Report: Greater Links Needed Between Louisiana Schools, Teacher Prep Programs

By Andrew Ujifusa — September 26, 2014 1 min read
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Half of Louisiana’s public school teachers with one to five years of experience say they weren’t adequately prepared for the realities of full-time teaching in their first year, according to a report published by the Louisiana Department of Education on Sept. 24.

“Partners in Preparation: A Survey of Educators and Education Programs” asked new teachers, districts, and teacher preparation programs about the extent to which school and district leaders collaborate with those programs to help prepare teachers. They survey also asked how well new teachers felt ready to teacher a diverse group of students, develop lesson plans, and other work. The department’s report included over 6,000 responses from educators.

The survey reports that while there is “widespread agreement” that those in teacher prep programs in the Pelican State should get more classroom experience before they become full-time teachers, finding that time isn’t necessarily easy: 51 percent of faculty in preparation programs say there aren’t classrooms to accomodate their student teachers. And 63 percent of district leaders, in turn, say that the partnerships they have with teacher prep programs still don’t produce enough teachers in all the required subjects and grade levels.

Among other findings in the report:

• 42 percent of graduates from prep programs disagreed or strongly disagreed with the idea that they were ready to teach a classroom with a diverse set of students, while the same percentage said they disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were adequately prepared to develop yearlong and unit lesson plans.

• 41 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the idea that they had been prepared to teach students how to read.

Those percentages are highlighted in the report, but obviously those numbers could also indicate that many, if not the majority of those surveyed agree at least to some extent that they were prepared for those tasks.

The report highlights collaborations between districts, prep programs, and others that could produce positive results on this front. Two separate collaborations between a district and a teacher prep program in Louisiana, for example, “are working to address teacher shortages in mathematics, science, and special education by collaborating on the recruitment and training of future teachers.”

Read the full report below:

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.