The Department of Education will restructure how it evaluates teacher preparation programs to get a clearer understanding of what teachers know when going into the profession, USA Today reports. The reforms mark another move in the Obama administration’s push to get better teachers in American schools.
"At virtually every school I go to, I ask teachers, were they prepared when they entered that school or entered the profession," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a call with reporters to preview the president's directive, which will be unveiled Friday. "There is often a fair amount of nervous laughter … and sadly, it's often a majority of teachers that say they weren't prepared."
The updated evaluations, set to be opened to public comment this summer, will mirror existing programs in a number of states, including Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. The administration is looking for information including alumni satisfaction and the satisfaction of principals hiring teachers from specific training programs.
Such data, Duncan told reporters, don't currently exist.
"Today, unfortunately, we get little or no information of how their graduates are doing once they enter the teaching profession," Duncan said. "That is simply unacceptable and must change."
The administration is also weighing reforms to some teacher preparation programs and eligibility requirements for federal grants that help students who want to teach high-need subjects in low-income areas.