Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
Education Letter to the Editor

Teachers College Colleagues Air Differences With Levine

November 14, 2006 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

As teacher-educators, we read the recent report by our former president, Arthur E. Levine, with a great deal of interest (“Prominent Teacher-Educator Assails Field, Suggests New Accrediting Body in Report,” Sept. 20, 2006). Although he found it “useful to omit Teachers College” from the study “to eliminate the appearance of bias,” we want to underscore the utility of separating Teachers College from his study, its methods, and its conclusions.

We agree with much in the report. Many of his recommendations echo those of other “insiders” like the Holmes Group (1986) and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (1996). Mr. Levine’s predecessor at Teachers College, P. Michael Timpane, was one of four education school leaders who founded the Holmes Group. The NCTAF report was chaired by Linda Darling-Hammond, then at Teachers College. The program-quality criteria Mr. Levine proposes are strikingly similar to the criteria the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education used to review Teachers College in 2005, when Mr. Levine was the college’s president.

Despite our agreement that teacher education at Teachers College and elsewhere could be improved, we believe Mr. Levine’s report reads more like an op-ed piece than a research report. The sweeping generalities, the overly simplistic interpretations, and minimal consideration of the context of teaching are disturbing. The selection and depth of study at the selected institutions raise questions. Mr. Levine’s assumptions that differences in preparing teachers indicate failings and that achievement-test scores should be the primary measure judging the success of a teacher are problematic.

For us, one of the most puzzling, contradictory recommendations is “shifting a significant percentage” of teacher preparation to research universities. Quality teacher education programs can and do exist at many types of institutions. To shift teacher preparation to research universities, where it is often not valued, would not only gravely reduce the supply of teachers, but also reduce the diversity of the teaching force at a time when the diversity of the student population is increasing.

As teacher-educators at Teachers College, we are proud of the leadership this institution has provided over 119 years, and, hopefully, will continue to do so. At this point in time, however, we feel a need to publicly separate our efforts to improve teacher education from those associated with our former president in his latest report.

Faculty Members

Teachers College, Columbia University

New York, N.Y.

Harold Abeles

Howard Budin

Margaret Crocco

Renee Darvin

Ofelia Garcia

William Gaudelli

Lin A. Goodwin

Barbara Hawkins

Janet Miller

Celia Oyler

Lenore Pogonowski

James Purpura

Molly Quinn

Anne Sabatini

Frances Schoonmaker

Marjorie Siegel

Karen Zumwalt

A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2006 edition of Education Week as Teachers College Colleagues Air Differences With Levine


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week