I write in response to the recent article “Despite Monitoring, Ed. School Closures Are Rare”.
I’m the co-founder of a teacher-preparation program, and I believe in holding my program and its graduates accountable. We created the Urban Teacher Center to address the same deficiencies in teacher preparation highlighted in your article. Every such organization must take responsibility for the effectiveness of its graduates. We take this responsibility seriously.
There is a pressing national need for an effective marketplace of high-quality teachers willing to be held accountable for their students’ performance and rewarded for making a difference in their students’ achievement. We contend that states and the federal government must create meaningful accountability structures to guarantee teacher-preparation programs graduate educators with the knowledge, skills, and ability to boost student achievement.
We know it can be done, because we do it. Our program ensures effectiveness by linking teacher certification to student-achievement gains and classroom performance. Before taking charge of their own classrooms, our teachers spend nearly 1,500 clinical hours in a classroom, with support via side-by-side coaching from an experienced educator. The graduation, certification, and placement of our teachers is dependent upon candidate performance against a transparent, research-based model and measurement tool.
With the release of new teacher-preparation regulations, we have the opportunity to set more consistent expectations regarding accountability and the power to increase student learning gains. I applaud the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to move state and federal oversight from a collection of inputs to an analysis of outcomes, and I hope my fellow preparation programs will do the same.
As entities responsible for producing one of our nation’s most valuable resources—teachers—we must be held accountable for our results if we want to ensure our next generation of teachers are the best they can be.
Chief Executive Officer
Urban Teacher Center
A version of this article appeared in the January 14, 2015 edition of Education Week as Accountability a Crucial Element For Teacher-Prep Programs