Largely ignored during the past 30 years of efforts to reform K-12 schools, the higher education community is about to feel the glare of the public spotlight on its work — and that attention is causing concern and skepticism.
In January 2011, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), an independent, nonprofi t group that advocates for reforms in teacher policies, said it would rate all teacher preparation programs and publish the results next year in U.S. News & World Report. The announcement has rankled many, even in the teacher reform movement, and highlights in sharp relief the divergent factors and strategies at play. Most school reform efforts have focused on schools, districts, and communities. But the move to assess teacher education and publicize the results puts higher education under a spotlight that it has rarely experienced.
Schools of education have responded to the news with alarm, describing the national review of teacher preparation as “flawed,” “unnecessary,” and “a violation of sound research.” The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), a national alliance of educator preparation programs, found in a recent survey that only 12% of its member institutions plan to participate willingly.