We Think We Know How to Teach Reading, But We Don’t. What Else Don’t We Know, and What Does This Mean for Teacher Training?

Chad Aldeman:

But in this country, there are at least a few thousand preparation programs attempting to teach future teachers to teach reading. And yet, we have no evidence that any of those programs produce reading instructors who are better (or worse) than any others.

This is a scary realization, but it has implications for how much stock we should put in teacher preparation reform. When researchers Paul von Hippel and Laura Bellows went looking for meaningful differences in teacher preparation programs across six states, they found essentially none. The graph below shows what they found for large teacher preparation programs (TPPs) in Texas. Even looking at just the biggest programs with the largest sample sizes, they found that no program produced teachers who were statistically better or worse at teaching reading than any others.

the majority of ALL 11th-grade students in Madison read and write below basic proficiency. Translated: they are functionally illiterate.

The Wisconsin Department of Public instruction, long lead by our new Governor, Tony Evers, has waived thousands of elementary teacher reading content knowledge requirements (Foundations of Reading, based on Massachusetts’ best in the States MTEL requirement)