Seeking Better Teachers, City Evaluates Local Colleges That Train Them

Javier Hernandez:

The results released on Wednesday showed that even some of the country’s most prestigious programs have room for improvement. For example, one in five recent graduates of teaching programs at Columbia University and New York University were given low marks for how much they were able to improve student test scores; by contrast, 1 in 10 teachers who graduated from City College of New York received poor marks.
City officials cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the data, saying the numbers were meant to provoke conversation, not rivalry. They noted that sample sizes were small; that test scores were available only in certain grades, in math and English; and that the data reflected only information from the past four years.
But in New York City, where competitive streaks are widespread, education leaders could not resist a little jockeying.
David M. Steiner, dean of Hunter College School of Education, said the results would prompt schools like Columbia and N.Y.U. to rethink elements of their program.
“These are places that are very well known for their research and scholarship,” Dr. Steiner, a former state education commissioner, said. “Is it possible that they need to pay more attention to their clinical preparation of teachers?”
Thomas James, provost of Teachers College at Columbia, said the reports prompted the school to examine how closely its curriculum aligned with city academic standards. He said the data also spurred interest in increasing the number of teachers who pursue certification in special education, where city data showed the school lagged behind its peers.

Related: National Council on Teacher Quality.