacher prep programs failing, report says

Teachers not being trained for rigorous Common Core standards, National Council on Teacher Quality finds

Most U.S. teacher preparation programs are failing to adequately train teachers for the rigorous Common Core standards—a fact administrators need to consider when hiring, according to a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

The comprehensive NCTQ Teacher Prep Review, released in partnership with U.S. News & World Report in June, represents data from 1,130 institutions that prepare 99 percent of the nation’s traditionally trained teachers.

Researchers considered the program’s selection rates, content, and whether the job outcomes of graduates were tracked. Reviewers assessed how the programs trained teachers on Common Core reading and math, classroom management, and lesson planning.

Programs were given a score of zero to four stars. The review drew controversy after only giving three or more stars to less than 10 percent of programs. About one in seven schools earned either half a star or zero stars.

“As we’re talking about education reform in the United States, we can’t ignore those pipeline issues of who is admitted into the profession and what they have to do to get a license,” says Kate Walsh, president of the NCTQ.

Nationwide, only one in four teacher prep programs restricts admission to the top-performing half of graduating high school students, the report found. High-performing nations are more selective about who gets into teacher prep programs, Walsh says. For example, in Finland, only the top 10 percent of graduating high school students are admitted.

Part of the problem is that district and higher education administrators rarely collaborate on what skills teachers actually need, Walsh says.

“Districts are very seldom talking with these institutions, and the two often don’t understand one another,” Walsh says.

For example, only 23 percent of programs provide adequate classroom management training for the rising teachers, the report found, which most K12 administrators say is critical for effective teaching.