Opinion
Teacher Preparation Opinion

Duncan’s Teacher Ed Proposals Miss the Mark

February 03, 2015 1 min read

A. Lin Goodwin

The rule-making for teacher preparation proposed by the federal government is a speak-softly-and-carry-a-big-stick approach to teacher education reform that seems to be increasingly characteristic of federal teacher education policy. While U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan could be applauded for his attention to teacher preparation, these proposed regulations are troubling and pointed in the wrong direction.

Yes, there are certainly some real reasons to call for change in our nation’s approach to teacher education; unfortunately, the proposed regulations for university-based teacher education programs offered by Secretary Duncan promise to make change happen (1) in the wrong way, (2) for the wrong reason, and (3) with the wrong results.


  1. Wrong way: The proposed regulations are not only punitive, but are based on a theory of action that is misguided: They exert government oversight on university-based teacher preparation--which typically falls under state jurisdiction--in ways that far exceed traditional boundaries of federal authority. This sets a dangerous precedent in a democracy.
  2. Wrong reason: This punitive approach to reform will surely result in deform instead of reform. Fear of “the big stick” typically results in compliance versus transformation. Paradoxically then, the proposed rules provide an incentive for narrowly defined, superficial change, certainly not real or meaningful change.
  3. Wrong results: The proposed rule-making will likely have unintended consequences. One obvious scenario to ensure a higher outcome will be for programs to dissuade graduates from accepting positions in high-need or challenging schools, many of which serve the most vulnerable students who often do not perform well on standardized tests.

Extensive research indicates that substantive reform requires participation across multiple constituents, collaborative problem-solving, top-down and bottom-up approaches, time, support, funding, and gradual implementation accompanied by ongoing assessment. Clearly, in this case, the proposed regulations ignore the evidence.

A. Lin Goodwin is the Evenden Foundation professor of education and vice dean at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is also a current vice president of the American Educational Research Association, or AERA.

The opinions expressed in OpEducation 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 What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
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
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education

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

Teacher Preparation Teachers Can Take on Anti-Racist Teaching. But Not Alone
Teachers want to do better by their students of color, but many don’t know how. Madeline Will examines the gap between intention and action.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law
Teacher Preparation You Have Anti-Racist Curriculum Resources. Now What Do You Do?
Teachers need spaces to explore how power dynamics have shaped the subjects they teach, explains Sarah Schwartz.
4 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law
Teacher Preparation We All Live Racialized Lives: The 'Identity Work' Teachers Need to Do
Understanding the Black experience also means seeing white privilege, writes education professor LaGarrett King.
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law
Teacher Preparation Opinion Before We Can Have Anti-Racist Classrooms, Teacher Preparation Needs an Overhaul
My knowledge of African American history did not come from school, writes Keziah Ridgeway. Why was that?
Keziah Ridgeway
3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
Illustration by Jamiel Law