A controversial review of America’s teacher colleges has met resistance in Wisconsin, where education school leaders in the public and private sector say they will not voluntarily participate.
The National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonprofit advocacy group, and U.S. News & World Report, known for its annual rankings of colleges, announced in January they would launch a first-ever review of the nation’s roughly 1,400 colleges of education. The recruitment and training of teachers have become a hot-button issue tied to education reform, but university system presidents in Wisconsin as well as New York, Georgia, Oregon and Kentucky have expressed misgivings about the process of assessing and ranking their education schools.
“While we welcome fair assessment and encourage public sharing of our strengths and weaknesses, we believe your survey will not accomplish these goals. We therefore wish to notify you that our entire membership has decided to stand united and not participate further in the survey process,” says an April 7 letter by Katy Heyning, president of the Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and addressed to the National Council on Teacher Quality and U.S. News. Heyning also is the dean of the College of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The council, meanwhile, is filing open-records requests to get information about the public education schools in states that won’t provide it voluntarily. Arthur McKee, manager of teacher preparation programs at the NCTQ, said the council had not received the letter from Heyning. But it had received a letter from UW System President Kevin Reilly.
That letter from March 28 says that UW’s 13 teacher colleges declined to participate because of “serious concerns” about the survey’s methods of data collection, analysis and reporting.