Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

NAAC Supports Action on Teacher Preparation

January 11, 2011 1 min read
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To the Editor:

The National Association for Alternative Certification, or NAAC, applauds the recent “call to action” recommended by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education’s blue-ribbon panel to transform teacher preparation. Momentum for this transformation has been developing steadily over the past 30 years, as successful nontraditional models for teacher preparation have emerged across the nation.

We agree with the observation by panel co-chair Dwight Jones: “For this transformation to take place, school districts and teacher education programs will need to work together and take joint responsibility for teacher-preparation programs.”

NAAC adds to the panel’s recommendations by calling for a coherent plan for more-effective training of support personnel in schools where teacher-candidates are placed. Mentors should be specifically trained by the preparing institution and the participating school district(s) through a collaborative effort. Just as we expect teacher-candidates to differentiate training for their students, teacher education entities should differentiate mentor training to meet specific contextual needs of schools, mentors, candidates, and their pre-K-12 students.

NAAC fully supports the panel’s recommendations for more research targeting what works in teacher preparation and for support of the national data network on teacher preparation suggested by the National Academy of Sciences. NAAC recently renewed its call for a more robust data-collection system for the nation’s teacher-preparation efforts. Finally, we commend the shift to more direct involvement of school district personnel in the teacher-preparation process. Selection of the right candidates for schools and students is crucial to successful teacher preparation and improvement of student learning.

The panel was correct in recognizing that no one group, “district, program, union, or legislature” can effect this needed transformation by itself. It will take all of us working together as partners, always with the most important goal in mind: improvement of student learning.

Becky Washington

President, Board of Directors

National Association for Alternative Certification

Austin, Texas

A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2011 edition of Education Week as NAAC Supports Action on Teacher Preparation

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