The most critical factor in a child’s education outside the home is the quality of the teacher at the front of his or her classroom. A great teacher can lift a struggling student. A mediocre teacher can set a child back months if not years.
So which Illinois education schools are producing great teachers? And which aren’t?
On Tuesday, the Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality unveiled a no-punches-pulled report that evaluated 111 undergraduate and graduate programs in 53 education schools across Illinois.
The most disturbing finding: The state’s largest producers of teachers — Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University, — earned poor marks. Illinois State, the report said, merited “exceptionally low grades in its undergraduate elementary and special education programs.” Northern Illinois “did only slightly better, with weak grades in its undergraduate elementary and both its undergraduate and graduate special education program.”