To the Editor:
As chair of the board of directors for the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), I appreciate Education Week’s attention to national accreditation in the educator preparation landscape (“Colleges Grapple With Teacher-Prep Standards,” August 29, 2018). Dissatisfied with the limitations of the current accreditation system and heavy-handed federal initiatives trying to regulate and reform teacher-preparation programs, many in teacher education have sought a more productive option for quality assurance. Now, through AAQEP, professionals in the field are starting a different conversation that focuses on program quality, fosters deep engagement with local challenges such as teacher shortages or particular community needs, and values inquiry and experimentation over compliance with predefined practices.
What’s really exciting the field is this opportunity to delve into quality assurance work that not only accommodates but expects collaborative improvement and innovation, both among providers and between higher education and their P-12 partners. As the article notes, program leaders are eager to receive and share constructive feedback to advance the quality of preparation. They want to test new ideas with one another to better solve common problems of practice and address the pressing needs of today’s schools.
The AAQEP model, developed by a series of enthusiastic working groups representing dozens of states and providers, embodies these values by driving evidence-based improvement through formative peer review. The processes and expectations of this new system are designed for rigor in quality and flexibility in context. By working in close collaboration with one another and with states and P-12 partners, AAQEP members are positioned to get better and better at developing profession-ready educators with the capacity to support success for all students. It’s a new day for accreditation in educator preparation.
Sandra J. Doran
Salem Academy and College
A version of this article appeared in the September 19, 2018 edition of Education Week as A New Day for Teacher Prep