National panel of state school chiefs calls for teacher prep update

National panel of state school chiefs calls for teacher prep update

Just as common national curriculum standards are transforming instruction inside the K-12 classroom, a new report from the Council of Chief State School Officers is calling for a similar refocusing of teacher preparation programs.

Strategies that states are being urged to adopt include new visions surrounding licensing that account not only for what new teachers and principals should know about the Common Core standards but also changes in pedagogy such as cross- or inter-disciplinary perspectives; teaming and collaborative problem solving; assessment literacy to define, collect and interpret data.

Members of a national task force on educator preparation also called for a move away from testing as the only means for defining competency to an actual showing of a candidates’ knowledge and skill.

The panel, led by Tom Luna, state schools chief in Idaho, also called for a tiered system of employment that offers teachers both financial incentive and professional options within a career ladder.

“As leaders of state education systems, we owe teachers and principals the preparation and ongoing support they need to carry out their responsibilities for student achievement and growth,” the committee said in conclusion. “We also owe students, their parents and the taxpayers who support the system to hold teachers and leaders accountable for getting the results that will demonstrate we are making progress.”

The council is a non-partisan, nationwide organization representing public officials who oversee elementary and secondary education in the U.S.

The report comes forward as a number of states – including California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing – are taking a hard look at how teacher preparation programs are training new educators in light of the many changes taking place in the nation’s K-12 schools.

Among other proposals, the panel noted that President Barack Obama’s administration has invested billions through its Race to the Top state grant program, and under the No Child Left Behind flexibility waivers to develop longitudinal data systems – but most of the attention on data use has been over its linkage with teacher and principal evaluations.

The report points out that less than one-fourth of waiver applications propose using student data to support teacher training.

“While much state energy has gone to the PK-12 system of evaluating practicing educators, increased emphasis needs to be placed on connecting data on educator effectiveness back to the programs that prepare educators,” the authors said. “The same student growth data that are utilized in teacher and principal evaluation systems can serve as an indicator of how well preparation programs prepare learner-ready teachers and school-ready principals. States will also find those data useful to inform the state policy levers of licensure and program approval.”

Here’s a list of recommendations:


1. States will revise and enforce their licensure standards for teachers and principals to support the teaching of more demanding content aligned to college- and career-readiness and critical thinking skills to a diverse range of students.

2. States will work together to influence the development of innovative licensure performance assessments that are aligned to the revised licensure standards and include multiple measures of educators’ ability to perform, including the potential to impact student achievement and growth.

3. States will create multi-tiered licensure systems aligned to a coherent developmental continuum that reflects new performance expectations for educators and their implementation in the learning environment, and to assessments that are linked to evidence of student achievement and growth.

4. States will reform current state licensure systems so they are more efficient, have true reciprocity across states, and so that their credentialing structures support effective teaching and leading toward student college- and career-readiness.

Program Approval

5. States will hold preparation programs accountable by exercising the state’s authority to determine which programs should operate and recommend candidates for licensure in the state, including establishing a clear and fair performance rating system to guide continuous improvement. States will act to close programs that continually receivethe lowest rating and will provide incentives for programs whose ratings indicate exemplary performance.

6. States will adopt and implement rigorous program approval standards to assure that educator preparation programs recruit candidates based on supply and demand data, have highly selective admissions and exit criteria including mastery of content; provide high quality clinical practice throughout a candidate’s preparation that includes experiences with the responsibilities of a school year from beginning to end, and that produce quality candidates capable of positively impacting student achievement.

7. States will require alignment of preparation content standards to PK-12 student standards for all licensure areas.

8. States will provide feedback, data, support, and resources to preparation programs to assist them with continuous improvement and to act on any program approval or national accreditation recommendations.

Data Collection, Analysis, and Reporting

9. States will develop and support state-level governance structures to guide confidential and secure data collection, analysis, and reporting of PK-20 data and how it informs educator preparation programs, hiring practices, and professional learning. Using stakeholder input, states will address and take appropriate action, individually and collectively, on the need for unique educator identifiers, links to non-traditional preparation providers, and the sharing of candidate data among organizations and across states.

10. States will use data collection, analysis, and reporting of multiple measures for continuous improvement and accountability of preparation programs.

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