An abundance of research shows that teacher quality is the single most important determinant of student learning. It’s also the conclusion of a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality — part of a project funded by major U.S. foundations.
Unfortunately, the same report found that colleges and their schools of education do a poor job of training teachers and preparing them for real-life challenges in the classroom.
“We don’t know how to prepare teachers,” says Arthur Levine, former president of Columbia University Teachers College. “We can’t decide whether it’s a craft or a profession.” Mr. Levine blames low admission standards, less-than-relevant academic work and an out-of-touch faculty in schools of education — some of whom haven’t set foot in a school for years.
Part of the problem is that the teaching profession does not attract, in general, the nation’s most talented students. Less than one in four of U.S. teachers graduated in the top third of their high school class, the report states, compared to 100 percent in Singapore and Finland.
Related: NCTQ 4-3-2-1 Star-Rating of University Teacher Preparation Programs in the USA: “the evaluations provide clear and convincing evidence, based on a four-star rating system, that a vast majority of teacher preparation programs do not give aspiring teachers…. Much more on the NCTQ teacher preparation report, here.