Opinion
Education Opinion

Teacher-Preparation Programs Need Overhaul

By Walt Gardner — September 16, 2016 1 min read

Over the years, traditional teacher preparation programs have been rightly criticized in many cases for failing to do their job (“Ideology Not Evidence: What We (Don’t) Know about Independent Teacher preparation programs,” National Education Policy Center, Sept. 8). That’s largely because they have placed inordinate emphasis on theory and not on practice.

In reaction, a move has been underway to deregulate the process, expanding alternative routes. These would bypass colleges and universities. I understand the anger and frustration behind the change. With the exception of actual student teaching, so much of the other requirements for a teaching license is useless. But before throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I hope we will take a closer look at what is needed.

I propose exposing prospective teachers to the realities of the classroom much earlier. During the beginning of their junior year of study for their bachelor’s degree, students should be required to observe public school classes in their major for a stipulated number of hours. That exposure alone will help them decide if teaching is a realistic choice. If they still want to make teaching a career, they can then work with licensed teachers as their aides and take the necessary courses for eventual licensing.

I don’t think there is anything special about independent teacher preparation programs. Such widely publicized programs as KIPP and Teacher for America shortchange new teachers by providing them with too few hours of preparation. They may appeal to college graduates looking for a faster way to qualify for a license, but I question their worth.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Branding your district matters. This webinar will provide you with practical tips and strategies to elevate your brand from three veteran professionals, each of whom has been directly responsible for building their own district’s brand.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. school districts are using hybrid learning right now with varying degrees of success. Students and teachers are getting restless and frustrated with online learning, making curriculum engagement difficult and disjointed. While
Content provided by Samsung

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Principal-Elementary School
San Antonio, TX, US
Southwest Independent School District
Principal-Elementary School
San Antonio, TX, US
Southwest Independent School District
Principal-Elementary School
San Antonio, TX, US
Southwest Independent School District
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read