Teacher Preparation

White House Jobs Panel Urges Steps on Education

By Alyson Klein — January 24, 2012 1 min read
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Policymakers should work to hold teacher colleges accountable for preparing effective educators and speed up the implementation of rigorous, uniform state standards, says a report released last week by the White House Jobs Council, a group of business and labor leaders and academics tasked with making long-term recommendations to improve the nation’s economic future.

The report’s education chapter has high praise for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, an effort by 46 states and the District of Columbia to implement shared standards in reading and math. The commission wants to see states add science—and ideally, would like to see preschool standards developed.

It also urged the Obama administration to devise standards and a process for measuring the performance of teacher-preparation programs, which a panel of negotiators is currently trying to do. And it suggested joint efforts by the National Governors’ Association and the U.S. Department of Education to find ways of improving the teaching profession, including identifying best practices, metrics, and timelines for states in recruiting, retaining, and rewarding teachers.

Other recommendations include providing clear performance data for all educational institutions and improving education in the stem subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math.

The recommendations may sound familiar, but come from a unique set of individuals asking a new set of questions, said Michael Parr, a senior manager of federal affairs for the DuPont company. Its chief executive officer, Ellen Kullman, served on the commission, as did Penny Pritzker, the chairwoman of the board of TransUnion and the chairwoman and CEO of Pritzker Realty Group.

Mr. Parr said the group examined how education fits into the nation’s long-term economic health. “It isn’t just about whether your kid beats a kid in Finland on a math score, but whether the U.S. economy will have the tools it needs to thrive” over the long haul, he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2012 edition of Education Week as White House Panel Hammering Home Jobs, Education Ties

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