To the Editor:
Marc Tucker has helped us better understand education systems around the world. Unfortunately, in his recent opinion blog post (“Teachers Colleges: The Weakest Link,” November 1, 2018), he demonstrates less understanding of America’s teacher-preparation programs than he has about programs abroad.
The contention that educator-preparation programs (EPPs) have no admission standards is false. Since the 1990s, virtually every state and most accrediting agencies have required admission criteria for EPPs that are greater than those for university admission. Further, there are exit standards since EPPs are accountable for producing teachers who can meet state licensure requirements.
EPPs regularly counsel students to find another major who are not on track to meet those state requirements, since it is in neither the student’s nor the program’s best interest for anyone to graduate who cannot become licensed to teach. Colleges of education are working hard to ratchet up the intensity and quality of academic and clinical preparation. However, they exist in a broader ecosystem with powerful countervailing forces.
For example, low teacher compensation is making headlines and dissuading young people from choosing teaching as a profession. Enrollment in EPPs is on the decline, reducing resources for colleges of education and prompting states to lower program approval and licensure standards to meet school personnel needs. Three states no longer require a bachelor’s degree in order to become a licensed teacher.
Lower standards reinforce the notion that teaching is a low-status job that anyone can do with little preparation. In this post and throughout his career, Tucker has made forceful arguments for elevating the pay and stature of teachers. We hope that he will abandon attacks on educator preparation and work with us to strengthen our system of education.
Lynn M. Gangone
President and CEO
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
A version of this article appeared in the November 14, 2018 edition of Education Week as Don’t Blame Admissions Standards