Teacher Preparation

Rounding Up Reactions to the NCTQ/U.S. News Ed. School Review

By Stephen Sawchuk — June 18, 2013 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Reaction is pouring in to the National Council on Teacher Quality’s project, released today, to peer underneath the hood of teacher preparation. Let’s dig in.

(You’ll first want to read my Education Week story, which details all the context behind this massive undertaking, as well as the top-line findings.)

As expected, there’s a lot of criticism of the project’s methods.

From the University of Kansas’ school of education Dean Rick Ginsberg: “NCTQ didn’t visit with students, ask employers about the quality of those they hire, or gather any sort of impact data to substantiate their claims. Instead, they created some standards and somehow decided how each institution did or did not meet their requirements. If this were a research paper produced by a student, it would get a failing grade. To use this as a means of rating institutions is ridiculous.”

From Gerardo Gonzalez, the dean of ed. school at Indiana University: “NCTQ studies have never been published in any peer-reviewed journal or by any other credible means of research dissemination. No research university or organization has ever endorsed NCTQ’s methodology, nor can their studies be replicated by independent researchers. Peer review and replication of research studies are the means by which the scientific community verifies results, draws conclusions, and advances knowledge. Studies lacking any form of peer review and validation of results through replication lack scientific credibility.”

Via the Orlando Sentinel, Florida State University Dean Marcy Driscoll: “It is not clear what information they actually used. I was hoping that these reports might provide some useful feedback for our teacher-preparation programs, but without more detailed scrutiny, my impression is that the accuracy of the reports is less than desirable.”

The indefatigable Mikhail Zinshteyn at the Education Writers Association wraps up news stories with more local reaction.

And here are a few other groups’ responses:

From the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten: “It’s disappointing that for something as important as strengthening teacher-preparation programs, NCTQ chose to use the gimmick of a four-star rating system without using professionally accepted standards, visiting any of the institutions, or talking with any of the graduates.”

From the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (the teacher-prep accrediting body): “Transparency is one of CAEP’s hallmarks. In contrast to NCTQ, CAEP sets clear expectations for the use of evidence in its decisions and gives educator preparation providers the opportunity to respond before final decisions are made.”

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education will be collecting from members reports of “inaccuracies, disputes, or questions” about their scores.

From Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an advocacy group chaired by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush: “It is time we had a frank discussion about the state of teacher-preparation programs in our nation. These programs are the cornerstone of the teaching profession. And, far too many teachers entering the field are not prepared to tackle the practical challenges ahead.”

And not to be outdone, the NCTQ, releases a set of video clips from schools that got good ratings on specific standards.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.