Opinion
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor

One Teacher-Prep Rating Suggests ‘Flawed’ Study

July 09, 2013 1 min read

To the Editor:

The online article “Disputed Review Finds Disparities in Teacher Prep” (edweek.org, June 18, 2013) provides an overview of the mixed reception of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s report on teacher-preparation programs. However, closer analysis of one program, at the University of California, Los Angeles, illuminates how flawed this report may be.

From 2006 to 2008, I attended UCLA’s social-justice-focused secondary teacher education program, TEP (to which the NCTQ gave 1½ stars). My coursework initially centered on scaffolding instruction for English-language learners and students with learning disabilities. Then, I learned how to plan engaging lessons around relevant and rigorous content from experts like Ernest Morrell.

After observing English classes across the city, I started student-teaching at a large high school in South Los Angeles. Two accomplished teachers supervised, inspired, and coached me daily. Meanwhile, my UCLA field adviser supported me through copious feedback, which continued into my first year of full-time teaching. In these ways, TEP should have excelled by NCTQ standards.

UCLA did not explicitly teach classroom management, though. Instead, the program promoted the establishment of a trusting classroom community. While this sounds idealistic, and I certainly struggled at first, students behaved as mature human beings when I treated them as such. UCLA’s philosophy actually worked.

Preparation programs should be judged by the character of their graduates, not admissions data and syllabi. My TEP colleagues and I often wrote grant proposals and created websites to provide our students with additional resources and activities. And though I only taught for four years, UCLA teachers generally stay in the classroom longer than most; several have even become teachers of the year. TEP encourages teachers to truly serve students.

Based on my research and personal experience, I can attest to the strength of UCLA’s program. It deserves four stars, which makes me question all of the NCTQ ratings.

Victoria Theisen-Homer

Doctoral Student

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Arlington, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the July 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as One Teacher-Prep Rating Suggests ‘Flawed’ Study

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.
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
The Social-Emotional Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on American Schoolchildren
Hear new findings from an analysis of our 300 million student survey responses along with district leaders on new trends in student SEL.
Content provided by Panorama

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

Teaching Profession In N.Y., Union Opposes Governor’s Call for a Vaccine Mandate for Teachers
Gov. Cuomo said Monday that school districts should have policies in which teachers should either have the vaccine or be tested.
Barbara O'Brien, The Buffalo News, N.Y.
2 min read
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses the wearing of masks as he speaks at a news conference in New York on May 27, 2021. A month before school starts, educators are still waiting for official health guidance from New York State and are pushing back on Cuomo's prediction there could be chaos if there's not a policy on staff vaccinations.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses the wearing of masks as he speaks at a news conference in New York on May 27, 2021. A month before school starts, educators are still waiting for official health guidance from New York State and are pushing back on Cuomo's prediction there could be chaos if there's not a policy on staff vaccinations.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Teaching Profession Students Are Getting Mental Health Days. So Why Don't Teachers?
As the push grows for student mental health days, a Maryland teenager advocates for giving the same to teachers.
7 min read
Hands holding a monochromatic head shaped puzzle of a classroom with three colorful pieces of green grass, sunshine, and trees floating around the puzzle . Mental health concept.
Collage by Gina Tomko/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Teaching Profession Opinion Will the Pandemic Drive Teachers Out of the Profession? What One Study Says
The way decisions were made this past year underscored teachers' lowly place in the school hierarchy, writes researcher Lora Bartlett.
Lora Bartlett
5 min read
A teacher tries to juggle remote and in-person instruction
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty images
Teaching Profession Opinion 'I Didn't Hug My Children for 3 Months'
When COVID rates rose, a teacher's sacrifices to stay in the classroom didn't seem to count, writes researcher Lora Bartlett.
Lora Bartlett
2 min read
Conceptual image of teacher voice
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images