A growing number of studies suggest that college education schools are generally of poor quality, according to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Among the charges: education majors have comparatively low college-entrance scores; admissions standards are minimal; education professors are often undistinguished and detached from classrooms; and program requirements, such as student-teaching hours, are wildly inconsistent.
Part of the problem, observers note, is the growing pressure on ed schools to produce ever more graduates to fill the nation’s need for qualified teachers. Another factor may be a general lack of clarity on what sort of preparation today’s teachers need. “We cannot improve these programs until we are clear what we want the profession to look in the 21st century, and we haven’t done that,” said Ohio State Superintendent Susan Tave Zelman.
Even so, a number of initiatives have been launched to improve ed schools’ standards. One Ohio group, for example, is conducting a value-added study designed to track the correlation between teachers’ preparation programs and their performance as educators (as measured by student test scores). The aim is to replicate those programs that are seen as having the greatest impact.
“The good news for Ohioans and others is that there is very rapid progress in trying to use data to drive changes in teacher-preparation programs,” said Tom Lasley, dean of the University of Dayton’s School of Education and Allied Professions.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.